If you want to impress a top technology company, how about doing it right from your college classroom? Earlier this year Johnson & Johnson got word about the amazing work students in our College of Engineering & Design were doing and they couldn’t stay away. They liked what they saw and quickly hired Carly O’Keefe ’18 and Preston Perriott ’17 full-time, and Brian Olencki ’18 as an intern, to develop health-related software at their new technology office in Providence.
“Johnson & Johnson executives came in without really understanding who we are as a university and quickly discovered what we already know: JWU is producing students that are ready to enter the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workforce,” says Dean Frank Tweedie. “They were impressed with the curriculum and the readiness of the JWU students they met with.”
During their visit, the Johnson & Johnson executives toured the John J. Bowen Center for Science and Innovation, met with faculty and leadership and spoke to students in the classroom.
It’s gratifying for me to have a company like this one seek us out to specifically hire our students — it makes me think we’re doing something right.”
“I’ve been at JWU for 20 years and we’ve never had an employer request to come in and visit our classrooms to see what our students are doing,” says Jim Sheusi, associate professor and department chair of computer science. “It’s great for our students to experience this. And it’s gratifying for me to have a company like this one seek us out to specifically hire our students — it makes me think we’re doing something right.”
They’re not the only company looking for our students. Sheusi noted that over the summer, Hasbro, Inc. executives reached out to JWU to request students to fill internship positions opening up in the spring of 2018.
Making a Good First Impression
Sheusi says that he, as well as other faculty members, hand-picked a few of the best students and recommended them for an interview with Johnson & Johnson. O’Keefe and Perriott were two of the students Sheusi suggested to the company.
“My transition from JWU to Johnson & Johnson went very smoothly,” says O’Keefe. “I’m currently working as an iOS mobile app developer in Swift, which is a language I didn’t have any experience in previously. The knowledge I gained from my time at JWU provided me with the skills and tools necessary to aid me in my mobile app endeavors, and will continue to as my career evolves.”
My transition from JWU to Johnson & Johnson went very smoothly.”
"I’m only two months into my position at Johnson & Johnson, but I feel like I’ve already learned so much,” she adds. “I wouldn’t have been as successful without my professors’ expertise, enthusiasm and guidance throughout my college career. I feel very honored that my professor recommended me for this position.”
O’Keefe will be in good company at Johnson & Johnson. According to Johnson & Johnson’s website, the company’s new health technology center in Providence will include developers and engineers who’ll build web and mobile software for the company’s research and development teams. Staff will specialize in optimizing information technology and data analytics to create software applications with the goal of supporting the company’s efforts to improve health outcomes.