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Corporate Recruiters Vie for UCSD Engineering Graduates

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This video of the Disciplines of Engineering Career Fair (DECaF) explains why 46 percent more recruiters attended in 2007.

February 23, 2007 -- An annual one-day, student-run recruiting fair at UC San Diego posted a 46 percent increase this year in the number of high technology companies and research institutes seeking engineering students and graduates for internships and full-time positions. The increased interest in students at the Feb. 23 Disciplines of Engineering Career Fair (DECaF) reflects both a strong economy and a continued rise of the Jacobs School in national and international rankings of academic engineering programs.

“Companies from the very large to the very small are recruiting engineering students,” said Rosanna Gan, a junior bioengineering student and co-chair of this year’s fair. “A lot of the companies have hired UCSD students before and they’re coming back for more.”

This year, 73 companies and research institutions participated in DECaF, up from 50 companies last year. The event is one of several during National Engineers Week at UCSD that showcased the achievements of undergraduate and graduate students.

The UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering has 5,300 undergraduate and graduate students, which makes it the largest engineering school in the 10-campus University of California system. More than 2,000 aspiring engineers handed their resumes to recruiters and participated in brief interviews, all in the hopes of getting a job offer or summer internship.

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Seventy-three companies and research institutions participated in the DECaF recruiting fair in 2007, up from 50 companies last year.
“The most amazing thing to me was how many of the recruiters at DECaF were our own former students,” said Frieder Seible, dean of the Jacobs School. “Even Rich Goldberg, a vice president of corporate quality at Cisco Systems, was here."

The casually dressed Goldberg accepted resumes and handed out business cards throughout the event. “This is a way for us to connect students to what Cisco is trying to accomplish and also to encourage them to take that into account during their final years of study to make themselves more valuable when they graduate,” said Goldberg.

He was particularly enthusiastic about engineering graduates who had participated in team internships. “These collaborative team environments are precisely what we create at Cisco,” said Goldberg. “Cross disciplinary teams are far more effective at servicing customers, listening to customers, and developing hardware and software.”

Established in 1998, DECaF is the only annual student-managed multidisciplinary career fair at UCSD. The event is coordinated by the Triton Engineering Student Council with 16 pre-professional engineering student organizations.

This year’s participating companies included online retailing giant Amazon.com and Boston Scientific to Walt Disney Imagineering and ViaSat. Students with electrical engineering and computer science majors were most in demand, but companies were also seeking those who majored in bioengineering and structural engineering as well mechanical and aerospace engineering.

The recruiting fair comes on the heels of a ranking published in February by Shanghai Jiao Tong University in which UCSD was ranked as the ninth best in the world for engineering, technology and computer sciences.

“Our program is finally getting the recognition it deserves,” said Seible, “and the enthusiasm of all the events here during National Engineers Week also is an outgrowth of our focus on building a student culture at the Jacobs School.”

Recruiters offered a variety of free gadgets to the prospective employees and interns. The Triton Engineering Student Council provided recruiters with CDs, each with more than 1,200 student resumes. Students had submitted them to the Jacobs School’s Corporate Affiliates Program’s resume database in cooperation with Engineering Student Services.

“Our HR department really appreciated the resume CDs,” said Franz Sanchez, a senior systems engineer with Raytheon Company. “They’ll use them to search for possible future interns or full-time employees.”

Undergraduate students highlighted their grade-point averages, previous internships, and participation in cutting-edge scientific research with faculty members. For example, Gan, a native of San Jose, works in the lab of bioengineering professor Amy Sung to build a biosensor to detect bacterial and viral pathogens.

This year’s recruiting fest was so popular that it strained the capacity of the UCSD Price Center ballroom, which was a sea of backpacks, handshakes, and students carrying plastic bags stuffed with corporate coffee cups, memory drives, pens, and brochures. “There were about as many companies as we could fit in,” said Jeff Mounzer, president of the Triton Engineering Student Council. “Most of the recruiters were so busy they didn’t’ get a chance to even sit down or have lunch.”

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