College Students Draw First-Hand Career Insight

By Kenya King

Three Chevron Corp. engineers met with 15 Perimeter College engineering students recently to give first-hand advice and encouragement about advancing their education and careers. The engineers—all women—spent more than two hours reviewing the students’ resumes and answering student questions about coursework—as well as giving background about their own jobs at the company.

Dr. Sahithya Reddivari, Perimeter’s assistant chair of computer science and engineering, welcomed the gathering to the Clarkston Campus with a reminder that Perimeter is a “gateway to higher education, and the largest producer of transfer engineering students in the state.”

The knowledge that Perimeter is a leader in developing engineering students drew the Chevron engineers—who are also recruiters—to the college.

“You are our first stop—before Georgia Tech,” said Claire Powell, a mechanical engineer and facilities engineer for Chevron based in Covington, La.

Powell, along with her Chevron engineering colleagues Brooke Smith and Rachel Puechner, met with all the students in round-robin sessions, reviewing resumes and answering questions about classes, careers, and work-life balance.

The visit was an extension of Chevron’s support of Perimeter students: In 2018, the company established a scholarship for Perimeter engineering students and has also helped fund student trips to the National Society of Black Engineers conferences.

For engineering students Paula Gil and Valeria Guarema Acurero, both Regents Engineering Pathway students, the meeting with the Chevron engineers was both a personal and professional one. Both women are Chevron Scholars, receiving a $1,000 annual scholarship from the company.

“The Chevron scholarship has helped me in so many ways. I have to work almost a full-time job during the weekends so I can afford my tuition,” said Gil, who aspires to be a biochemical engineer. “The scholarship releases that pressure of work even in very hectic moments when I really need to study for my exams. Moreover, it helps me with acquiring the resources I need to perform very well in each of my engineering classes.”

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Gil also gleaned valuable information from the Chevron engineers, she said. “I learned that it is very important to check the companies that you want to work for because there are certain values that might not feed what you are seeking. Also, I learned that having a different pathway is okay and [it doesn’t] matter what comes in the way as long as you stay on track to achieve your dreams.”

That sentiment was echoed by Guarema Acurero, who would like to become a civil engineer. “The first time I saw that I got this scholarship was the happiest moment of my life because it made me feel linked to my college for the first time,” she said. “I am an international student who loves to study. This opportunity was a blessing, and it means a lot that people are willing to help me or other students to do what they love. I am planning to transfer to Georgia Tech soon, seeking more opportunities to grow in my career and preparing myself for my future as a civil engineer,” she said.

Reddivari noted the scholarship eligibility criteria for engineering students who are in lower-level classes has opened up this fall. Prior to this year, the scholarship had been only available to students who had already completed Calculus 1. “We wanted to be able to reach students at the lower-level classes, and increase the pool of students,” she said. Thanks to Chevron’s generosity we will have more opportunities for our students to receive this scholarship.”

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