Open House with College of Engineering and Computer Science will Celebrate its Programs and Alumni

JONESBORO – An open house planned by the College of Engineering and Computer Science (CoECS) at Arkansas State University will highlight the student and faculty celebration of National Engineers Week in the United States, Feb. 21-25.

The CoECS students have picked that week to celebrate the college with fun activities each day. The student chapters of professional organizations, including Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Association for Computing Machinery, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers, and Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers are organizing many of the special events.

To culminate the week’s celebration, the college will host an open house Friday, Feb. 25. Prospective students, along with family members and high school counselors, have been invited to campus where they can meet with current students and faculty, and visit the various CoECS labs. 

“While college open houses are a tradition nationwide, not as typical is the presence of the offices of Financial Aid, Admissions, and Career Services during the event,” noted Dr. Abhijit Bhattacharyya, dean of the college. “Further, a first this year is the presence of almost a dozen employers who will be present to meet with prospective students and discuss job opportunities for graduates of our programs.”

Also participating will be Dr. Andre Possani-Espinosa, director of engineering of A-State Campus Queretaro. Due to the similarity in the engineering curriculum offered at both campuses, the Mexico site could be a natural study abroad destination for students in CoECS, the dean added. 

“This entire experience for the visitors will showcase the pathway, ‘from the high school, through the College of Engineering and Computer Science at A-State, to the workforce,’ ” Bhattacharyya added. “The number of expected visitors is approximately 175, coming from across the State of Arkansas and the region.”

As part of the event, Bhattacharyya also said CoECS is showcasing highlights from the careers of five of its graduates, in order of graduation at A-State:

Charles Brinkley

Charles Brinkley, Wolfspeed, Inc.

Brinkley earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1992, then a master’s at the University of Tennessee. His graduate research in laser-induced spectroscopy was sponsored by Thompson Cancer Survival Center. Following career stops at R. E. Phelon Co. as a product design engineer, then DENSO in Maryville, Tenn., as an electronics quality engineer, he became power module customer quality engineer in Fayetteville for Wolfspeed, Inc., which makes semiconductors for electric vehicles.

Andrew Butler

Andrew Butler, AutoZone

Butler’s career has taken him to three different enterprises. Following his 1999 graduation with a bachelor’s degree in technology, he was director of lean transformation/process improvement for Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s Tulsa facility, and industrial/project engineer for Bosch’s Skil Power Tools manufacturing facilities in Walnut Ridge and Heber Springs. He also was involved with building Bosch’s North American Distribution Center in West Memphis. He is now  senior business analyst – hub operations for AutoZone at the corporate headquarters in Memphis.

Jessie Jones

Jessie Jones, Arkansas Dept. of Transportation

Jones, a 2001 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in engineering with a concentration in civil engineering, has progressed through a 20-year career with the Arkansas Department of Transportation, working in design, research and planning. Now head of the Program Management Division, she oversees activities supporting pre-construction project development, management of Federal-aid highway programs, and development of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program.

Brandon Avant

Brandon Avant, Rural Sourcing, Inc.

Avant, who completed his bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2011, is a software engineer for Rural Sourcing Inc., specializing in C#/.NET, Full-Stack JavaScript, and Cloud Technologies. He is an expert consultant who provides clients with the building blocks needed to achieve their technological goals. Avant also specializes in leading development teams and helping colleagues to achieve their career aspirations.

Rebecca Chen

Rebecca Chen, General Motors

Rebecca L. Chen, who earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, was active in the A-State student chapters of professional organizations in which she continues to be involved. She gained experience as an intern for Whirlpool and Nidec Motor Corp. Following graduation in 2020, she was employed by General Motors. After working through various positions, she is now co-chair of the Issue Resolution Team for chassis and active thermal management.

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