During the job hunt, new grads look for ways to stand out. One way that Mason Engineering alumnus Devin Rolon and fellow engineers do this is by taking and passing the fundamentals of engineering (FE) exam offered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying.
Since graduating in May with his bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering, Rolon has been preparing for the exam and searching for jobs at home in New Jersey. “I took the exam to make it clear to employers that I absorbed all of the knowledge from my college education,” he says.
After three months of studying, Rolon was excited to earn the accreditation. “I started studying before the spring semester ended. It was a lot of practice questions and formula sheets, but it was also like a walk down memory lane. I had seen everything in my classes,” says Rolon.
Rolon originally came to Mason for wrestling with a broad interest in engineering. But eventually, he found his passion for mechanical engineering. “When I got here, I didn’t know all of the possibilities of mechanical engineering, but then I discovered that there are so many possibilities,” says Rolon. “Anything that moves or uses energy is mechanical engineering. [Assistant Professor] Jeff Moran told me that,” says Rolon.
Rolon says he believes that engaging professors can make all the difference for an engineer’s success, no matter how difficult or opaque the course material is. “A good teacher could inspire students to change the world.” Rolon credits his mechanical engineering professors for inciting that inspiration in him.
“Mechanical engineering professors are really easy to talk to. It’s like a family-type community throughout the department. They are a little hard on you, but that actually helped me. They were not only teaching me how to be an engineer but how to be professional in the workforce.”
Support for passing the fundamentals of engineering exam is just one example of how the Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME) aids students’ entry into the workforce. “The Mechanical Engineering Department regularly encourages students to take the FE examination. To motivate the students to do so, the department reimburses the examination fee to those who pass the exam. I encourage the students to take the exam in every class I teach,” says Nathan Kathir, an associate professor for ME.
The FE exam is the first step to becoming a licensed Professional Engineer (PE), which further signifies that an individual has the qualifications to practice the engineering profession, says Kathir.
Rolon aspires to gain his PE credential after he gains the necessary experience he needs to complete in the workforce.
But for now, with the FE certification under his belt, Rolon will continue his job search. “There are so many opportunities. I know I will find something, these are just hard times, but I’m ready to take on my career,” says Rolon.