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Hot cha cha
RIT grads choose from the best

You're being pursued by headhunters. You have skills that are in demand by organizations leading the technological revolution, and you're prepared for the challenges of today's rapidly changing world of work.

You're and RIT grad.

These days, RIT graduates have their choice of what Time magazine calls "hot jobs" -- careers that are in demand, lucrative and personally rewarding. The job market for highly skilled, well-trained people has never been stronger.

No wonder the ranks of employers interested in recruiting on campus or establishing co-op jobs continues to grow. Although some large companies have downsized, the booming technology sector continues to provide excellent opportunities, says Emanuel Contomanolis, director of cooperative education and career services. In the area of information technology alone, for instance, an estimated 800,000 jobs are waiting to be filled.

NetSetGo Inc., a Rochester-based Internet company, is trying to get ahead in the race for qualified employees by hiring RIT students as co-ops, then offering them incentives to continue with the firm after graduation. The company has more than a dozen co-ops representing a variety of high-tech disciplines, and, says CEO Jeffrey L. Burke, "We'll take as many as we can get."

"The job market continues to bode well for RIT grads," says Contomanolis. "That's what all indicators suggest."

Computer systems analysts, engineers and scientists are expected to be the fastest growing occupations through 2008, says the U. S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook 2000-2001. From hardware to software, from macro to micro, RIT grads can afford to be choosy in deciding which job offer best meets their professional and personal needs.

Above: Tom Wolanski, civil engineer at Clough Harbour and Associates. Left: Gizem Deligonul, radio desinger at Harris RF Communications (photo courtesy Democrat and Chronicle).

After earning his computer science degree, Darrin Nelson '88 went to work for IBM writing the MVS operating system for mainframe computers. In 1993 he joined Lotus Development Corp. as senior system engineer working on Lotus Notes installations at major companies including Eastman Kodak Co. and Bausch & Lomb. When Lotus wanted to move him to company headquarters in Massachusetts, Nelson decided to stay in Rochester and took a job with a small Internet company, IBS International, as chief technology officer. Last year, IBS was acquired by NetSetGo and Nelson became director of advanced technologies for the fast-growing firm.

"RIT provided me with a tremendous foundation," says Nelson.

Gizem Deligonul '99 earned her degree at RIT in computer programming and physics. She designs military radios for Harris RF Communications. Deligonul had a choice of positions in Austin, Texas, or California's Silicon Valley, but chose a job in Rochester because, she says, "I like having the four seasons -- and the job Harris offered me was very interesting."

Preferring warmer climes, Alicia Bineyard '97, a microelectronic engineering grad, works in Phoenix as a product engineer for ON Semiconductors, formerly part of Motorola. She is responsible for what she calls "running technical interference" for customers who are buying new products from the company. "I didn't imagine I'd ever get to this point this soon," she says. With overseas travel as part of her job description, Bineyard is enjoying her work.

Picture this: Imaging science, a field unnamed as recently as the 1970s, has become one of the hottest of the hot jobs. "Every year, we have more employers coming to us to recruit our graduates," says Jonathan Arney, RIT professor of imaging science. "We just don't have enough to meet the demand."

(above) Julia Barsi, on the job at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. (below) William Bowers, searching for a treatment for Parkinson's disease.
With a masters in imaging science from RIT, Julia Barsi '00 is working at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center as part of the Landsat team. (See Spring 2000 issue of The University Magazine for more information on Landsat.)

"I got my M.S. with the goal of joining up with Landsat," says Barsi. "My imaging science background provided a near seamless transition to the Science Office for one of the best satellite imaging systems available. This was only one of many job opportunities that was out there for me -- and we're already looking for more imaging science grads to fill new positions."

Biotechnology is another RIT program that's resulting in jobs for graduates while providing a solid foundation for those going on to graduate school. Job opportunities are expected to be very good for qualified graduates of science technician training programs or applied science technology programs who are well trained on equipment used in industrial and government laboratories and production facilities, according to the U. S. Department of Labor.

"Graduates of this program are finding jobs with biotech firms, pharmaceutical companies and hospital or medical center labs," says Douglas Merrill, RIT chair of biological sciences. "Plenty of them go on to graduate school and are involved in cutting-edge research."

By attaching genetic material from healthy nerve cells to "clean" herpes simplex virus cells, then sending those modified cells into damaged nerve cells, William J. Bowers '90 and his colleagues hope to find a treatment for Parkinson's disease. With a Ph. D. in microbiology, Bowers is pursuing his fascination with gene therapy in the Center for Aging and Developmental Biology at the University of Rochester.

"We have lots of undergrads at RIT who come through the lab here as interns doing tech work," he says. "RIT's philosophy of applied science gives students a strong foundation for industry."

While many RIT grads are zipping into the future on the information superhighway, some are hard at work keeping highways of concrete and asphalt functioning.

In the late 1970s, civil engineers were going back to school to retrain for alternative careers. All the bridges and roads were built, it seemed; no one needed them. Now, with billions of federal dollars as well as state and local government money earmarked for infrastructure renovation, "The need for civil engineers hasn't been this high in over two decades," says Robert Easton, RIT civil engineering technology professor.

The school has experienced a flood of calls, e-mails and faxes from firms hoping to track down potential employees. "The demand is more than we can satisfy right now," he says. "RIT can't enroll people fast enough."

At Clough Harbour and Associates, says Tom Wolanski '80, "We are in dire need of more civil engineers." The field is exciting right now, he says. "New technology makes it fast paced. And you actually get to see something for your work -- you design a bridge and then you can watch it be built. That's quite exciting."

As the technological revolution continues, it's clear that RIT graduates are well-prepared for the coming challenges.

"The world is going through more fundamental change than it has in hundreds, perhaps thousands of years," says Tom Peters, a national expert on work, in a Time article, "What Will We Do for Work?" "Here is the opportunity to participate in the lovely, messy playground called 'Let's reinvent the world.' "

Wherever there's an opportunity to reinvent, RIT alumni will be there. Count on it -- and them.