New Engineering Advisory Board strengthens relationships with alumni

Monday, August 31, 2020

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas School of Engineering has formed a new advisory board of recent graduates to advise the school’s faculty and staff as they prepare students to enter the engineering field. The group, formally known as the Recent Graduate Advisory Board, is composed of about 35 alumni, most of whom have been out of school for 10 years or less.

“KU Engineering has an amazing network of distinguished alumni. Strengthening connections with our more recent graduates by establishing this board will benefit our current students and broader alumni network,” said Arvin Agah, dean of KU Engineering. “I look forward to working with our recent graduate advisory board to elevate the stature of KU Engineering on the national level.”

The new board, which consists of alumni representing all engineering departments, as well as several industries and government, should help the engineering school keep current with the latest developments in engineering.

“I love to stay connected with the university and school, as well as my department. The professors there really crafted the mindset for me of what it is to be a professional aerospace engineer,” said Katie Constant-Coup, an engineer for the Federal Aviation Administration who chairs the new board. “I see this as a way to give back to a school that gave me a fantastic career path.”

Constant-Coup, an Overland Park resident, received her bachelor’s degree from KU in 2014 and her master’s degree in 2016. She served as the president of KU’s chapter of Sigma Gamma Tau honor society during the 2015-16 school year and sees her new role as a way of continuing her efforts to build diversity and include more women in the engineering field.

“What our board members really bring is that perspective of being new in their career. Maybe they’ve done one or two career moves since they graduated, but they have a fresher take on what the career field is looking for,” she said. The board will “see what new avenues we can investigate for students as technology and the field evolve over the years.”

That advice should help faculty give their students an edge, “so that students really stand out when they graduate,” Constant-Coup said.

In addition to advising the school on the current state of the engineering profession, members of the board will also help recruit students and track their progress toward a degree, maintaining contact throughout their academic careers and beyond.

“We’re very excited to set up this committee,” Constant-Coup said. KU “is the home away from home, as a lot of our members call it, so we want to give back as much as we can.”