Putting His Degree to Work: Clark Starts to Make A Difference After Graduation

Monday, May 12, 2014

The College of Engineering Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony will be held at 10:00 a.m. at the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, Coralville: Manny Villafana, recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Science degree, will be the guest speaker. Graduates should arrive no later than 9:00 a.m.  A live video stream of the ceremony will be available at now.uiowa.edu/2014/05/video-college-engineering-commencement.

By Stephen J. Pradarelli and Amy Mattson

Like most students graduating from the University of Iowa this spring, Drew Clark of Marion spent years of studying learning, growing, and hoping one day to get a job that would put his passion and talents to good use.

Recruited to play Hawkeye football as an offensive lineman, Clark, 24, set his sights early on a career in engineering. This spring, armed with a freshly minted Bachelor of Science degree in engineering, and a minor in mathematics, he’ll begin his job as a manufacturing engineer with John Deere in East Moline, Ill.

The Motley Fool recently named the UI one of three universities in the country with “super-high” post-graduation placement rates. While data for the Class of 2014 won’t be available for a while, many students have already landed good jobs—including some of “Iowa’s Hot 50 Jobs”—or are pursuing advance degrees.
 
“As a kid I was always building with Legos and wondering how mechanical things operated,” Clark says. “Talking with my advisor, Megan Allen, my freshman year helped me make my decision to become a mechanical engineer. She encouraged me to go to the engineering career fair, where I got an interview with John Deere, and I've interned for them the past two summers.”
 
Clark is one of a number of graduating students who will walk across the stage at commencement and right into one of the state’s “hot jobs,” as identified by Iowa Workforce Development (IWD).
 
IWD defines “Iowa’s Hot 50 Jobs” as high-demand and high salary positions for which the need is only expected to grow between now and 2020. The list includes jobs for both four-year and advanced degrees, including doctors, nurses and pharmacists, as well as actuaries, marketing managers, and computer system administrators.
 
Couple the promise of good jobs with a strong institution-wide placement rate (which recently earned a shout-out from the Motley Fool website: 3 Colleges That Have Super-High Job Placement Rates), and this year’s crop of graduating students say they already see their UI diplomas paying off.