“What will it be like in the workplace?” is a common phrase heard within the Fowler School of Engineering’s Career Services Center as students explore their career options and visit our Manager of Career Services, Samuel Lee, for resources and support. While some students update their resumes or prepare for interviews, others are ready to see their future firsthand. Through industry connections and partnerships, Samuel Lee secured an opportunity for students to visit Second Order Effects’ El Segundo Office.  

Fifteen Fowler School of Engineering (FSE) undergraduate and graduate students were selected to tour the rapidly growing engineering consulting company. This new experience allowed students to network with local industry professionals and explore their workplace.   

“These visits are important for students because they provide needed context for the type of work they can see themselves doing,” shared co-organizer of the tour and Manager of Career Services Samuel Lee.   

During the panel discussion portion of the visit, Chapman Engineering students were introduced to a diverse range of Second Order Effects employees varying in technical specialty and years of experience in the industry. The employees shared their experiences navigating their careers and discussed their time at Second Order Effects.   

Students identified cultural similarities between the company and the Fowler School of Engineering from these conversations. “I like that it’s a sense of community and collaborating with people is a big part of what they do in their day-to-day work,” Anela Quiroz (Computer Science ‘26). 

Chapman Engineering students hearing from the panel of professionals from Second Order Effects.

The first half of the three-hour tour included a panel discussion with current Second Order Effects employees.

Problem-Solving Culture  

Second Order Effects are problem solvers for their clients and recommend students begin to “embrace the unknown with problem-solving,” said University Recruiter Chloe Lam.    

At the Fowler School of Engineering, our innovative curriculum develops students’ fundamental knowledge and practical skills to be the next generation of problem solvers.   

For their first two years, students are involved in the Grand Challenge initiative (GCI), where they take on a pressing issue and create a solution project with an interdisciplinary team. Whether developing new water-use management systems or creating models for accurate lung cancer classifications, students finish the program with a new set of applicable skills.   

Hands-On Learning Solidified  

As students walked amongst the aisles of the company’s open-office floor plan, they witnessed different types of engineers juggling their daily tasks, whether electrical, mechanical, or other work. For computer engineering student Trey Alexander, the walkthrough gave him validation since he recognized their work.   

“A lot of the stuff that was there I recognized, if not exactly, I recognized what it could be a part of. Seeing it being put into new emerging technologies is very interesting and it makes me a little more confident to go into the workforce,” said Alexander.   

Chapman Engineering students taking a tour of Second Order Effects' El Segundo office.

Chapman Engineering students met with local industry professionals and saw some of Second Order Effects’ projects.

Their workplace consisted of on-site labs where students saw engineers soldering, a skill identified as highly useful in the workplace by Second Order Effects employees. “It allowed me to see what is attainable and how my skills can be applied that way,” said software engineering major Kalin Richardson. Fortunately, some attending students, such as Richardson, had already acquired this skill, thanks to our workshops that equip them with applicable skills.  

Advice to Students for Future Visits  

Manager of Career Services Samuel Lee co-organized the event with Second Order Effects and hopes to plan similar events in the future. For future industry visits, Lee advises students to come prepared with plenty of questions.   

“My advice would be to be prepared to ask great open-ended questions. Questions are not just an opportunity for you to receive an answer. It is an opportunity to convey to an employer your preparedness and knowledge about their company, products, and services, and how you think strategically,” said Samuel Lee.  

The three-hour industry tour showcased the practical skills our students have developed through our hands-on learning initiative. Opportunities like these ignite students’ interest in the workforce as they realize their capabilities firsthand.  

“Providing students with opportunities to learn in the exact environment and space they would be doing the work can spark excitement, inspiration, and motivation. These events also help employers and partners see the level of commitment and the curiosity students have to learn about their professions,” said Samuel Lee.  

Visit FSE’s Career Center (N110) or make an appointment with Manager of Career Services Samuel Lee to jumpstart your career search!