Engineering Alumnus Takes a 'Cat to Work

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In early January, Matthew Bochanski ’06 BSME, ’08 MTM, ’10 MSME was just one of approximately 150 Villanova alumni, parents and friends who took a ‘Cat to work. This was not part of a new initiative to bring pets to the jobsite, but rather an opportunity to introduce current Villanova University students to real-world experiences in their area of career interest. Now in its 3rd year, “Take a Cat to Work” is a unique mentoring opportunity in which more than a dozen Villanova regional alumni chapters provide job shadow experiences for students.

Bochanski’s “Take a Cat to Work” mentee was mechanical engineering senior Mike Battaglia. They spent a half-day together at DuPont Chambers Works in Deepwater, N.J. where Bochanski is employed as a reliability engineer. In addition to touring the plant, reviewing the industrial processes and checking out the facility’s equipment, Bochanski and Mike also discussed the business side of engineering. Mike used this opportunity to ask his mentor questions about networking, interviewing and various career paths. Bochanski in turn challenged his guest with engineering questions. “I was interested in knowing Mike’s level of engineering competencies as well as his degree of confidence,” he says. “As a Villanova alumnus, I wasn’t surprised to see how articulate and well prepared he was.”

Bochanski had nothing but praise for the “Take a Cat to Work” program, pointing out what a terrific opportunity it presents for students to not only learn more about their field of interest, but to get their foot in the door of the workplace without the trials of an interview. “Students are able to see behind the curtain into the real world, which helps them to more effectively communicate and relate when they interview for jobs,” he says. Bochanski adds, “I hope more students take advantage of the opportunity.”

A student alumni program offered in conjunction with the Villanova University Alumni Association and the Career Center, “Take a Cat to Work” is open to students in all majors and matches them with alumni based on interests and experiences. The half-day spent together on the job may include observation of various departments, meetings with key colleagues, facility tours and more. This opportunity gives the student a good overview of the industry and the various roles within it, and provides for substantive opportunities for the students to speak with professionals as part of their career development.