Courses in science and engineering offer opportunities to strengthen skill sets that help professionals build résumés with earning power.

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Education and real-world experience work hand-in-hand to build your résumé, whether the goal is to advance your career in your current field or switch your job focus. Courses in science and engineering programs offer opportunities to strengthen skill sets that help professionals build résumés with earning power.

Put classroom lessons to work

Team building and project management are crucial skills to possess as you work your way up the ladder. The Seattle University Project Center partners with businesses, government agencies and nonprofit organizations that provide real-world assignments for student design teams. Students from Civil and Environmental Engineering, Environmental Science, Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering spend their senior year working on team-based projects where they apply theoretical knowledge and problem-solving skills to deliver solutions to various industry challenges.

“These year-long projects are about much more than the deliverable,” says Michael Quinn, dean of the College of Science and Engineering. “As students work together to solve the challenges put before them, they learn about project management, team leadership, budgeting, technical writing and oral communication. These skills . . . put our students ahead of the curve when they’re interviewing for jobs and begin new employment.”

Project-based learning not only allows teamwork to flourish — it can open doors to competitions and expos where students’ new skills can be recognized. Seattle University senior year projects are winning students jobs and awards. For example, the “Enactus” team of 13 mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and business students recently took fifth place in the Collegiate Wind Competition in Chicago. The team worked all year developing and building a model wind turbine capable of withstanding a variety of tests to meet criteria established by industry leaders.

Each team was tasked with developing a technical design and business model for an off-grid wind turbine, fabricating a scaled prototype for testing at the competition and planning a full-size wind farm within a 100-mile radius of Seattle.

This type of project often leads to viable solutions that benefit corporate sponsors and the community, as well as students. Such is the case with one of the Project Center’s longstanding corporate partners, Kenworth Truck Company/PACCAR.

“The relationship that PACCAR has with Seattle University is not just a sponsorship of senior projects, it is a true partnership that allows for collaboration between students and industry professionals,” says Patrick Dean, chief engineer at Kenworth Truck Company. “Students gain real-world experience and PACCAR gains competitive product offerings and, in many cases, extremely competent longtime employees.”

Seattle University project teams recently won two of eight National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying 2016-2017 Engineering Education Awards, chosen from 100 blind entries nationwide. In one of the winning projects, a team of students partnered with the Snohomish County Public Utility District to design a replacement for a failed culvert in Stanwood, restoring a passage for migrating juvenile fish while meeting the concerns of the county, the Stillaguamish Tribe and local property owners.

In the second project, students worked with Seattle City Light to design a solution to cracked girders on the Ross Dam Intake Access Bridge at the Skagit River Hydroelectric Facility, which generates 10 percent of the electricity used by the City of Seattle. The bridge is the only access point for personnel to conduct dam maintenance, making it a critical solution for Seattle City Light and the community, says Josh Pugh, the faculty advisor on the project.

The College of Science and Engineering is the STEM college at Seattle University, with more than a dozen majors spanning science, mathematics, engineering, and computer science. Learn more at www.seattleu.edu/scieng.