The AES degree

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Dec. 1, 2015

An AES degree – a career path as creative as you are 

It is well established that today’s engineering graduates have among the highest placement rates of graduating college students in the country. 

MSU’s Applied Engineering Sciences (AES) program is hitting on all cylinders in the marketplace, providing 100 percent placement upon graduation (according to current data from The Center for Spartan Engineering.)Trevor Patterson (AES ’14) is the Livonia, Mich., transmission resident engineer for Ford Motor Company. He reviewed student resumes during this fall’s Employer Partner Showcase in September and offered friendly advice to Shane Frakes, a senior in mechanical engineering from Lake Angelus, Mich.

And there are almost as many career options as there are graduates. 

“We’re hearing about solid job opportunities from our students and alumni, who are reporting a broad range of career interests,” said AES director Laura Genik. “Our alumni work in numerous sectors of engineering and business. My vision for this already successful program is to continue to reach out to an ever broader set of employers.” 

Members of the AES community agree. 

“The scientific, analytical, and business coursework, with teamwork and communication-focused experiences, are all uniquely combined in the AES program,” said Donnie Haye (EA ’81), vice president, Client Services, Finance and Accounting at IBM in Chapel Hill, N.C. “AES provided a fantastic breadth of learning for me and a strong foundation for my career.”

Keith Preston (AES ’03) said he found just the right combination of experiences to give his career the edge he was looking for. “The AES program at MSU has provided me an educational foundation that combines a technical and business background found in very few programs. This has put me in demand and a step ahead of others throughout my career in supply chain,” said Preston, who is a Senior IT/Ops program manager at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash. He works on the Microsoft Cloud. 

AES senior Katelyn Dunaski has accepted a full-time job with Apple, once she graduates in spring 2016.AES senior Katelyn Dunaski (AES ’16) of Brighton will return to Apple in Cupertino, Calif., when her MSU studies are done in the spring. Dunaski, whose concentration in computer science landed her a coveted internship at Apple in summer 2015, has been offered a full-time job at the technology giant, upon graduation. “With a degree that covers such a large range of topics, I am ready to tackle a wide range of challenges,” Dunaski said. “Not only does AES provide me with the technical skill set to tackle problems, but I have the drive to understand problems beyond the technical aspects and to create solutions for people.”


AES students study a core that combines math, statistics, and basic science across most engineering disciplines. It prepares students with strong analytical capabilities, business knowledge, leadership, and communication skills, with concentrations in the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, College of Business, College of Communication Arts & Sciences, and College of Engineering (computer science). 

AES concentrations: 

  • Business Law
  • Computer Science
  • Media and Information
  • Packaging
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Technical Sales

With concentrations in six areas, here are a few more examples of where an AES career path can lead: 

Hardik Dalal (AES '06) is a project engineer with Boeing in Seattle. The lead project engineer on carbon fiber recycling, he works in the Advanced Materials group, Product Development. 

Lauren Zrebski (AES ’11) is a global sourcing manager for Apple in the San Francisco Bay area. She began working for Apple in 2013. 

Meet a few AES students 

Meet Colin White.

The 20-year-old from Okemos, Mich., is an AES sophomore who carefully scoped out his major before signing on. 

Colin White

“I always knew I wanted engineering, but I also knew I didn’t want to work in a lab or do research. AES is the perfect mix of engineering and business, so I found out it was the perfect fit for me.” 

White is interested in technical sales. “I learned about technical sales from my mom, Lynda White, after I told her my vision for my future was to wear a suit to work and travel internationally. I’d be fine with wearing a tuxedo to work everyday,” he joked. 

“I think technical sales will let me live out my dream, including the international part,” he added. 

White has been a board member for the student organization the Society of Applied Engineering Sciences (SAES) for two years, currently serving as communications chair. 

At MSU, he is a member of the Honors College, the MSU Men’s Club Volleyball team, and works at the student radio station, WDBM 88.9 FM, The IMPACT. 

His student job gives him an insider’s view of some of MSU’s best-advanced technology. He works at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB). 

White said that while AES is a small major on campus, he sees tremendous growth coming because AES now has a 100 percent placement rate. “AES is catching on with students and companies, too. We could become one of the greatest majors ever at MSU,” he added. “Awesome.”

AES students have diverse interests. Among the current AES students is junior Michael Geiger of Toledo. Geiger is on the Spartan football team and kicked the winning field goal to defeat Ohio State University on Nov. 21. Image courtesy of MSU Athletics.




Alec Wilhoite is president of the Society of Applied Engineering Sciences. A junior from Fenton, Mich., he is an intern with General Electric in Cincinnati.