Certified for success

Erin Cassidy Hendrick
September 27, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The mechanical engineering program at Penn State is offering a new way for students to broaden their skillset and stand out to employers through micro-credentialing.

Micro-credentialing — through targeted, intensive seminars designed to educate students on a specific topic — provides an additional avenue for mechanical engineering students to distinguish themselves.

“We will bring in experts to deal with topics that students wouldn’t normally be exposed to during their time here,” Eric Marsh, Glenn Professor of Engineering Education, said. “Everything we’re exploring will be considered very valuable skills to their future employers.”

“Through initiatives like this, we’re determined to prepare [our students] not just for an entry-level job, but to give them the tools they need to excel throughout their entire career.”

— Eric Marsh, Glenn Professor of Engineering Education

The free workshops will be held regularly throughout the semester and oriented toward both technical disciplines and professional development.

“Our students are already in high demand,” Karen Thole, distinguished professor and department head, said. “But this is going to be another impactful way for our graduates to stand out from the crowd and be ready to contribute to innovative solutions.”

After completing a rigorous workshop designed to give students a breadth of knowledge on the given topic, they will be tested for their proficiency. When successful, they will be awarded a certification badge that can be used on their resumes and other materials to tangibly demonstrate their skill.

The program was recommended by the Mechanical Engineering Education Innovation Committee, whose sole purpose is to find new ways to enhance the curriculum. 

“There are so many exciting things happening in higher education right now and we want to continue to be on the leading edge of it,” Marsh said. “This is one of our first initiatives and one that I think will be hugely beneficial for our students.”

The first workshop, held on Sept. 20, focused on geometric dimensioning and tolerancing, a highly technical knowledge base to define and communicate engineering tolerances, and was taught by Greg Hetland.

Giuliano Damiano, an undergraduate senior studying mechanical engineering, said, “What drew me to the workshop was the subject matter was being taught by an internationally recognized and experienced professional. I felt that it would not only benefit me in my work with the Machine Dynamics Research Lab (MDRL), but also in my coursework and career.”

Damiano is looking forward to future sessions, where he can continue to earn badges for other professional skills.

“I feel great having received such a valuable certification from this experienced industry expert,” he added.

Future workshops will cover topics like business principles at large companies, project management, and how to successfully launch a startup.

“We are grateful to our alumni who supported this workshop so we could enhance our students’ abilities. With these workshops, we also hope to spark an interest in life-long learning within our students,” Thole said. “To be truly successful, engineers should always be seeking new opportunities to add to their knowledge.”

Marsh added, “Through initiatives like this, we’re determined to prepare them not just for an entry-level job, but to give them the tools they need to excel throughout their entire career.”

Last Updated October 04, 2018