Who Are USM Engineering Students?
University of Southern Maine engineering students are a diverse lot.
- They are diverse in age and life experience. While many of them are traditional straight-out-of-high school, a number are older. Some are veterans of the armed forces, some are employed in local industries and going part-time to advance their careers and some are mature individuals making a career change. One is a Portland police sergeant who is looking for a different life challenge after retirement.
- They are diverse in national origin and culture. Like many seaports, the greater Portland area attracts people from many places in the world. This diversity is reflected in the engineering student body. They have come from Russia, Poland and other parts of Europe, from Vietnam and Taiwan, from Turkey, Palestine and Iran, from Afghanistan and Somalia and many other places.
- Finally, they are diverse in state of origin. While many of them come from Maine, a number are from other states.
What Do USM Engineering Students Do (besides study)?
Well, they do study a lot. USM's engineering programs are rigorous and demanding and require an ongoing commitment to learning. But one should always take time for relaxation and play. USM is well positioned to provide students with ample opportunities for letting off steam. First of all, there's the Gorham campus. It's in a typical New England small town setting. USM is a NCAA division III school which means that there are no athletic scholarships so normal folks can participate in intercollegiate sporting activities. For those who want to work out the campus has a gym with a weight room, a field house and an ice hockey rink. The university has built new residence halls recently; the newest, with comfortable apartment-style suites will open in fall '07. The region also has a range of off-campus housing ranging from rural to urban.
The department of Engineering sponsors some neat activities too. There is a student branch of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and a student branch of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers is planned. Our newest activity is the scientific ballooning club. This group is sponsored by the Maine Space Grant Consortium and is developing an atmospheric weather balloon with a payload to conduct high altitude experiments. The club will elevate the balloon to 100,000 feet and recover the payload after it descends to earth.
The greater Portland region provides an incredible number of opportunities for recreation. For the sports-minded, there are the Sea Dogs baseball team (a Red Sox affiliate) and the Pirates ice hockey team. There are museums and world-class restaurants featuring lobster and fresh seafood. The region offers sandy beaches, golf, hiking, skiing, sailing and fishing, all within convenient distances.
Part of learning is participating in a co-op experience. All students are encouraged to participate in at least one cooperative experience during their college career as a resume builder and also as a ladder to a career. The region has a large number of industrial firms which provide internship opportunities. Some of the more prominent of these are National Semiconductor, Fairchild Semiconductor, Idexx Laboratories. Pratt and Whitney, Sappi Fine Paper, and Lanco Inc. The school has a internship coordinator who works with industrial firms to develop cooperatives opportunities and with students to find appropriate matches which support their career goals.
What Happens to USM Engineering Graduates?
USM engineering graduates have followed career paths similar to their counterparts from other quality universities. Some go on to graduate school. Many elect to enter the workforce upon graduation and the great majority of these find employment in the greater Portland area at companies such as Fairchild Semiconductor, National Semiconductor, Bath Iron Works and others. Some are officers in the armed forces. Some become entrepreneurs and open their own businesses. These people have all found success; their USM engineering degree positioned them to succeed in the world of work.