Spotlight on Engineering Alumni: Jarrod Orszulak
Education (UR and additional): Biomedical Engineering, 2007; MS ECE 2008
Current job title: Product Manager
Current employer: FRABA Inc
Current city/state of residence: Philadelphia, PA
Family: living with loving gf (UR alum)
Community activities: President, Big Pond Association
Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?
Dottie Welch. No seriously, I was interested in BME and the personal time she took to spend with me and introduce the curriculum to me was impressive. It not only made me feel comfortable with the program, but excited and enthusiastic. Her energy was reflective of the staff once I was there as a student.
What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?
Variety of academic (BMES, TA, lab instructor) and extra curricular (sailing, badminton, club sports council). Most important thing I learned was how to be a leader even if you’re not in a formal leadership position. Being able to influence your peers, classmates, etc even though you aren’t formally appointed as a leader is critical while you’re beginning in a new career and at the bottom of the totem pole. You’re not going to be hired and have your first job be in upper management, I don’t care if you have a BS from Harvard, a MBA from Wharton, an MD from Johns Hopkins or a PhD from some other prestigious school.
What resources did you use on campus that you recommend current students use?
Take advantage of the generosity of your professors and their time. Whether its office hours, doing research, or speaking to your advisor regarding your career or studies after Rochester. They have a wealth of knowledge and fortunately make time for students when they could easily be doing their own research or spending more time with their families that they most likely don’t see enough.
Who were your mentors while you were on campus? Have you continued those relationships?
Be best friends w/ the undergrad admins. Not just Dottie, but they were all great (at least in engineering). This will hold true when you leave college, there will be a secretary or office assistant behind the scenes that will make the office run like clockwork. I was always amazed that at the knowledge of these individuals even though they never spent a day sitting in a class. I often would consult with them before going to speak with my advisor. “We stand on the shoulders of those before us”
What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take that path?
MS ECE Rochester 2008 – 2008-2011 MIT AgeLab, took it to explore different opportunities, ended up doing a lot of cognitive engineering and studying how older adults interact with technology.
What do you do now and why did you choose this career?
2011-2012 – FRABA Inc – Product Manager – Work for a small tech firm doing primarily sales, marketing and new product development. Get to work with customers to find solutions to problems. Face many challenges related to both industrial automation and a growing small company.
How are you still connected with the University?
Honestly, not really. Haven’t been on campus in a few years. Haven’t really stayed in close touch with my friends from college. It happens I guess…
What advice do you have for current Hajim School students about their time on campus, graduate study, or the first few years after college?
Realize you most likely won’t be doing whatever it is exactly that you went to school for. Either be doing something different due to the economy, or will want to live somewhere else and thus have to take a different job, etc. You will also most likely realize that you want to do something else, maybe a little different from your focus, maybe very different. Establishing a solid engineering background and having the ability to adapt will be critical.