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Guest Professors Inspire Future Engineers, Computer Scientists

March 3, 2014

Computer science student James Hofstra meets with alum Bill Ruh, vice president and corporate officer of GE Global Software Center, who spoke about his experiences and successes during the "Professor for a Day" event.

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After hearing from industry professionals taking part in their college's "Professor for a Day" event, senior mechanical engineering majors Rachel Caballero and Lexi Schaffer were not only impressed with their career successes — but also inspired and excited about future career possibilities in engineering.

"For these professionals to come to our classrooms and share with us what they know gives us insight into what we can do in the future as engineers," said Caballero of the College of Engineering and Computer Science program.

Schaffer agreed: "Students get the opportunity to think about different careers in engineering; it opens our eyes to more than what's in our textbooks and shows that there are successful engineers in the field."

Guest professors, including CSUF alumni, shared their industry experiences and expertise, creating an "important bridge in the education of students, further helping us strike the right balance between theory and practice in their training," said Raman Unnikrishnan, the college's dean.

Alumnus Bill Ruh '83, '84 (B.S., M.S. computer science), vice president and corporate officer of GE Global Software Center in San Ramon, gave a keynote address before an audience of students, faculty members and industry professionals. Ruh, who credited his CSUF education for giving him the foundation to his career success, encouraged students to be innovative, transformative and embrace ambiguity in today's ever-changing technical world.

"Think big, but start small and have a plan. Be willing to adapt yourself and your career, and be comfortable with ambiguity because that's the way the world works. The most successful engineers who run companies are those who deal with ambiguity and work through it," Ruh said.

The event, held in celebration of National Engineers Week, also featured a career fair and a campus visit by Daniel M. Hancock, president of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International. In addition, eight female student engineers spent a day shadowing the pros at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems in El Segundo.

Hancock met with students from CSUF's SAE chapter, who are designing and building a formula-style race car for the Formula SAE collegiate competition in June.

"It was an absolute pleasure to visit the CSU Fullerton campus," said Hancock. "The students I met are doing amazing work and the engineering and project management skills they are developing will help them throughout their college and professional careers. SAE International is proud to sponsor the Collegiate Design Series and the Fullerton team is on track to do well in the competitions."

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Tags:  Academics & Research