While at Carthage, Eric Ireland ’15 took advantage of the many opportunities available, such as the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program and the Carthage Microgravity Team. He credits these programs and his Carthage education for his success at his current job.
Mr. Ireland works as an applications engineer at Elector Scientific Industries. He says he works as a “Jack of all trades” and that having such a variety of functions at work has been extremely valuable to him so early in his career.
What have you enjoyed most about your career?
“Getting to travel and train customers has been the most direct and meaningful way to see the impact of my work. It’s extremely rewarding to see people get excited to learn ways to save hours of time or to make their jobs easier with our machines.”
How did Carthage prepare you?
“All of the research opportunities at Carthage were some of my most beneficial experiences. I participated in math research as a part of the SURE program after my freshman year, observed an asteroid at Kitt Peak National Observatory, and studied microgravity fuel gauging both through the Rock-SAT program and through the Carthage Microgravity Team. Having such a range of research experiences has shown me what it’s like to work side by side with a professor on problems to which there’s no textbook solution — an essential skill for any Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) job. Carthage’s requirement for a senior thesis gives each student from every discipline the chance to contribute something novel to their field.
I am also thankful for experiences from extracurricular organizations that prepared me for the master’s program at the University of Oregon and for working in industry. My fraternity Delta Upsilon gave me a lot of professional developing skills without even realizing it at the time. I practiced interview skills (on both ends of the table) with the “convos” or conversations that associates had to get to know each of the 50+ full members. I also got practice giving dozens of convos once I became a full member. Being a Greek also prepared me for networking events during our semesterly rush parties, especially when I first rushed the fraternity and had three hours to hang out and get to know 60+ new people. In many ways, Carthage has given me a foundation to be successful — both personally and professionally.”
Tips for current Carthage students:
“Take advantage of opportunities for research like the SURE program. You’ll get used to working on longer-term projects; rather than having a weeklong lab, you have several month or yearlong projects. You’ll get experience working with teams and truly understand the need to maintain good communication and harmony when things aren’t going as smoothly as expected.
Get used to networking and meeting new people. Fraternities and sororities aren’t necessarily for everyone, but being in a club or two where you’re having to get to know a group of new people every semester will help.
Enjoy taking naps when you can. You may be sleep deprived in college and need to take a few naps here and there during the week. Enjoy it. Having to be on the top of your game for eight hours straight, five days a week is another type of challenge, but you get used to it.
Be confident in your ability to learn. If you have an interest in something that’s not offered as a course, ask for independent study. Be resourceful.
At the beginning of your college career, start a document to write down all your accomplishments and skills. You learn a program in a class, jot it down. You get a scholarship or do a research project, write it down. When you go to make your resumé, all the content will be there. You’ve fought half the battle; the other half is refining it.
Enjoy and savor your time in college, and try as many new things as possible — opportunities won’t be nearly as plentiful and easy to come by.”