ME Alumni Shares His Experience as R&D Test Engineer at Northrop Grumman

Mechanical engineering alumni Bryan Calungcagin, now a research and development test engineer with Northrop Grumman, returned to campus Wednesday with some advice. All that theory in courses like power plant design, control systems, and finite element analysis? Students are actually going to need it once they start working in the engineering field.

“Everything you learn in school, you’ll use,” said Calungcagin, who graduated from CSULB in 2012 and is now working on his master’s degree in systems engineering at Loyola Marymount University.

Some other things also won’t change. Calungcagin said he’s transitioned from studying until “three or four in the morning” to troubleshooting projects late at night.

Calungcagin works in Northrop Grumman’s Area 67, and describes himself as a MacGyver. “We take a bunch of stuff, we whip it around, and we test it,” he said. “The freedom I have to engineer is incredible.”

His trajectory isn’t typical. Calungcagin said he spent several years working as an auto mechanic on race cars—satisfying his innate urge to take things apart—before he realized he wanted to be designing not swapping out broken parts.

He came to CSULB as a transfer student from Fullerton College. Unfortunately, he and other members of his graduating class faced dismal job prospects in engineering due to the recession. Calungcagin said he sent out about 1,000 resumes, then began attending job fairs asking employers what qualities they were seeking.

Today’s graduating students have many opportunities. “It’s a great time to be an engineer,” Calungcagin said. “Right now, the industry is exploding.”

In his sector alone, Calungcagin said Northrop Grumman is hiring 700 interns, who will have a chance at being hired for an entry-level job. The company looks for a GPA of at least 3.25 and experience with projects.

He encouraged students to think big. For example, a 3D printer with a robotic arm that can work in a vacuum could be used for manufacturing in clean rooms, printing parts to help astronauts with repairs, or colonizing Mars.

Engineering also requires some quick thinking. When he was presenting his senior design project, which involved building a fire protection system, they burned out the motor during the demonstration for the Fire Department. To get the demo back on track, a team member had to run to Home Depot and buy a new motor.

Calungcagin’s presentation was part of the COE Office of Professional Development & Internships’ Speaker Series, which provides students with advice on resume and networking, as well as perspectives of engineers working for various companies.

 

ExploreCSR Introduces Female Students to the World of Computer Science Research

In most university computer science classes, women are a minority. But at last weekend’s exploreCSR workshop at California State University Long Beach, the opposite was true.

The three-day workshop, supported by a $35,000 grant from Google, drew about 50 students from universities throughout Southern California, including Fullerton, Long Beach, Pomona, and San Diego in the California State University system, and Irvine and San Diego in the University of California system. All but three were women. Continue reading “ExploreCSR Introduces Female Students to the World of Computer Science Research”

Engineering Distinguished Lecture Panel on the New Face of Engineering in 2030

Will artificial intelligence put people out of jobs? Is the idea of working for one company your entire career obsolete? Will the engineering field include previously underrepresented groups? And how important are so-called soft skills?

These are some of the questions tackled by the industry panel at Thursday’s Engineering Distinguished Lecture, which was timed to coincide with CSULB’s Imagine BEACH 2030 crowdsourcing campaign to examine the future. Continue reading “Engineering Distinguished Lecture Panel on the New Face of Engineering in 2030”

SCE VP Jill Anderson Urges Girls to Study Engineering, Help Solve World Problems

Jill Anderson, vice president of Customer Programs and Services at Southern California Edison (SCE), remembers the moment she decided to pursue engineering. She’d enrolled in a summer math and science camp in high school with the thought of raising her SAT scores. “At 16 years old, I didn’t have any idea what I wanted to do,” she recalled.

They were given a box of rubber bands, some pencils, wheels, and a mousetrap, and asked to build a racecar. After understanding that the spring in the mousetrap could be used to power the car, it was all over for Anderson.  “I was hooked,” she told the 170 high school girls at Friday’s Women Engineers at the Beach event. “I decided I’m going to be an engineer.” Continue reading “SCE VP Jill Anderson Urges Girls to Study Engineering, Help Solve World Problems”

Griffith Co. Offers Opportunities for Civil Engineering and Construction Grads

griffith employeesBuilding a good reputation is important, says Griffith Co. Chairman and CEO Tom Foss. And Foss should know. He started at Griffith as a laborer four decades ago, and rose through the ranks, transitioning to foreman, estimator, chief coordinator, then Orange County vice president and district manager.

Established in 1902, Griffith is a midsized heavy civil construction company that employs about 1,000. “We try to do things that give us a family feel,” said Foss, a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council and a fundraiser for the Beaver’s Endowed Chair in Heavy Civil Engineering. “We want to make employees feel like part of the team.” Continue reading “Griffith Co. Offers Opportunities for Civil Engineering and Construction Grads”

Northrop Grumman Holds Resume Workshop for Post-Military Students

Five veterans attend a resume workshopIf you’ve served in the military, you probably have a long list of accomplishments to include on your resume. But those acronym-rich descriptions can require some translating to make sense to civilian hiring managers.

On Monday, recruiters from Northrop-Grumman were at the CSULB College of Engineering to help veterans present their military experience in a way that  stands out for hiring managers going through stacks of resumes.

“The resume workshop for veterans offered tips on how to translate a military background to a civilian-friendly resume,” said Eddie Jimenez, a Northrop Grumman university relations specialist. “The idea is to help them create better resumes.” Continue reading “Northrop Grumman Holds Resume Workshop for Post-Military Students”

Hundreds of Engineering Students Practice their Interview Skills

Countless online articles can tell you how to create the best impression during a job interview. But as with engineering itself, there’s no substitute for trying out those theories in the real world.

On Friday, the CSULB College of Engineering Office of Professional Development & Internships hosted its annual mock interviews, giving 530 students the opportunity to practice their interview skills with representatives from 48 employers.

Sponsored by Southern California Edison, the event drew many of the region’s top employers, including the Aerospace Corp., Boeing, Disney, Griffith Construction, NAVAIR, Northrop Grumman, and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Ron Roberts, a recruiter with Griffith, said he was impressed with the CSULB engineering students’ enthusiasm. “I love the idea that the college is doing this,” said Roberts, a Cal State Los Angeles graduate. “These students have a hunger to learn.”

For students, the interviews also presented an opportunity to learn more about potential employers. Chemical engineering major Jasper Kelly said he hadn’t realized the diverse opportunities offered by the U.S. Coast Guard. When asked whether he wanted to work for the agency, Kelly said, “Maybe now I will.”

Some students who participated are graduating this semester and ready to hit the job market.

Others have a little time to prepare. Julie Liner prepared for her practice interview with Southern California Edison, where she’d like to work. “Most of the questions were expected. They were behavioral questions,” she said.

Honors student Daniel Lee said he doesn’t worry about the behavioral questions, which attempt to gauge soft skills. As a computer science major, however, he must master the technical interview, which includes algorithms.

 

G2 Software Systems Interviews for Open Computer Science Positions

San Diego-based G2 Software Systems is often enlisted to fix broken systems or refresh ones that are out of date. The company’s sweet spot is with the defense industry’s large, complex, and sometimes antiquated, systems. G2 was hired to create software that sends alerts throughout all branches of the military, notifies the continent’s defense and aviation organizations to suspicious aircraft, and lets military personnel be trained simultaneously around the globe.

On Wednesday, a group from G2 visited the CSULB College of Engineering to interview graduating computer science seniors for possible jobs or internships. G2’s founder, Georgia Griffiths, is a CSULB alumni and member of the Dean’s Advisory Council.

G2 General Manager Pete Keyes. COE Development Director Nicole Forrest-Boggs, and mathematician Christopher Priebe.
G2 General Manager Pete Keyes. COE Development Director Nicole Forrest-Boggs, and mathematician Christopher Priebe.

“She’s a great supporter of scholarships for the College of Engineering,” said COE Development Director Nicole Forrest-Boggs, whose office organized the event. “We’re very happy to have them here.”

The G2 contingent included general manager Pete Keyes, mathematician Christopher Priebe, and office manager Jessica Rose, a CUSLB alumni.

Priebe, who manages a technology team at G2, said job prospects are bright for computer science majors. “This is a booming industry. It’s a seller’s market. There’s a lot of competition for engineers,” he said. Continue reading “G2 Software Systems Interviews for Open Computer Science Positions”

Professional Development Speaker Series: Working as a Google Engineer

If you want to know the questions that Google interviewers ask, don’t believe the dozens of books and blog posts written on the subject. Because the minute an interview question is found to be published, it’s added to the list of banned questions, says Google software engineer Chris Clark, who was at CSULB Tuesday to talk about what it’s like to be an engineer at Google.

Clark was the top computer science student in his class at UCLA, where he double majored in applied mathematics. He won a Hewlett-Packard scholarship that guaranteed him three internships at the company.

But after completing his first summer internship there, he declined a second one in favor of internships at Xerox and then Microsoft. After his 2008 graduation, Microsoft hired him full-time. Seven years ago, he was recruited by Google.

The search engine giant, said Clark, “is very good at empowering every engineer.” The company’s open environment and support of its employees is legendary, as are its kitchens.

Clark said the micro-kitchens serve a purpose in addition to keeping employees in snacks, refreshments, and meals. “They foster communication with other people. You might go to pick up a water and overhear someone trying to solve a technical problem and end up in a conversation,” he said. Continue reading “Professional Development Speaker Series: Working as a Google Engineer”