By Syl Kacapyr
This semester, hundreds of Cornell Engineering students will begin the daunting process of job hunting. A popular interview question that many will be asked is, “where do you see yourself in five to 10 years?” It can be a challenging question to answer, so we asked three alumni to share what was going through their minds as they finished school, chose their first jobs and then began the climb up their respective career ladders.
Hilary Renison ’05, M.Eng. ’07, M.B.A. ’09
Digital and Strategic Marketing, GE
Hilary Renison ’05, M.Eng. ’07, M.B.A. ’09, flew her first airplane when she was just 12-years-old. Growing up on Long Island, she had enrolled in Nassau County’s Aviation Operations program for high school students with the dream of traveling the world as a commercial airline pilot.
By the age of 16, Renison was already flying solo and had enrolled at Cornell Engineering to study mechanical and aerospace engineering, becoming part of the first generation in her family to attend a four-year university. With her eyes on the sky, Renison was on the fast track to achieving her dream. But once at Cornell, she would discover a new passion for engineering that would have her navigating a new course, eventually leading to her strategic marketing career at General Electric (GE).
Matthew Schmohl ’10
Senior Software Engineer, Jet.com
Like many other high-schoolers, Matthew Schmohl ’10 wasn’t sure what he wanted to study in college, let alone what he wanted to do for a career. “People didn’t really talk to me about what I was going to study. I didn’t even really know what engineering was, to be honest, until end of 11th grade when I was applying to colleges.”
But Schmohl’s enduring thirst for knowledge and determination to master his craft would eventually lead him to Jet.com where he’s currently a senior software engineer and surrounded by like-minded developers with an appreciation for science. The choices Schmohl made along the way weren’t always the obvious ones, but for him, they were the right ones.
Stephanie Glass ’06
Fractionation Technology Group Head, ExxonMobil
Stephanie Glass ’06 loved chemistry when she was in high school, and so when she visited her older sister who was studying chemical engineering at Lafayette College, she was inspired. “I visited her in a unit operations laboratory… and I just thought it was the coolest thing,” said Glass. “I think that was really what first put the idea in my head to pursue something similar.”
For the Pittsburgh native, choosing a college and career path was somewhat of a science itself. Research, experimentation and discovery would all factor into her life choices. Glass, now a fractionation technology group head at ExxonMobil, would graduate from high school and spend the next 16 years of her life at one school and one company—a testament to her apperception that home is where the heart is.