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Early Career Outcomes of Engineering Alumni: Understanding Their Connection to the Undergraduate Experience by Ms. Samantha Brunhaver

~~ The Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Presents

Ms. Samantha Brunhaver

Ph.D. Candidate in Mechanical Engineering Stanford Center for Design Research


Topic: Early Career Outcomes of Engineering Alumni: Understanding Their Connection to the Undergraduate Experience

Date: Thursday, March 20, 2014

Time: 11:00am to 12:00pm (Refreshments from 10:30am to 11:00am)

Location: 406 Egan Center


Abstract: In order to improve engineering education, we must look at the work experiences and career decision-making of engineering graduates. For example, by examining the career paths that recent engineering graduates choose, we can provide them with better support mechanisms during their first steps after college. In this talk, I focus specifically on two key points in recent engineering graduates’ pathway: their first position out of school and their position four years after graduation. Using path analysis and data from the NSF-funded Pathways of Engineering Alumni Research Survey (PEARS), I demonstrate how certain factors from alumni’s undergraduate engineering education influence their choice of working in an engineering occupation or a non-engineering occupation at each of these time points. Drawing on career development theory, I highlight the implications of my findings for engineering recruitment and retention as well as my short and long-term plans for further research. Lastly, I show how the motivation driving my research agenda – to provide better support mechanisms for engineering undergraduate students –permeates my teaching and service philosophies.


Short Bio: Samantha (Bozek) Brunhaver is a Ph.D. Candidate in Mechanical Engineering at the Stanford Center for Design Research. She is also a fellow in the Stanford DARE (Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence) program. For her dissertation, she is investigating recent engineering graduates’ early career choices. Her broader research interests include using longitudinal and mixed method data to understand the career decision-making and competency development of engineering students and alumni. Samantha received her M.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a focus in Design for Manufacturing from Stanford University and her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University which included co-op experiences in medical devices, consumer products, and industrial sealing. While at Stanford, she has been a founding member of the Stanford ASEE student chapter, an officer of the ME Women’s Group, an invited member of the ME department’s ABET accreditation committee, and a TA for undergraduate and graduate courses in design, manufacturing, and solid mechanics.

Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 11:00am to 12:00pm

Egan Research Center, 406

Event Type



COE, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

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