Getting good grades in a good major at a good school are important steps to launching a successful career, but another key component is to develop strong social skills.
The Student Association of Graduate Engineers (SAGE) in UConn’s School of Engineering helps graduate students with exactly that.
Recently five members of the Association received $3,000 scholarships for their involvement with the group’s activities.
“Landing a job after you leave UConn involves so much more than how well you did in your classes,’’ said Mei Wei, associate dean of engineering, who presented the awards. “SAGE teaches the importance of being successful, how to interview, how to be practical, how to be engaging.’’
Added Aida Ghiaei, director of graduate outreach and diversity in the School of Engineering and advisor to SAGE, “We have ongoing activities that all stress the same theme – the importance social interaction plays in professional development.’’
The scholarships are part of a $1 million bequest from John Lof, a former professor of electrical engineering. Lof joined the faculty at UConn in 1952, as an assistant professor of electrical engineering. As the next generation of computers were developed, he advised and assisted UConn in opening an engineering computer center. He was the director of the Computer Center and also taught courses in computer programming.
Recipients of the awards were Morad Behandish, a Ph.D. candidate in Mechanical Engineering; Drew Clearfield, a Ph.D. candidate in materials science and engineering; Bahar Deljoo, a Ph.D. student in materials science and engineering; Kamyar Momeni, a Ph.D. candidate in biomedical engineering; and Paul Wortman, a Ph.D. candidate in electrical and computer engineering.
Wortman, a sixth-year graduate student, said he came to UConn “shy and quiet. I didn’t know a lot of people. SAGE has taught me the importance of interacting.’’
In the spirit of the Association, the five recipients of the scholarships didn’t find out they were being recognized until after all of the SAGE members enjoyed an ice cream social hour.
The UConn Foundation is in the midst of an initiative, known as Transforming Lives, that aims to double the amount of financial support, including merit and need-based scholarships, that it raises for the benefit of UConn students.
The Foundation recently reported that it raised $16.3 million for scholarship and student support during fiscal year 2015, among a total of nearly $78 million in contributions and pledge commitments.