Declassified Career Survival Guide: Shail Desai
The summer after his freshman year of college, Shail interned at a company called TerraCycle, near his hometown in Monroe Township, New Jersey. The company’s motto is that everything is recyclable. They reach out to larger companies and ask them to fund their recycling program. This creates a symbiotic relationship because TerraCycle can find unique uses for the company’s waste through their sponsorship, then the company can reduce their waste footprint. One example of TerraCycle’s work was a project to create pellets that could be used for a ground layer in a garden, or in a children’s playground in the local community. Shail focused on evaluating future partnerships for TerraCycle, and worked in research and design, considering how the company could recycle new materials coming in.
Summer of 2018
During the summer of 2018, Shail stayed on campus, and was involved in undergraduate research the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and also did remote work for a company called Aerial Optic. His research involved analysis of train tracks, which have ballasts that can sink into or raise above the ground due to unfavorable weather conditions, especially in the Midwest, where we see a wide range of weather patterns. The process for fixing the tracks currently involves a lot of labor and is inefficient. Shail’s focus was to analyze images of the damaged ballasts and create MATLAB models to determine the best timing for ballast remediation in order to maximize efficiency. Aerial Optic is a government affiliated contracting company, and while working for them, Sail searched for contracts for the company to take on, and contributed to project proposals and outreach events.
This past summer (2019), Shail interned at Whirlpool. He worked on a powered accessory that will be a component of small ovens, and will be hitting the market shortly. Focusing on the development portion of the product design, Shail did background research, contributed to concepts for prototypes, created testing metrics for baseline testing, and benchmarked competing units from other companies. In addition to the technical experience he gained, Shail appreciated the professional development opportunities he had, learning the dynamics of a workplace and understanding how the actions he takes early on in his career can shape his long-term goals. He also enjoyed the family-oriented culture Whirlpool had to offer.
On Campus Professional Development
On campus, Shail has been involved with a range of technical and pre-professional organizations. He joined ASME as a freshman, and served as the Engineering Council Representative his sophomore year, the President his junior year, and he currently is the Membership Director. He believes that ASME is more than the technical events and general meetings it hosts; it has a great community that unites people across the MechSE department.
Starting his junior year, Shail began working for the Rapid Prototyping Lab in MEL, where he interacts with large-scale, professional-grade 3D printers and creates parts for student projects and research groups.
Within Engineering Council, Shail is a member of the Engineering Expo Committee, which is the student side of the organization for the engineering career fairs. To help smooth the general logistic whirlwind of the fairs, Shail contacts new companies to attend, organizes the flow of the fair, rents equipment, and offers resume reviews.
Outside of Engineering Expo, Shail also helps students with their resumes in Engineering 100 as an Engineering Learning Advisor—but this is just a small portion of the job. All engineering students take Engineering 100 to help acclimate them to the university. Shail said that he enjoys interacting with the freshmen, having the opportunity to learn how every student is different, and shaping the class in a way that he thinks would be most beneficial.