School of Engineering introduces graduate assistantship for 2012

Courtesy Photo / News and Info
Paul Plotkowski

Courtesy photo

Courtesy Photo / News and Info Paul Plotkowski

Samantha Belcher

Grand Valley State University’s School of Engineering is starting a new graduate assistantship program for students in the engineering master’s degree program.

Beginning in the Fall 2012 semester, students will have the opportunity to work and research at local West Michigan engineering companies while still taking a full course load.

“Students are getting real world experience,” said Shabbir Choudhuri, GVSU associate professor of engineering and graduate program director.

Students will work up to 20 hours per week in the fall and winter semesters and up to 40 hours per week in the summer.

Grand Rapids Chair is the first company to participate in the new program. Grand Rapids Chair and the School of Engineering will select one student from the master’s program to work at the company in 2012.

“It is defiantly a unique experience,” said Geoff Miller, vice president of operations at Grand Rapids Chair and a GVSU engineering master’s degree program graduate.

Miller said students will be doing traditional industrial engineering and manufacturing related activities.

“This is a vehicle to recruit talent,” said Paul Plotkowski, dean of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing. “Students will get a very mature experience.”

Choudhuri said graduate assistant students usually work in the university engineering department as teaching assistants. Now with the launch of this program, students will have more options outside of the university environment.

Choudhuri said it is a win-win situation for students and companies because both will benefit from the experience.

“Students will be contributing to the local economy,” Choudhuri said.

Plotkowski said the School of Engineering emphasizes on industry experience before students graduate.

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