ECU alumni return to discuss engineering careers
As students at East Carolina University begin their quests to become engineers, they have a difficult task beyond the classes they must take. They must decide among six concentrations, all of which offer pathways toward successful careers.
As such, students are introduced to the concentrations as part of their freshmen engineering classes, and on Monday, that introduction included a presentation by two ECU alumni who now work at Fleet Readiness Center East (FRC East) at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.
Matthew Bogard ’16 and Jamie LoScalzo ’19 discussed their specific jobs at the aircraft repair and maintenance facility and the paths they took from student to successful career.
“It’s been seven years since I’ve been in that seat,” Bogard told the class, made up of mostly freshmen. “That’s crazy to me. It does not seem like it’s been that long.”
Bogard said he got what he called a late start toward securing a career after graduation. He said his resume lacked research and work experience until he began work with Dr. Teresa Ryan. He said that though the research he did had nothing to do with the job he now has, it got his feet in the door at FRC East.
He works as a components engineer and was part of a four-month work rotation in Japan.
“For someone who had hardly been out of North Carolina before, it was a really great experience,” he said.
Bogard grew up in Havelock, the city that includes the Marine Corps base, and said he never imagined working at FRC East but is glad he is.
“It’s a very broad spectrum of what we do, but I enjoy what I’m doing,” he said. “It’s something different every day.”
LoScalzo said that at one point during her time at ECU she nearly gave up on engineering. She snared an internship at BSH Home Appliances in her hometown of New Bern and later ran into representatives from FRC East at a career fair.
“They gave me a job interview and a job offer a month after that,” LoScalzo said. “It’s a government job, and the benefits are really great.”
LoScalzo said her starting pay was based upon her grade point average while at ECU.
“Go to class and get good grades and you’ll get paid more,” she told the students.
LoScalzo said FRC East employs about 1,000 engineers and hires around 75 each year in various roles. In her case, she said she does not enjoy design, but the defense depot had a position for her anyway. As LoScalzo continues her training rotation around various sections of the facility as part of her onboarding process, she currently works as a metrology engineer.
“There are so many opportunities,” she said. “If you come to Cherry Point, and you want to be more hands on, they have a place for you.”
Monday’s presentation focused on the mechanical engineering concentration as part of the Bachelor of Science in Engineering.
“When I think about mechanical engineering, it’s really broad,” Ryan said. “It’s energy and motion and understanding that, and you can apply it to so many things. Mechanical engineering can serve you no matter what your interests are.”
Other concentrations include biomedical, bioprocessing, electrical, environmental, and industrial and systems engineering.
For more information on engineering degrees from ECU, visit https://cet.ecu.edu/engineering/.
– by Ken Buday, University Communications