April 27, 2023

Jumping right in: College of Engineering graduate kick-starts career through involvement, networking

College of Engineering graduate Hani Qaqish has excelled as a student and accepted a job offer at Siemens Digital Industries Software.

Through internships and extracurriculars, Hani Qaqish jump-started his career while still in school. The Wayne State University senior, who will earn a degree in biomedical engineering with minors in computer science and business administration, accepted a job offer from Siemens Digital Industries Software as a technical program manager nearly three months ahead of graduation.

With some resume support from the College of Engineering’s Career Resource Center, Qaqish secured an internship with Siemens in January 2022. Already familiar with the company’s NX Design software through his work teaching it to others as a student assistant in Basic Engineering 1200 and 1500, Qaqish was an immediate fit and a quick study. In his current role, Qaqish is still working with NX Design, this time as a program manager overseeing a team testing and improving the tool through updates.

“It’s a really exciting thing for the company to be seeking my input — I see it from both sides as an employee and student,” he said. “They ask for my complaints and feedback, and I get to help them make the software easier for other students to learn.”

Beyond thinking about the next generation’s experience with the software, Qaqish has already started helping other students make early professional connections. As a member of Siemens’ ambassador program, he has coordinated a variety of campus events where students can meet with industry leaders to discuss how to enter the field, secure an internship, continue their professional development, explore career paths and more.

“One of the most valuable things I’ve learned is how important networking is,” Qaqish said. “I want to help others be able to always put their best selves forward and make those connections. They make a huge difference.”

Born in Jordan, Qaqish is eager to work at a global company that has allowed him to network with professionals around the world. The role is an opportunity he feels well-prepared for because of the diversity on Wayne State’s campus.

“The industry is becoming increasingly diversified, which is great,” he said. “I knew that I wanted to learn in a diverse environment, and that’s part of the reason I chose to study at Wayne State.”

Hands-on experience

As a self-described “curious problem-solver,” Qaqish has felt at home in the College of Engineering and appreciated the opportunities to engage in hands-on learning as a first-year student. He recalls touring Associate Professor Carolyn Harris’ lab and participating in the college’s annual Student Design and Innovation Day, where Warriors showcase projects that they’ve built.

“Being in the lab early on helped open my eyes to what I wanted to do and how a degree in engineering fit into the picture,” said Qaqish, who has been recognized for numerous academic achievements and routinely named to the Dean’s List. “We were given the tools as freshmen to design and present our ideas right away.”

As an undergraduate, Qaqish was also worked as a part-time research coordinator at Henry Ford Hospital and participated in an interdisciplinary project with Iman Bajjoka, Pharm.D., director of operational research at the hospital. The study assessed an app created by Johns Hopkins University that is intended to connect kidney donors and families in need of a donation.

“The app worked to make those connections and raise awareness,” Qaqish said. “Technology plays a role in everything — there’s always an engineer of some kind involved!”

Connecting outside the classroom

Qaqish said he also benefited greatly from getting involved on campus outside the classroom. In addition to his role as a student assistant in the College of Engineering and his academic accomplishments, Qaqish took every opportunity to connect with his peers. He was active in the Biomedical Engineering Society, the Society of Computer Developers and the Tau Beta Pi engineering honors society. He was also involved in the ACCESS organization, helping commuter students like himself make connections and engage on campus.

“Because I was so involved, I never studied alone,” he said. “Some of those core classes were difficult and remote learning was a challenge, but we helped keep each other accountable and motivated.”

Outside of academics, Qaqish is an avid pickleball player, making new friends through the sport and traveling for tournaments. He also keeps busy with carpentry and home renovation projects, using skills he learned from his dad.

Looking back, reaching forward

Qaqish attributes his successes to the support of his parents and friends.

“Being able to live at home and focus on school was a huge benefit,” he said. “And being able to really throw myself into making friends and connecting on campus has been so rewarding.”

In addition to his new role, Qaqish will enroll at Wayne State in the fall as a master’s student pursuing a degree in computer science. He hopes to one day earn an M.B.A as well.

“I was drawn to Wayne State because there are plenty of opportunities and resources here,” he said. “Where else would I go for my next degree?”

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