Rutgers engineering student Chloe Tucker would be the first to admit that you never know who you’ll meet along your journey and the profound impact those people may have on your life. As a high school student in Willingboro and working after school as a cashier at Wegmans, a customer who frequented her checkout line recognized her intelligence and potential and suggested she consider a career in engineering.
More specifically, he encouraged her to find out more about the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) at Rutgers School of Engineering. That customer happened to be Ian Douglas, a 1995 graduate of Rutgers engineering and the EOF program. He also directed Tucker to a high school outreach program that introduces minority students to engineering.
“I didn’t even know what engineering really was,” says Tucker about the program. “As soon as I was introduced to biomedical engineering, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
Tucker graduated from Rutgers on May 13 with a degree in biomedical engineering and a job lined up with United Technologies as an associate design engineer, based in Colorado Springs. The first in her family to graduate from college, her new job will entail incorporating biomechanics into the design of aircraft seating to improve passenger safety.
The student organization MEET (Minority Engineering Educational Task), the Rutgers chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, was also an important influencer in shaping Tucker’s Rutgers experience. While the engineering curriculum prepared her academically, the MEET organization and her fellow members gave her the real-world guidance she attributes to her success. From influential mentors to the support of students, deans, and alumni who invested their time and talents, she was able to uncover her strengths, assess her weaknesses, and develop her leadership skills.
She credits her MEET peers and the soft skills she acquired as part of the organization with helping her land a competitive co-op at Johnson & Johnson during her junior year, working in supply chain management.
“The members of MEET taught me how to be successful professionally,” she says. “How to conduct myself in business, what corporations are looking for, what to wear, how to talk to recruiters, how to build a resume, what experience recruiters are looking for.”
The MEET motto—I am, we are—is a philosophy Tucker takes seriously. She came to Rutgers thinking about herself and how she was going to grow and benefit from her education. She leaves with a strong conviction to pay it forward.
“Now everything that I do, I hope it impacts someone in a positive way,” she says.