Recipe for Success

Drive, determination, and a CSE education pay off for young alumni

Written by Kermit Pattison

Jenna Shaw didn’t suffer much senior angst.

The engineering student didn’t have to worry about what to do with her life after graduation. Four years of diligent preparation left her with a resume bristling with qualifications: a major in biomedical engineering, an array of extracurricular accomplishments, research experience, and internships at major corporations. By midway through her senior year, she had two job offers.

“I knew what I wanted to do,” said Shaw, now a senior design engineer with Medtronic. “I had everything lined up...I graduated and hopped on a plane to Hawaii. Then I came back and started work.”

Her case provides one example of a broader phenomenon: graduates of the College of Science and Engineering are quickly gaining traction in the professional world and making their degrees pay off. Students and families are painfully aware of the rising cost of higher education. Fortunately, statistics show that the investment pays off for graduates of CSE.

According to a survey of May 2015 graduates, 95 percent of 2015 graduates had a job or were enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation. They found jobs at leading local companies including Boston Scientific, 3M, Cargill, General Mills, Medtronic, St. Jude Medical, Ecolab, and many others. The average CSE student receives 1.75 job offers.

According to those surveyed, starting salaries range from the mid to high five figures. In some cases, salaries may begin in the six figures in certain high-demand fields such as computer science and computer engineering, electrical engineering, and chemical engineering.


“It’s an incredible investment, as evidenced by the companies that want to hire these students, how quickly they are getting hired, and the number of job offers they’re getting. They are going into positions directly related to their majors. It’s not always easy obviously—it’s a very, very challenging curriculum—but once they finish, they find it’s incredibly rewarding,” said Angie Froistad, assistant director of the CSE Career Center.


Career counselors provide a variety of services to help students enter the job market, which includes resume reviews, interview coaching, practice interviews, job search strategies, and networking with alumni and employers. Students are exposed to these services during freshman orientation and coaching becomes more intense as students approach their junior and senior years.

The hallmarks of these efforts are the twice-yearly career fairs, held in the fall and spring of each year. The Fall 2015 career fair attracted more than 3,140 students and alumni over two days. About 260 companies participated, an increase of about 40 percent over the previous year. These companies include giants such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, ExxonMobil, Fortune 500 companies, and many large and small companies from the Twin Cities area.

“Employers want to hire students earlier and earlier,” Froistad said. “Some even want to hire students as freshmen so they can build their pipeline and hope they stay on and work for the company full time. It’s a good time to be a CSE student.”

Read about four CSE young alumni.

Jenna Shaw: Devices with a Mission

Taylor Trimble: Feathering the Nest

David Holt: Engineering a New Customer Experience

Leon Binitie-Cassidy: Good Chemistry