Catching Up with a Recent IUPUI Grad


The results of IUPUI's First Destination Survey (2016) indicate that nearly 90 percent of respondents had a positive career outcome since graduating in 2016. So what does it mean to be a graduate of IUPUI with such a result?

One such person is Grace Perkowitz, an IUPUI alumna who graduated with a bachelor of science in electrical engineering, a field of study chosen to honor an important person in her life and to match her personal interests. Her grandfather was an electrical engineer, and her mother often said Perkowitz had an "engineer's mind," which she inherited from him. Perkowitz was recruited to play for the women's soccer team in 2012. Though that scholarship originally attracted her to the university, the resources and sense of community at IUPUI are what made her sure of her decision.

"Having the opportunity to be a part of multiple organizations and communities, like the soccer team, helped me grow personally and professionally," says Perkowitz. She was not only a dedicated athlete but also a woman in pursuit of change since engineering is a male-dominated field, and Perkowitz was disheartened from the knowledge that a lot of women drop out to pursue a field they believe they're more likely to flourish in. So, she and a few classmates created the Women in Engineering Network, a peer mentoring program for female students of freshman and sophomore standing who have an interest in engineering.

She credits this type of opportunity as being unique to IUPUI. "It almost felt as though we were given free rein," she adds, thinking back to watching her classmates prosper while she gained skills as a leader.

In addition to helping improve the education of other students, Perkowitz learned the keys to professionalism through the School of Engineering and Technology's career services office. "They helped me with everything from resume edits to interview preparation, even proofreading emails before I sent them to prospective employers. Jennifer Williams was a huge help to me," she praises, naming the director of the office.

Having the opportunity to be a part of multiple organizations and communities, like the soccer team, helped me grow personally and professionally.

Grace Perkowitz, IUPUI Alumna

The combination of those skills and the experience she gained from being an active student helped her obtain two internships during her undergraduate career. Her first experience was at Allison Transmission and the second at Environmental Systems Design in positions that let her be hands on and helped land her current job, making her a part of the 83 percent of students to have an internship that led to a career in their field of study. Perkowitz is now an assistant electrical engineer at Burns & McDonnell, a prestigious company named one of Fortune magazine's Top 100 Companies to Work for in 2017, a title given for its unique employee-owned structure and generous incentives.

Thinking back to what her goals were at graduation, she's happy to announce, "I've met them all. I wanted a job doing something I'm passionate about, working with people of multiple disciplines and living in a city." She explains, "I help design power plants, so I get to work with everyone who is involved in that process from top engineers to salespeople. I live in Kansas City right now, and I'm moving to Chicago soon. So yeah, I'm very proud of where I'm at."