On September 5, the UK College of Engineering held its second annual Wildcat Cage Competition for Student Organizations. The event formerly known as "Shark Tank" enabled 21 student organizations from the college to pitch their initiatives for funding. Cummins, GE Appliances, PRELOAD, Dynetics, the UK College of Engineering and alumnus and Hall of Distinction member L. Stanley Pigman and his wife, Karen, served as the Wildcat investors. Collectively, investors committed $37,900 by the end of the competition.
Civil engineering graduate student Erika Hernandez pitched a "UK Water Wagon" on behalf of the UK Water Professional student chapter. They would pack the proposed wagon with educational resources related to water and the environment and distribute them to kids during outreach events.
"It was great to see how curious the industry representatives were about our project," Hernandez said. It was a great experience to pitch a project that is meaningful for our student group."
K'Lynn King, vice president of the UK student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, appreciated the opportunity to improve essential skills.
"Selling yourself and your ideas is a major part of professional development. This event gave us a chance to do both of those things."
Investors communicated they saw great value in their participation.
"GE Appliances hires over 100 engineering co-ops at our headquarters in Louisville, and UK is one of our primary recruiting schools," said Brian Mallory, executive director, supplier quality at GE Appliances. "As one of the state's major employers of engineers, it is GE Appliances' responsibility to help develop future engineers. The Wildcat Cage event is just one way for us to help with that development. It allows us to focus our sponsorship dollars on student organizations that share common goals with us."
John Hughes, University of Kentucky recruiting team leader for Cummins Inc., agrees that Wildcat Cage offers employers a unique opportunity to engage engineering students.
"Where else can you met with the leadership from 20+ engineering student organizations, provide funding, network, and collect resumes, all while helping the technical leaders of the future grow by honing their business and presentation skills. It's a no brainer!"