Three Stevens minority student groups – the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) – recently held a joint professional development event with Stevens alumni from Johnson & Johnson (J&J).
The first event in which all three diversity-focused professional organizations were in attendance, the recruiting-focused program – which started with presentations and Q&A sessions with successful Stevens alumni now working at J&J, and then moved into a group business planning competition – had a dual purpose: to educate students about the job opportunities at J&J and to challenge students to work in diverse groups as required by global companies.
"We received an enormously high volume of RSVP responses – more than what we were expecting – and we were extremely pleased with the level of interest," said Stevens alumnus Richard Sanchez '12, a member of J&J's Server Provisioning Team.
“Our goal was to run an event that was of interest to students and to achieve a high representation from the minority groups at Stevens,” said Stevens alumnus Juan Carlos Coronel '11, an analyst for the Market Innovation Team at J&J. “I think the event surpassed our expectations and according to the student feedback, everyone was able to take something from it.”
Sanchez told the undergraduates in attendance that skills he learned at Stevens helped him to succeed at J&J. He has already made significant contributions to the Command Center in Raritan, N.J., including deployment of dashboards on the Command Center walls as well as the creation of a video which is still used for training purposes.
"I can say that it was the Stevens experience which prepared me for my job,” Sanchez said. “Every aspect of the experience helped – from the Cooperative Education program where I gained work experience to the various opportunities through the student organizations to the rigorous courses where I gained the ability to effectively solve problems.”
Sanchez's colleague and fellow Stevens alumnus Juan Carlos Coronel '11 also told the students that Stevens has helped him succeed at J&J. He was recently selected to participate in J&J's Information Technology Leadership Development Program.
"Running an event along with Richard helped me relive being part of a student group at Stevens,” Coronel said. “My position may have changed from a student to a recruiter, but the outcome was still the same.”
According to Bryan Vianco '14, president of the SHPE and one of the event organizers, one of the highlights was the group activity, in which attendees worked together to create a business idea for a product which incorporated a J&J product with an outside product. At the end, each group presented its idea and received feedback from the J&J employees. A prize was awarded to the best idea.
"Overall, we were very intrigued by the creativity and passion each group had in their business idea presentations," said Richard Sanchez.
Vianco is hoping to one day join Sanchez and Coronel in the tight-knit and focused Stevens alumni community, and plans to use his association with SHPE to his benefit.
"Since SHPE offers such a vast network, I will always have contacts after I leave Stevens,” he said. “I plan on joining the professional chapter once I graduate so I can continue to be involved. Being associated with SHPE will help me find a 'familia' no matter where I go."