Student Success Story: Leila Shwayhat

Leila Shwayhat (she/her/hers) earned her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering from the School of Engineering at UConn in May 2018. After graduation, Leila secured employment with Loureiro Engineering Associates as an Engineer. Hear Leila’s story and how the resources provided to her at UConn helped her overall professional development and growth.   

How did you choose your major, program, and/or minor?

I knew I wanted to do something about the environment, but I wasn’t sure what. When I learned what environmental engineering was, I was intrigued by the hands-on aspect and the fact that I could see the results of my work.  

How did you find out about your current position?

I found out about them through the Career Fair.  

What groups, organizations, or other resources at UConn contributed to your career success?

The Center for Career Development was a huge help in my job search. It made me aware of online resources specific to the area I wanted to work in. It also helped me finalize my résumé, allowing it to highlight my relevant experiences for each job application. Working as a Career Intern at the Center for Career Development, I learned how to make myself stand out in a professional work environment. Reviewing students resumes and leading FYE classes allowed me to help students one-on-one while also practicing leadership and communication skills.  

What experiences during your time at UConn contributed to your current success?

I was a member of TEDxUConn when I was at UConn. This was a fantastic opportunity to put together an event that allowed the UConn community to come together and learn from inspirational speakers from all areas of expertise. It was an opportunity both to learn from experts and to enhance leadership and organizational skills. 

My two internships at GE Power allowed me to gain authentic experience in a professional work environment. I was also able to learn how to read engineering reports and designs while also improving my computer skills.  

One of my favorite experiences during my undergraduate career was my month-long study abroad experience at the University of Exeter’s International Summer School in England. My program was called Global Climate Change: Environment, Technology and Society. In this program, I was able to learn about the causes and effects of climate change alongside students from all over the world.  

What advice would you give to current UConn students who are looking to follow the same career path?

Gain as much field and hands-on experience as you can. Also, do not be afraid to ask for help! Utilize UConn’s resources such as the Writing Center, Q Center, and Center for Career Development. As someone who has reviewed candidates’ resumes, I can guarantee it will help your résumé stand out.  

Please feel free to share recent accomplishments and achievements in the workforce.

With the support of my work, I have been able to volunteer with the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame’s STEMfems events. Through these events, I am able to volunteer with my coworkers, speak to middle school girls (virtually or in person), and do activities to encourage girls to pursue careers in STEM fields ananswer any questions they have about the STEM industry.