Mechanical engineer climbs networking ladder to achieve success

By Rebecca Maxon

May 10, 2023 — Four job offers await mechanical engineering major Elijah Jeannot after graduation. A first-generation college graduate whose parents came to the U.S. from Haiti, he’s made the most of his undergraduate experience through hard work and skilled networking.

An engineering program at Hillside (N.J.) High School fostered Jeannot’s interest in the field. “I knew I wanted to major in mechanical engineering,” he says. “I am very ambitious.”

Portrait of a young man wearing a graduation cap and gown.

Elijah Jeannot

He has offers with Honeywell in Phoenix, Ariz., where he did a summer internship last year, one with Boeing and two from General Dynamics Electric Boat.

“Anyone is capable of doing anything they want to do,” he says, “as long as they can put their mind to it.”

Looking back, Jeannot says, “At first the transition from high school to college was challenging.” Then it came down to hard work. “I used my mistakes to help improve my education.”

Alumnus Anthonio Thomas, BSCivET’20 (Metro), became Jeannot’s mentor. “He was a former vice president of the FDU chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers [NSBE]. I reached out to him because I knew he was working in the engineering field,” Jeannot says. “He told me to join the organization, and to make sure I go to the national convention because there are a lot of opportunities there.”

Jeannot served as treasurer of the organization, and it taught him a lot. Much like FDU’s Career Development Center, the NSBE “has career workshops where they help you with your résumé and LinkedIn profiles, and introduce you to professionals,” he says.

Christopher Stubbs, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and mechanical engineering technology, also helped Jeannot. He credits Stubbs with making his résumé better. “He also gave me a lot of good insight on how the engineering world works.”

Last year Jeannot attended the NSBE national convention in Anaheim, Calif., leading him to the internship with Honeywell. This year, he was able to support other FDU students, walking them through the steps he took in securing his internship.

“First, you go to their career fair and give your elevator pitch to companies,” he says, “Then, if they like you, they’ll tell you to come in for an interview either that day or the next day. By the time my interview with Honeywell was finished, they told me I had the internship.”

Jeannot’s main role at Honeywell was working with a new automation software called Process Simulate. The software uses a model of a high-pressure cold spray cell used in repairing gear boxes that go into aircraft.

“My goal was just to help get the software running, which was efficient in increasing repairs and estimated to bring over $250,000 in savings over time,” he says. Not bad for an intern!

Next year, after starting a full-time position, Jeannot will register with the NSBE as a professional. “I will be talking to other students about how I was able to secure my position,” he says. “That’s my main goal now, to help inspire others.”

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