Deep Dive - Engineering Skip Navigation


Do you enjoy using scientific and mathematical principles to solve practical problems? Consider exploring engineering careers!
Marcell Sandor
The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) defines engineering as "that profession in which knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences gained by study, experience, and practice is applied with judgment to develop ways to utilize, economically, the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of mankind."

Colgate Professional Network

To provide an opportunity for those working and with an interest in the sciences to connect, the STEM Network brings together the Colgate community in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Engineering Advisor

Head shot of James Reed, techology advisor
Read about James
James joined Colgate Career Services in September 2014 as a Career Advisor with a focus on the STEM disciplines. Prior to his arrival at Colgate James was employed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he served as an Associate Director and Lecturer in the Archer Center for Student Leadership Development.

James earned an Ed.M. degree in Higher Education Leadership and Policy Studies with a concentration in Student Affairs Administration from the University at Buffalo and a BA in History from the State University of New York, College at Geneseo. James brings to Colgate more than ten years of experience working with college students in a variety of capacities including, leadership education, curriculum design and assessment, community development, and one-on-one coaching. He enjoys helping students bridge their interests and passions with their professional goals to find a sense of fulfillment and success.

Originally from the Finger Lakes region of New York State, James resides in Syracuse and is excited to enjoy the diverse array of outdoor recreational activities that Central New York has to offer.


Call 315-228-7380 for an advising appointment.

Explore Careers

Engineering is an interdisciplinary profession that can be broadly defined as the practice of applying mathematical and scientific knowledge to solve a problem or satisfy a clearly defined need. Engineering spans a wide range of industry sectors and engineers work for entities across a variety of sectors including commercial businesses, governmental organizations, and academic and research institutions. Each of these types of organizations has its own mission for which the engineer must also be focused. (Source: Vault)
Industry Sectors
Here are some possible areas of specialization for engineers from What Can I Do with this Major? - Engineering (for more specialties and information on possible employers of each visit the site.)
  • Aerospace: Discipline develops technologies for use in aviation, defense, and space exploration.
  • Biomedical: Discipline combines engineering and biomedical sciences to study and develop tools, techniques, and products to improve human health.
  • Chemical and Biomolecular: Discipline combines chemistry, physics, biology, and engineering to solve problems involving the use or production of chemicals and biological systems to develop new materials and processes and to increase efficiency and lower cost.
  • Civil: Broad discipline providing for communities through development and improvement of services including construction, transportation, city planning, water, energy, and pollution.
  • Computer: Discipline involves the design and development of computer hardware and software and hardware-software integration.
  • Electrical: Broad discipline applies engineering principles to the design and production of electronic systems and electrical devices.
  • Environmental: Discipline plays vital role in preventing and developing solutions for environmental problems.
  • Industrial: Discipline focuses on effectively utilizing people, products, machines, materials, energy, etc. to improve processes or systems.
  • Mechanical: Very broad discipline incorporating the research, design, development, manufacturing, and testing of mechanical devices.
  • Nuclear: Discipline focuses on research and development to derive benefits from nuclear processes.
For more information...
For more information on the engineering industry, see the Vault Industry Guide: Log in or create an account (you will need to create an account using your Colgate e-mail address to view this content) and then find “Engineering” through the search box or in Industries & Professions, for pages on specific engineering careers go to “Related Professions” at the bottom of the page.

Prepare for Jobs and Internships

Information, tips, and strategies to help prepare you as an undergraduate.
General Tips
  • Related work experience obtained through co-op, internships, part-time, or summer jobs is extremely beneficial.
  • Join relevant professional associations, attend meetings, participate in design competitions and stay up-to-date on research/publications.
Here are some skills or qualities to develop, and highlight on a resume
  • Verbal and written communications skills - including presentation and technical report writing.
  • Teamwork - to maximize collaborations with other engineers and those outside of the profession.
  • Computer expertise within field.
  • Creativity - Engineers need to think in scientific and mathematical terms and exhibit the abilities to study data, sort out important facts, solve problems, and think logically.
  • Attention to detail
  • Other helpful traits include intellectual curiosity, technical aptitude, perseverance, and a basic understanding of the economic and environmental context in which engineering is practiced.
Be familiar with licensing requirements when considering your career path!

In the United States, all 50 States and the District of Columbia require licensure for engineers who offer their services directly to the public. Engineers who are licensed are called Professional Engineers (PE). This licensure generally requires a degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program, 4 years of relevant work experience, and successful completion of a State examination.

Alumni Advice

Headshot of Laura Coyle '09
Current Title and Organization:
Optical Engineer, Ball Aerospace

Major at Colgate:

Advanced Degrees:
PhD in Optical Sciences, University of Arizona
Q&A with Laura
  • What do you currently do?
    I design, analyze, build, and test optical systems for a variety of air- and space-borne platforms at Ball Aerospace.  These systems include telescopes and spectrometers for NASA science missions, as well as remote sensing instruments for commercial and defense applications.  I'm particularly excited about a test bed I'm building to develop new technologies for coronagraphs on space telescopes, which will allow us to directly image earth-like planets around other stars.

  • What was your first position out of Colgate and what did you do in that role?
    I transitioned directly into a doctoral program in Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona.  My research there focused on novel methods for aligning and testing large optics, specifically primary mirrors for the next generation of monolithic ground based telescopes.
  • How can students prepare themselves while at Colgate to work in your field?
    Pursue as many research opportunities/internships as possible.  Practical experience is extremely valuable and the fastest way to gain engineering intuition.  Work closely with the professors - Colgate's science departments are small but perform incredible research, giving undergrads a unique opportunity to take a leadership role in experiments, write papers, and attend conferences. 
  • What extracurricular activities, associated with your profession or not, were you involved with while at Colgate?
    I was co-President of the Colgate Physics Club and was a member of the Club Ultimate Frisbee and Equestrian teams.

Find Opportunities

Pathway to Science
Pathways to Science, Engineering – a searchable database of engineering fellowships, internships, and programs.
Job and Internship Search Sites

naviGATE Opportunities

Below are some opportunities that may interest you from naviGATE, Colgate's internship and job database.

More Opportunities

The Liberal Arts Career NetWORK (LACN) is a database of internships and entry-level jobs posted by employers interested in hiring liberal arts students.

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Connect to Careers

Latest stories about internships, workshops, professional networks, and more.
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