Many seniors who will graduate at NJIT’s commencement ceremony tomorrow (9 a.m.-noon) at the Prudential Center are looking forward to the big day but not just for the sheepskin. They will look forward just as much to their starting dates at plum jobs with starting salaries upwards of $60,000. Grads attribute their success to keeping their studies focused on science, technology, engineering and/or math and also a good cooperative education (co-op) program.
Many students while they attend NJIT are able to work in paid co-op or internships which upon graduation turn into full-time jobs.
“Despite the news we are hearing elsewhere, employers are not rescinding jobs offers to our students, asking them to start several months later or starting at lower salaries,” said Greg Mass, executive director of Career Development Services at NJIT. “We’ve seen from our career fairs and other on-campus recruitment programs that NJIT’s science and technology majors are in demand. The fact that so many of our students participate in co-ops and internships elevates their worth to prospective employers.
Darren Ferwerda, of Ramsey, a civil engineering major who is a second- generation NJIT graduate, is a good example. Following graduation Ferwerda will continue working full-time at McCutcheon Associates, a construction surveying firm in Secaucus. He worked there full-time during the past year as he finished his classes in surveying and engineering technology. Despite the workload, he receives the coveted title of outstanding senior from the department of engineering technology at the annual awards ceremony and dinner sponsored by Newark College of Engineering this past March.
As if work and school weren’t enough, Ferwerda still managed throughout his undergraduate career to remain active in Boy Scouts of America. He is currently assistant scoutmaster for Troop 88 in Waldwick, the same town in which he earned his Eagle Scout rank in 1996. Ferwerda also is active with his local church where he has taught in Sunday School for middle, elementary and upper elementary grade students. At the same time, he has chaired the annual attic, basement and garage sale, one of the organization’s key fund-raising activities.
Ferwerda loves living in Ramsey. “It has that small-town feel and has for a very long time,” he said. There was a commuter trolley line which ran through Ramsey South to Paterson. It was in use when Paterson was a large textiles exporter. That line has since been abandoned. Subsequently the town turned it into a bike path.” The path now runs behind his home.
Ferwerda said he’s a proud graduate of Don Bosco Preparatory High School, Ramsey. “It prepared me both for my first degree, computer science, as well as for my second in engineering technology and surveying,” he said.
He looks forward to his current work building layout and structural analysis of new and existing construction. Firm projects include the new Yankee Stadium, Red Bulls Stadium, Harrison, state government laboratories and more. He recently took the Fundamentals of Land Surveying exam and looks forward to becoming a licensed land surveyor in New Jersey. “With hard work, it can happen,” he added.