A Different Path

As an undergraduate majoring in mechanical engineering, Andy Edmonds ’09 had little interest in the power industry until he learned of Lehigh’s new master of engineering (M.Eng.) in energy systems engineering (ESE).

For Edmonds, the ESE degree created a new path and proved invaluable in landing a job.

Edmonds enrolled in the 10-month ESE program, finished in May 2010, and was hired by Southern California Edison’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station near San Clemente, Calif. He has begun a four-year apprenticeship for nuclear plant equipment operators and will move through several positions, from equipment operator to reactor operator to shift manager.

“The ESE’s industry-focused curriculum sets us apart,” says Edmonds. “I had to take an entrance exam just to qualify for the interview at Southern California Ed. Only a small percentage of candidates pass. But thanks to what I learned in the ESE program, it was not too difficult. Now I find I can talk intelligently with the Navy veterans here who have operated reactors.”

Edmonds’ story is typical of the 22 students who earned M.Eng. degrees in ESE’s first year. Despite the recession, all the new graduates were offered jobs within three months after completing the program.

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