Engineering students spend summer in Detroit
For more than 50 students in MSU's College of Engineering, a summer in Detroit was met with opportunity and excitement.
Detroit Semester, a one credit co-op course offered to engineering students of all disciplines, has grown throughout the past few years.
Students who enroll in the course participate in networking and various discovery events with executives across the Detroit area.
“There are a lot of news articles and specials about developments going on across the Metro Detroit area," Kyle Liechty, a co-op and internship coordinator in the MSU Center of Spartan Engineering, said. "So, what we wanted to do was show them some of the stuff they may have seen online, but also focus on areas and opportunities that might not get the media attention.”
Liechty said the program set up the students in roles that varied from working at the Detroit City FC to engagement at unique restaurants. The idea was to put the students at less mainstream and well-known places in order for them to have a different experience, Liechty said.
"The students were able to get connected with different neighborhoods, different parts of the town, different cultures and were able to really diversify their experience,” Liechty said.
Students — the main focus of the program — praised the process and location of the program.
“I did this one (Detroit showcase) because it was cool, it was interesting because Kyle and Garth (Motschenbacher) took time to help showcase Detroit and personally, I am from the Metro Detroit area," civil engineering junior and a participant in the course Vincenzo Vultaggio said.
With Detroit on a path of revitalization, Vultaggio said he could tell the city is down, but the experience showed its best attributes.
“They did a great job showcasing all the things that the city has to offer,” Vultaggio said.
The program, like other internships, tries to put students in a good spot in the job field.
"So after the internships are complete, going into the student's senior year many of them are looking and applying for full-time (jobs)," Liechty said. "Last year in the program a few students did accept and determine their full-time employment based on what they were showcased and experienced throughout the Detroit Semester.”
Liechty said he is seeing results from his program and two-time participant, electrical engineering senior Valbona Vulaj, is proof of that.
“I have made great connections with different companies and people within the company for future jobs that I would like to pursue and so on," Vulaj said. "I would say that has helped me be able to network more, so it has helped me learn how to network and build my network."
Going into her senior year, Vulaj said she hasn't quite landed the postgraduate job, but she feels prepared for start of applying.
"I would not say it has happened just yet, but with the career fair coming up I think that it will be a big step when I go there and I’ll know quite a few people,” Vulaj said.