Ole Miss Engineering Launches Industry Affiliates Program

School establishes strategic relationships with five industry partners to shape future workforce and research aspirations

The industry affiliates meet officially for the first time on Oct. 29. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Ole Miss Engineering recognizes the importance of strategic relationships with industry.

That’s why it has launched its Industry Affiliates Program. The school and each industry partner find mutually beneficial outcomes – from on-campus awareness and student recruitment to research opportunities and economic empowerment.

“Throughout my career, I’ve learned that university-industry partnerships are critical in ever-changing times,” said Dave Puleo, dean of Ole Miss Engineering. “When working together, both organizations can lift the other and be poised for even greater success.”

Founding five

The Industry Affiliates Program sets off with five founding partners:

Continental – an international leader of tire production and manufacturing for passenger cars, commercial vehicles and two-wheelers

General Atomics/Electromagnetic Systems – producer of electro-magnetic aircraft systems for the U.S. Navy, satellite surveillance, high power laser and other military applications

Hytrol – the largest conveyor manufacturer in North America, providing material handling systems across multiple industries

Medtronic – one of the largest manufacturers of medical devices in the world

Raytheon Intelligence & Space – business segment of defense conglomerate Raytheon Technologies that specializes in advanced sensors, training, and cyber and software solutions

“As the largest manufacturer of material handling solutions in the United States, Hytrol has a crucial need for qualified employees and access to innovative research,” said Christy Valentine, manager of Hytrol’s academic programs.

“Hytrol enthusiastically invests in programs like the one at Ole Miss. We understand the far-reaching impact this investment has on the lives and livelihoods of people in our region.” 

Full steam ahead

The industry affiliates met for the first time on Oct. 29. They discussed how to promote access to engineering talent, engage with faculty and leadership, and influence the direction of the School of Engineering. An engineering student talked to affiliates about her work experiences at SpaceX, and a faculty member spoke about the senior design project to set up an electric bike-sharing program on campus.

Industry affiliates have the opportunity to meet with selected students in advance of the university’s September Engineering, Manufacturing and Technology career fair.

That might have been their first official meeting, but the industry affiliates have been in action since the semester began.

For instance, industry affiliates received a student resume book and prominent placement at the university’s Engineering, Manufacturing and Technology career fair in September.

“Companies need to be a known quantity here on campus in order to attract talent and engage faculty to help them solve challenges,” said Darin Van Pelt, the engineering school’s director of engineering engagement. “Showing up at career fairs is essential, but that’s just the first step.”

The night before the career fair, the affiliates were able to meet selected students at an informal reception. Valentine from Hytrol recognized the benefits of this access.

“Ole Miss provided affiliate partners the unique opportunity to network with a select group of exceptional students in an environment that allowed for candid conversation about the needs of our industry and the needs of those entering the workforce.

“We were able to personally connect with several potential employees and look forward to hosting Ole Miss students as interns in 2022.” 

Each industry affiliate sponsors one of our engineering tailgate gatherings.

Each industry affiliate sponsors one of the school’s well-loved tailgate gatherings. This gives company representatives the chance to meet students and faculty, while cheering on the Ole Miss football team.

The Industry Affiliates Program provides engineering students and faculty with high levels of involvement with industry members. It gives students a solid idea of what’s happening outside the classroom, in the real world. And, it gives our industry partners the opportunity to shape their future workforce and influence university research initiatives.

The program is part of the University of Mississippi’s commitment to connect industry to students, thought leaders, ideas and innovation.

Companies interested in joining the School of Engineering’s five founding affiliates should contact Darin Van Pelt, director of engineering engagement, at dvp@olemiss.edu.