It took only two days for Eric Wessel, ’18, to go from “graduate” to “professional” after commencement in May.
Wessel was eager to enter the workforce and start his position as an advanced composites engineer and project manager at Applied Composites Engineering — an aviation and aerospace advanced composites original equipment manufacturer production and maintenance, repair and operations facility in Indianapolis.
“My father was an engineer and a draftsman, so I grew up around the engineering field and have always loved airplanes, rockets and satellites,” Wessel said. “When I was getting to be a junior in high school I thought I would try and combine my love for anything that flies in the sky with my upbringing from my father in the technical field and so far it has worked out and been really challenging but mostly enjoyable.”
As an engineer and project manager, Wessel’s days are rarely the same.
“Some days, I am communicating and meeting with customers whose projects I am overseeing. Other days, I am designing composite tooling, generating build manuals for the production floor and working on methods of manufacturing for various parts,” he said. “I get to interact with a wide variety of parts on an even wider variety of aircraft and spacecraft – everything from small UAVs to aircraft engine components to military components. I really get to see it all which has been an absolutely incredible for me. I also get challenged quite a bit at work, in a good way.”
Wessel was prepared for the workforce – and all of its challenges – thanks to the opportunities afforded to him at State. As a student, he was involved in Phi Gamma Delta social fraternity, American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Ultimate Frisbee Club. He also worked as a computer-aided design lab attendant and was a student instructor through the Center for Student Success his last two years.
He held internships all four years, including as a drafting intern with CAD Services Plus Inc. in Greenwood, Ind. for two years, a one-year management internship with Consolidated Electrical Distributors Indianapolis and a summer internship with Applied Composites Engineering.
“Although these were internships I chose, professors like Todd Alberts, Ben Thompson and Dr. Ahmed Mohamed as well as the wonderful staff at the Career Center helped recommend and line up interviews and facility tours at these companies and others,” Wessel said. “The professors, in the College of Technology especially, have been such helpful mentors to me through my college and career journey that I do not think I would be where I am today if it were not for them.”
Now in a rewarding career, Wessel is reaping the benefits of his participation in professional development activities, mock interviews and resume-building sit downs hosted by Indiana State’s Career Center.
“ISU did and has continued to bless me with a lot of opportunities that I know I would have not gotten if I went anywhere else,” he said. “Whether it be friendships, internships, life experience or career opportunities, ISU really did pave the way for me to have a successful and enjoyable future.”