Engineering student turns undergrad experiences into career in oil and gas

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — During his four and a half years at Penn State, senior Andrew Smiddy said he has seized as many opportunities to get involved in student organizations as possible to stay focused and driven academically, but also to serve his passion as an outgoing leader and mentor.

Whether he is swimming at a meet with the club swim team, mentoring students as a College of Engineering Career Envoy, or serving in the industrial engineering honor society Alpha Pi Mu, staying active and finding balance are key.

“I do get overwhelmed, but I think everyone does, regardless of what you are trying to accomplish,” said Smiddy, who is majoring in industrial engineering and economics. “I cope by tackling things one at a time and avoid stressing out too much because it’s just life.”

Smiddy, who has been swimming since he was a child, said his experience on the club swim team has been one of the greatest highlights of his college career. He has been an active member of the team since 2012, served as president for the 2014-2015 academic year, and was vice president the previous year.

Throughout his time with the team, he set many records in the men’s top 10 times, he was named Penn State Club Sports Male Athlete of the Year in 2015, and he was a nominee for the 2015 Penn State Club Sports President of the Year.

Under his guidance as president, the team took home the Penn State Club Sport Organization of the Year award and the unofficial Team Spirit award at the East Coast Collegiate Club Swim and Dive National Championships — an achievement for which Smiddy said he is extremely proud.

“I’m really proud of how spirited our team is,” Smiddy said. “That’s another great thing about Penn State students — we are just really energetic and passionate, and it shows.”

One of his favorite memories as president was when he arranged a spring training trip during spring break in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where 21 members of the team trained twice per day and enjoyed downtime on the beach, he said.

As a leader of the club, he said he was outgoing and friendly with everyone on the team of more than 200, and established trust to make strong relationships.

“I really enjoyed meeting everybody on the team, and I tried to get to know everybody,” he said. “If I saw someone that didn’t get to know many members, I would get to know them because that is how I get to know the team. I don’t feel the need to be best friends with everybody, but it is important to establish a good relationship with those I’m serving.”

In addition to the swim club, Smiddy has been involved in a variety of engineering extracurriculars where he was a mentor to many students.

Through Engineering Career Envoys, he reviews and provides feedback to fellow engineers on their resumes and offers guidance to students seeking career advice.

Smiddy said being a mentor to the younger students is one of the most rewarding experiences because he can help others, meet new faces, and have an impact on their lives.

He is also currently a mentor for the Engineering Orientation Network and served as the orientation day director in 2014. He served as a head mentor in 2013 and a mentor in 2012.

He has been a member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) and is currently the co-corporate chair of the Penn State chapter. He served as vice president and corporate chair during the 2014-2015 academic year. Prior to that, he was the group’s webmaster.

As the 2014-2015 president of Alpha Pi Mu, he was awarded the 2015 Dryden Service Scholarship. He was the recipient of the IIE Jackie Livella Leadership Award and the Meier Leadership Award, as well as various departmental scholarships throughout his college career.

His dedication to engineering led him to two prestigious internships, at Chevron in Houston as a business analyst and at GE Oil and Gas in Twinsburg, Ohio, where he was responsible for materials management and procurement.

In 2013, Smiddy completed a six-month co-op with Kimberly-Clark in Atlanta where he handled supply chain and logistics responsibilities, including demand planning, distribution and customer logistics.

After he graduates this month, Smiddy will move back to Houston to work at ExxonMobil as a technical sales analyst.

“This is a career path that I am very excited about because I love working with people and building relationships while using my technical background to serve customers,” he said.

He said he is looking forward to working in oil and gas — an area of engineering that he is really passionate about because it is so important in everyday life.

“Petroleum is used to make so many things you don’t even think about, and I think that is so cool because it is so relevant,” he said. “I think this is an industry that is really going to make a difference in the world and that’s why I want to work in it.”

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Last Updated December 03, 2015