Foundations of the Future: Emerging Engineers Benefit from Mentorship

emerging engineer May 03, 2021

The IPC Emerging Engineer Program just graduated its first members in 2020, finishing up the first batch of the three-year program. While the Emerging Engineer Program was traditionally created for early-career professionals, IPC and the IPC Education Foundation decided to reserve slots for five qualified student candidates to earn a spot in the professional development and mentorship program. In late 2020, IPCEF conducted an application and selection process, resulting in five current student members:

  • Paige Fiet, fourth-year electrical engineering student, biomedical application at Michigan Technological University.
  • Michael Ceraso, fourth-year electrical engineering student at the University of New Orleans.
  • Raviteja Boyana, master’s in mechanical engineering—electronic packaging and reliability at the University of Maryland.
  • Rishi Garg, third-year electrical engineering student at North Carolina State University.
  • Adam Popper, fourth-year electrical engineering student at Purdue University.

The students were admitted into the program in late 2020 and started their mentorship activities in early 2021 prior to the IPC APEX EXPO. Paige, who also happens to be the student liaison to the IPC Board of Directors, was specifically looking forward to being paired with a mentor who has significant industry experience to share how they navigated both the engineering and business side of their career. Paige was paired with Michael Carano, VP of Technology and Business at RBP Chemical. He is an IPC Hall of Fame award recipient and has served on over 16 standards committees throughout his illustrious career. Paige feels that the mentorship component to the Emerging Engineer Program gave her a “jumpstart to her future career and a valuable resource to call on when needed.”

In addition to being paired with a mentor, IPC Emerging Engineers members join a cohort of more than 30 of their peers as they complete their Passport, a checklist of items used to learn and grow through their IPC APEX EXPO experience. Michael Ceraso, another IPC Student Member and Emerging Engineer, was excited at this year’s EXPO to learn about “how standards are made, who exactly contributes to these valuable documents, and who out there is helping to make electronics better.” Some of you may know that IPC’s tagline slogan is “Build electronics better.” I assure you, Ceraso nearly quoted this wonderful slogan on his own. Ceraso accomplished his goals for the IPC APEX EXPO by attending technical conference sessions and professional development opportunities where he specifically noted learning about different solder paste technologies and developments with the Factory of the Future initiative of IPC.

As noted, most of the 30+ Emerging Engineers are already in the workforce, many of which are at large IPC member companies. A couple of the student Emerging Engineers are hoping that this opportunity can help guide their career paths, whether that be indirectly through career guidance or even a direct path into the industry via official positions. For example, Michael Ceraso, Raviteja Boyana, and Adam Popper will all graduate this spring. Paige will graduate in December and Rishi Garg will graduate next year. Raviteja recently wrote an I-Connect007 article about how his IPC experience and corresponding coursework has helped shape his career path as he sought a post-graduation full-time opportunity. We hope that all these students’ future employers will support and encourage their continued participation in the three-year mentorship and development program.

IPC and the IPC Education Foundation will continue to foster the development of students likely by adding additional student members to the program as the years continue. The IPC Education Foundation looks forward to working with IPC and its member companies to contribute to the pipeline of students entering the electronics manufacturing industry.

Aaron Birney is the IPC education program manager.


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