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EDI Students Learn to Stand Out Thanks to Recent Alumni

Alumni from Northwestern's Engineering Design Innovation (EDI) program hosted an informal reunion to share their own experiences with current EDI students.

Chris Spaulding (EDI '19)Students in Northwestern's Engineering Design Innovation (EDI) program spend much of their 18 months in the program together inside the learning studios of the Ford Engineering Design Center. The studios become a second home where bonds are formed that last well beyond graduation. 

For the 2019 EDI cohort, a desire to reunite and revisit the students after two years apart turned into an informal reunion this fall highlighted by a question-and-answer panel discussion and one-on-one meetings with current EDI students, followed by a get-together at a local restaurant where both cohorts could mingle with one another.  

For the students, it was a chance to hear from people who understand human-centered design and were in their position not long ago.

"Design in the context of what we do at EDI is still a bit of an emerging field," said Liam Rolle (EDI '22). "There isn’t really a set career path as you’d find with other majors. Communicating with those who graduated from the program is a great way to help guide my own career path."

Megan Bruneau (EDI '22) agreed. 

"Talking with alumni helped me better understand what I am looking for in my career," she said. "This will help me craft my EDI electives to better suit my goals. I can also use the tips that were shared about applying for internships now and full-time positions in the future."

Bruneau was able to connect with Christy Zhang (EDI '19), who also has an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering. Today, Zhang is a products researcher at Procter & Gamble, and she talked with Bruneau about ways to pair her engineering background with the new skills she's developing in EDI.  

"I explained that I want to move into design roles, rather than mechanical engineering positions and that I was unsure how to make this switch," Bruneau said. "Christy said it was all in how I framed what I wanted to do. She explained what words or phrases I could use in my resume or elevator pitch to better express what types of positions I want." 

Joaquin Moeller-Luzio (EDI ‘22) also entered EDI with a mechanical engineering degree and also found the experience of hearing from alumni with similar backgrounds to be helpful. 

"I learned that the options for what I can do job-wise after EDI are much greater than I thought," he said. "The alumni had a very diverse lineup of job roles with what they currently are doing. Knowing that they've done so much with what they gained from EDI was really nice."  

Chris Spaulding (EDI '19), a concept engineer at Milwaukee Tool, said it is that diversity of opportunities that he and his fellow alumni wanted to drive home.

"There are so many different paths an EDI student can take when they graduate, and the number of paths continues to grow as different industries take notice of human-centered design and how they can incorporate it into the world they specialize in," he said. "Being able to showcase not only the different roles that we have, but the different fields that someone can go into with an EDI degree can bring confidence to the students that there is a job for them, whatever their passion or area of focus is."

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