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A Most Impressive Group Gets Oriented

Orientation for EMTM’s newest class, held Wednesday, August 19 to Saturday, August 22, featured a vigorously packed agenda of classes, social events, speakers and some administrative details to pave the way for the upcoming semester. “This was the largest, most highly credentialed incoming class we’ve had since I have been director, and we kept them energized with a creative and diverse program of activities,” said Dr. Dwight Jaggard, director of EMTM.

One of the orientation’s many objectives is to create a venue for introducing students to their peers. Students not only formed new bonds with one another and discovered the value of the EMTM network from their earliest moments in the program. “It’s been an intense experience since we’ve been together for twelve hours every day,” said Bill McEwan, line manager at Vanguard in Valley Forge, PA. “But that’s often the best way to jump in.”

Students quickly made introductions during a Speed Networking event on Wednesday evening, and were asked to break up into small teams during several sessions, including the Teamwork and Leadership and Introduction to Case Studies classes and the Emerging Technologies Seminar (ETS) on Scenario Planning. “Students will be participating in a lot of teamwork throughout their first year, and it was clear during orientation that they were already working well together and were ready to collaborate,” said Jaggard. Informal get-togethers over lunch, dinner and late-night drinks followed more organically. Students reported having gotten to know one another fairly deeply in a relatively short period of time — and as a bonus, many also commented on the delicious food.

“It’s been fun to meet lots of cool people, and we’re thrown into activities which basically force us to get to know one another,” said Nathan Cho, systems engineer at Northrup Grumman in Elkridge, MD. “I’d say I’ve made 13 or 14 new friends already.”

It was also a chance for incoming students to connect with visiting alumni. “It’s a diverse community and I was able to speak with many different people in different industries,” said Volodymyr Hnativ, Technology Project Manager at Business Week in New York, NY. “As I never had the chance to attend school in the United States, it was also very interesting for me to experience a taste of campus life.”

The Statistics Refresher sessions, taught by Dr. Santosh Venkatesh, prepared students with nuts and bolts skills, and perhaps stirred up some distant memories for those who have been out of school for several years. “I particularly enjoyed statistics; it feels good to sense that different parts of your brain are firing up,” said Ahsun Saleem, owner of Simplegrid Technologies in Parsippany, NJ.

“I really appreciated the opportunity to have a refresher and the statistics class is an important building block for what’s to come in becoming a manager of technology,” said Sarah Caldwell, production support engineer at Lockheed Martin in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Venkatesh’s class laid the groundwork by re-acclimating students to the classroom, while introducing them to a vocabulary that would serve them throughout the program. “Many times in the professional world these students use only a small slice of analytics, but this introduces them to analytics in a broader way; EMTM is one of the few graduate programs where you get to broaden rather than narrow your focus,” said Jaggard.

Classes like Introduction to Case Studies with Dr. David Hsu and Scenario Planning with Scott Snyder offered a taste of other intellectual challenges ahead. “The classes are very entertaining because the students are engaged and energetic,” said Cho. “The professors are great — much better facilitators of discussion than any I’ve ever had, and perhaps the students being so engaged helps to that effect.”

Though some students reported that they had done leadership courses at their companies in the past, they found that the Teamwork and Leadership segment of orientation, led by Dr. Jaggard, came from a different angle than corporate programs and offered the opportunity for reassessment, and for getting a fresh perspective from a set of new peers coming from different backgrounds. “It was great. On the last day we talked about our dreams and goals versus the talents we have, how to become successful while staying true to our values,” said Caldwell.

The Job Survival Guide class taught by author Greg Shea provided real-life strategies for staying on top of career goals in an ever-changing workplace. Students broke into groups and reported back their experiences of change over the course of their careers. “To me that was one of the most practical and interesting sessions — I came away having learned a lot,” said Supriyo Ghosh, applications manager at Bruker Optics in Houston, TX.

By the end of the four days, the individual takeaways — and a healthy dose of homework — amounted to a substantial introduction to EMTM life. “The thing that surprises me is that in a few days I have learned a halfdozen important messages that will help me do my job better,” said Roger van Zee, leader of the nanoscale process metrology group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, MD. “Things like promoting entrepreneurship in a large organization, to how to think simply about complicated workflow issues, to encouraging leadership and mentoring. These will help my agency be more effective and give the taxpayer more bang for his or her buck. Coming out of this orientation, I’m sure EMTM will be a transformative experience.”

“Overall I really enjoyed orientation,” summed up Cho. “I actually wish it had been longer — but I’m definitely looking forward to getting back on campus.”


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One of the orientation’s many objectives is to create a venue for introducing students to their peers. Students not only formed new bonds with one another and discovered the value of the EMTM network from their earliest moments in the program.

“This was the largest, most highly credentialed incoming class we’ve had since I have been director, and we kept them energized with a creative and diverse program of activities.”

Dwight L. Jaggard
Professor of Electrical & Systems Engineering
Director, EMTM Program

“Many times in the professional world these students use only a small slice of analytics, but this introduces them to analytics in a broader way; EMTM is one of the few graduate programs where you get to broaden rather than narrow your focus.”

Dwight L. Jaggard
Professor of Electrical & Systems Engineering
Director, EMTM Program

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