Spotlight on Engineering Alumni: Michael Peritz
Education: BS Chemical Engineering and MS Chemical Engineering both UR
Current job title: Process Engineer
Current employer: Wollaston Alloys, Inc.
Current city/state of residence: Brighton, MA
When and how did you choose your major(s)?
I went with chemical engineering, because I loved chemistry, but did not want to give up math. That may seem like a weird answer to some people, but it allowed me to learn a lot about the way the world works, and gave me a new perspective on life and on solving problems.
What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?
I was a part of Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity. A lot of people perpetuate some negative stereotypes about fraternities, but my experience gave me a lot of skills employers were looking for. Some of my responsibilities in the various positions I held during my time at SAM came up in interviews and seemed to impress a lot of people. It was also a great way to make friends, meet a ton of new people, and relieve stress.
What resources did you use on campus that you recommend current students use?
The career center was really helpful. I had no clue how to write a resume or cover letter and they taught me both. Several employers I interviewed with commented that my resume looked professional, and that it was one of the reasons they decided to speak with me. The career center also provides other services like mock interviews which can be very helpful.
What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take that path?
After graduation, I decided to stay at U of R for a 5th year and participate in the chemical engineering 3-2 program. It was a great choice for me, because I knew a lot of my friends were having trouble finding jobs, and I knew a Masters degree would help. They also allow you to circumvent taking the GRE, and give you a big scholarship. After I finished that program, it took me about 3 months to find a job which is much better than average.
What do you do now and why did you choose this career?
I recently accepted a job offer at a high alloy steel castings foundry in Braintree, MA. I am not 100% sure about what my responsibilities are because I just started, but my role is as a process engineer working on designing and controlling the castings process from a chemical engineering standpoint. I chose the career because it offers a highly variable, challenging, and extreme environment. I like working with my hands, so this is perfect.
I would like to be an engineering or operations manager. This type of job would allow me to make higher impact decisions, while still focusing on engineering and the things I learned and love.
How do you balance your work and personal life?
In Boston, it’s easy. There is so much to do, there really isn’t any excuse not to get out there and have a good time. Most cities have sports teams you can join that are meant for young working people, so they schedule games around work schedules. I recently joined a basketball league starting next month.
What advice do you have for current Hajim School students about their time on campus, graduate study, or the first few years after college?
This may sound redundant, but study hard. There are a ton of really competitive candidates out there that have done a lot of interesting and relevant work. Improving your grades can give you a leg up. I also recommend getting a crummy job after college (unless you get hired immediately). I worked in retail for a couple months and it taught me a lot about how to talk to and deal with people. It also gives you some extra money to pay your rent, groceries, etc.