Wilbur Acharya was born in a remote village called Arghakhanchi, Nepal. After finishing high school in Nepal he came to the United States to pursue his undergraduate education in Mechanical Engineering. He is currently the Vice President of the IPC Student Chapter at the University of New Orleans.
Charlene Gunter du Plessis, Sr Director of the IPC Education Foundation asked him a few questions about his personal and professional career goals.
Charlene: “Why did you choose your major?”
Wilbur: “People used to find my name quite unusual growing up in Nepal, and one day my father brought a book that consisted of the biographies of different inventors and scientists of the world. There I saw my name written in big letters. It was a biography of the Wright Brothers: Wilbur and Orville Wright. I quickly finished reading the biography and was so inspired by the brothers who had made the first airplane. That biography sparked my interest in engineering, and I built upon that small spark to finally fly across the other side of the world to pursue an engineering degree.”
Charlene: “What advice can you share from any professional work experience your responsibilities there with your peers?”
Wilbur: “I have worked as a Co-op at Bayer and while there I worked in the asset care transformation and reliability group where we made sure that the assets within the plant were performing in their optimum capacity. We also implemented automation projects for data collection within the plant, as well as various monitoring systems.”
Charlene: “What have you learned about yourself during the scholarship application process?”
Wilbur: “It’s okay if you do not check every single box for the application. Do not give up being overwhelmed by the number of things you need to complete to get your application completed like the personal statements, recommendations, etc. Focus on your strengths and get that application in. And if you get rejected…? Well, then you just try next time with a better portfolio. Accepted? Cheers and well done!”
Charlene: “How important is scholarship funding to you personally in terms of accomplishing your goals, academically and professionally?”
Wilbur: “As an international student that hugely depends on my college scholarship for education, it is always a calculated budget that I need to work with. The problem with this is that when something unexpected happens, like Hurricane Ida last year for instance, it can take some toll financially. Moreover, I like to challenge myself in taking as many classes as possible plan to graduate in four years with an engineering degree and two minors. However, the extra classes mean extra tuition and fees, and having a scholarship takes that extra burden on top of your head.”
Charlene: “Do you have an internship lined up or have interned past? And if so, what valuable tips do you wish to share with likeminded students?”
Wilbur: “Work on your resumes. Sit down and think what to put on it. Chances are, first time you do it, you feel like you don’t have anything to put on. Just sitting down to write a resume can motivate you to work on things you need to do. Another thing I’d say is to start early. Do not wait for junior year. The reason I say this is because when you make up a mind to apply early, you got to have those resume and cover letters ready. This can push you to focus more on it. If you get a position you like, Congratulations. But, if you don’t you will build up the guts to take rejection letters from companies. Then you will work even more on your resume, networking, etc. And since you started early, even though you don’t land an internship in your sophomore year, you are now prepared to take them on with a better portfolio in your junior year. I must have had double or triple figures in rejections in my sophomore year, with some automated rejections coming just 5 minutes after applying. So, starting early can certainly give you an edge.”
Charlene: “What are your plans to grow professionally during the summer?
Wilbur: “With COVID-19 playing an integral part in our lives for past two or three years, I feel like we have been out of touch with many individuals. So, hopefully during the summer I will get to meet my mentors, co-workers, and other professionals in a personalized manner and learn from them in any way I can. Similarly, I am also eyeing on some professional design certifications that can improve my resume and would love to spend more time learning those skills.”
Charlene: “What have you learned from professional work experiences?”
Wilbur: “As far as my experience as Co-op/Intern, I felt like it is important to listen more to what people say. As an intern, you have to soak in all the information you can, and then you act on that information by formulating meaningful questions to your mentor. Also, if you feel that your mentor can gain more value by using some of your untapped skills at work, make sure you communicate it to your mentor.”
Charlene: “Do you have specific employers in mind? If so, please mention them and state reasons why?”
Wilbur: “Not really. Right now, I am open to any possibilities where I can provide my assistance as well as grow as a professional.”
Charlene: “Why do you love about the industry in general?”
Wilbur: “I love how the engineering industry challenges us to put our collective efforts in problem solving. Once you figure it out, you usually get a chance to actually see it in action.”
Charlene: “How would you describe the term “Engineering”?”
Wilbur: ““Engineering” is a field that ultimately aims to make our lives easier, accessible and challenges us to explore unanswered questions.”
The IPC Education Foundation will host industry professionals in an informal setting to provide our network of students, educators, and other professionals information on career and technical topics related to the electronics industry.
This event will be an informal, high-engagement Q&A hosted by the team at IPCEF and IPC Emerging Engineers.
Follow-up content will be shared with registrants, and if approved, a recording will be posted to the IPCEF YouTube Channel.