Abigail Hogan did all the right things, but she wanted a different future.
She attended SUNY Oneonta right after high school, earning a bachelor’s degree in biology in 2016. That summer, she took a job running environmental tests with Broome County’s engineering department. While there, she worked alongside the engineering interns and found herself intrigued by their jobs. A future spent running lab tests just didn’t draw the same interest as the prospect of design.
So, she headed back to college – this time to SUNY Broome, where she earned a degree in Civil Engineering Technology in just one year.
“I loved it! It was awesome,” Hogan said of the program, which she graduated in May 2017. “Joe DeAngelo did a great job allowing people to graduate on time or earlier. He and all the other professors did a great job of allowing us to get our degree done on time.”
She took classes during Winter Term, and loaded up on courses during the fall and spring semesters to finish in a single year. After graduating, she landed a job in the City of Binghamton’s engineering department, where you can find her in the field, dealing with construction inspections and related work.
She is also pursuing her four-year degree in Civil Engineering Technology through Old Dominion University, where she takes online courses.
“I really like anything environmental. It might sound a little weird, but I really like rainwater and stormwater,” Hogan said of her interests. “I want to get into that, doing design work. Engineering was a good way to pursue that. Engineering gives you the opportunity to express your ideas more.”
A pipeline to rewarding careers
SUNY Broome’s Engineering Technologies programs are among the college’s oldest, dating back to the 1947 opening of Binghamton’s Institute of Applied Arts and Sciences, one of five such institutes and the forerunner to the community college system. The programs are both academically rigorous and hands-on, and students spend approximately half their time working in the field in addition to classroom time spent learning theory and concepts.
Another benefit: The program has an enviable 100 percent employment rate for students transitioning to the work world. Many local companies and the state Department of Transportation also provide Tech students with internship and summer job opportunities that can also ultimately lead to employment.
Abigail said she and other students learned about employment opportunities regularly while at SUNY Broome.
“It was definitely a lot better than when I was coming out of Oneonta. I think this program does an awesome job of getting people jobs,” she said.
While she was initially nervous about being one of the few women in the field, she soon discovered that she had little cause to be worried. Contractors are eager to work with you and help you develop knowledge of the field, she found.
“I think it gives you a lot more opportunity than a typical two-year degree will give you,” she said of the CET program. “People are very willing to help you.”
If she has any regrets, maybe there is just one: that she didn’t go to SUNY Broome first. Her father had wanted her to attend her local community college first, but she preferred to go away for school.
“This definitely would have been a better option, coming here. I probably wouldn’t have wasted a couple of years and thousands of dollars,” she reflected.