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Grant Will Boost SAU Engineering Programs

March 2014

New college graduates with a bachelor's degree in engineering can expect to earn some of the highest starting salaries among their peers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A $500,000 grant awarded last fall by the John Deere Foundation will help SAU's Industrial Engineering and Mechanical Engineering programs prepare St. Ambrose graduates to step into those jobs.

"St. Ambrose University and Deere & Company have had a long and fruitful partnership, and more than 700 St. Ambrose alumni are employed with Deere worldwide," said Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, PhD, president of St. Ambrose. "The university is deeply grateful to the foundation for its generous support of our efforts to provide a well-trained workforce with excellent career opportunities."

The grant will be used to make substantial enhancements to the learning environment for current and future engineering students.

"Through discussions with our advisory board, we came to the conclusion that the best use of the grant would be to combine virtual lab enhancements with expanded hands-on engineering lab experiences," said Michael Opar, PhD, professor and chair of the Engineering and Physical Science Department. "These enhancements will help us continue to produce highly prepared engineering professionals."

Engineering graduates are in high demand. "The other day I had a company representative in my office, looking to hire," said Opar. "If I'd had two students who wanted jobs, they would have had them."

There are more internship and job opportunities than available students, he added. "They all get jobs in the discipline, if that's what they want."

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