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Counter Current - Perspectives from My Move to the Corporate World from Academia

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

College Industry Partnerships Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

College Industry Partnerships

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.324.1 - 24.324.10



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Paper Authors


John C. Oliva Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation

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Dr. John C. Oliva has had a diverse career spanning the fields of academia and industry. John spent the first half of his career teaching mechanical engineering as a full-time faculty member, first at Kettering University and later at Grand Valley State University. He then transitioned to the corporate world where he has spent the more recent half of his career as a professional engineer. John currently works as an engineering analyst at Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation. His primary focus in this role is computer based simulations of mechanical systems, using both finite element and computational fluid dynamics methods to design and optimize industrial equipment.

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Counter CurrentPerspectives from My Move to the Corporate World from Academia An Abstract Sub mitted in Consideration for the ASEE 2014 Conference, College Industry Partnerships DivisionThe College Industry Partnership Division of ASEE has solicited papers regarding suggestions or advice onhow one can move from the corporate world and become a full-time faculty member or administrator inan academic setting. I believe that my own experiences have put me in a somewhat less commonposition to share lessons learned on these matters while discussing the inverse situation. I have justsurpassed a milestone in my career that serves as a halfway demarcation. I have now officially spenthalf of my career in academia, and half in industry, with the latter now gaining ground. Having bridgedthis divide between the two worlds, I believe that my perspectives can be beneficial to both sides of thematter, bringing attention to ways in which collaborative partnerships between Industry and Academiacan be enhanced.In this paper I will address several classifications of topics related to the general theme of my transitionfrom academia to the corporate world. I will share an insider’s perspective that I have within my currentworkplace regarding the academic world. How do our businesses view the contemporary product ofengineering education? Do companies believe that academia has anything to offer them? Whatdeficiencies are evident in new engineering hires? Conversely, I will reflect on the opposite perspectivesthat I recall from my academic days…and the extent to which those beliefs have been disproven orfortified since I walked away from the classroom.Finally, I will address specifically the opportunities and challenges that exist to build collaborative effortsbetween professionals working in both academic and industrial settings. I have been involved withefforts to mentor young engineers as they enter the workforce. I have coordinated internships withinindustry, both for students and faculty. I have drawn upon my teaching background to introduceeducational opportunities for our professional engineers at our work sites. I will share the successes,failures, and areas that I see for improvement on each of these matters.The nature of this paper will be to share anecdotal evidence as gathered through my own experiences. Icertainly cannot speak for all of Corporate America, nor can I fully appreciate the variety of differentacademic environments throughout the country. If nothing else though, I hope to share the lessons thatI have learned, and prompt thought, discussion, and perhaps even collaborative opportunities betweenthe world that I currently work in, and the world that I left behind.

Oliva, J. C. (2014, June), Counter Current - Perspectives from My Move to the Corporate World from Academia Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20215

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