Vaughn Graduate, Kirei Watson ’18, Lands Dream Job as Mechanical Design EngineerBy Vaughn College
With 2019 in full swing, Kirei Watson ’18, a recent Vaughn College graduate, is excited to begin her new career as a mechanical design engineer at Collins Aerospace, and says her experience at Vaughn gave her the confidence and knowledge to approach her future head on. Read more to learn how Watson landed her dream job, as well as her advice and tips on how you can, too.
Learning what it takes
Last December, Watson graduated from Vaughn with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering technology: aeronautical. She explains that although it’s important to keep your focus on your classes, it’s equally important to branch off and go beyond the classroom by joining clubs to enhance your passion and help further your career after graduation. Watson was involved with the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), and said she even found time to participate in some outside events sponsored by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).
“Joining the right engineering clubs at Vaughn played an instrumental role in landing my current job,” Watson said. “It was at the SHPE annual conference, sponsored by Vaughn, that I received my big break.” Watson, who was featured in Vaughn’s 2017 Gala video, shares further insight on how students can set themselves on the right path to success.
Importance of internships
During the summer of 2018, Watson held an internship position where she worked as a manufacturing engineer at Harris Corporation, a defense contractor and information technology services provider. “I can’t stress enough how the internship at Harris Corporation helped me determine the type of company I wanted to work for in the future,” Watson stated. “I learned the importance of networking and the contrast between the academic aspect of engineering and the practical or professional approach.” Watson said she can’t emphasize enough how this internship opened her eyes to her future path, as it taught her the importance of being on a team focused on contributing something new and innovative to society.
Ask any college graduate and they’ll tell you: A job isn’t handed to you along with your diploma. The reality is it takes a lot of homework (sorry, but it’s true), extensive job searches, perseverance and guts to go out and secure a job in one’s chosen field. Take advantage of the career services department’s offerings including interview preparation, résumé writing and job search skills. Watson’s advice is to start planning now for your future. “It’s never too early to learn how to professionally prepare yourself for a corporate setting,” said Watson. “Not only are internships a great way to get experience in your field, but don’t underestimate the wisdom of the Vaughn faculty. My mentors were instrumental in helping me transition from an academic environment to a professional one. I will be forever grateful to them.”
Kicking off her new career
Watson will begin her new position as mechanical design engineer with heat exchangers this month. She explains how this new position is different than her internship position as a design engineer because it incorporates additive manufacturing (3D printing). Additionally, she said this new department within the company opens doors for growth and innovation. “I’m excited about this position since it will enable me to contribute to and discover the many possibilities with additive manufacturing in regard to aerospace,” Watson said. “I’m thrilled to begin this next journey in my life, and it’s a good feeling to know Vaughn was the cornerstone to getting me here.”
Are you looking for a new career path? Schedule a visit and find out how a futureproof Vaughn education can get you on the path toward success.