Showcasing Greater Omaha as a career destination for tomorrow’s engineers – that’s a key goal of E-Day, a daylong engagement for aspiring students sponsored by the Greater Omaha Chamber and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Engineering.
More than 400 incoming freshmen, enrolled in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Engineering, and about 30 high school students kicked off the August 18 event with a tour of TD Ameritrade Park. Small groups were then diverted to a number of other unique projects and companies around the downtown area, including Omaha World-Herald Freedom Center, The Capitol District and Union Pacific’s Harriman Dispatch Center.
“E-Day highlights for our students how many incredible engineering and construction opportunities there are in Omaha. Some of our students may not know, before E-Day, that there are opportunities for almost any engineering discipline in the area,” said Jen Skidmore, Director of Student Development, University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Engineering.
The afternoon agenda included a company expo; talks on teamwork in engineering, leadership and corporate responsibility; and a choice of afternoon tours stops, including Aksarben Village, Buildertrend, Claas, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium and the University of Nebraska Medical Center Biomedical Informatics Facility.
Patricia Mayorga, the Chamber’s Manager of Talent, said the day is designed to help students visualize their lives as engineers – and collaboratively support the case why Greater Omaha is the place to live out that vision.
“Twenty-eight different companies came together to put this event on for the students. Some of these companies are ‘competitors’ in their industries. They made time and provided resources for the students,” Mayorga said.
More than 30 engineering professionals volunteered throughout the day.
“They loved the opportunity to contribute to the planning and to spend time with future engineers. Some the volunteers shared they learned a few new things,” Mayorga added.
Skidmore said E-Day nicely complements the work they’re doing at the College of Engineering to cultivate the next generation of engineers: “We help our incoming freshmen see the many possibilities of what they can do with their majors to help reinforce their decision to become engineers and what skills they’ll need to build to achieve their career goals: communication, teamwork, leadership, and so much more beyond the technical skills. E-Day really is the kick-off that prepares them for the next four years and beyond.”
Student feedback was positive and for at least one participant, the day was especially productive.
“E-Day helped the participants see how engineers work together across disciplines and with people in other fields to solve real-life problems. A lot of students were just really impressed by the kinds of cool projects and cutting-edge companies they saw on their tours,” Skidmore said. “One student already told us he has a job interview lined up as a result of networking with one of the companies at E-Day.”