Industry Leaders Help Students with Launching their Careers during a Pandemic


Today’s students are graduating into an uncertain economic environment. The Technology Project Management program’s Industry Advisory Board recently conducted its first student engagement session on this topic with graduate students from the project management and supply chain and logistics programs. 

The online event was entitled, “How to Launch Your Career During A Pandemic.”  Keynote speakers included two board members, Kayoor Gajarawala, VP of IT Engineering at Royal Dutch Shell, and Angela McSpadden, Director of PMO for Methodist Health Systems. The rest of the program’s board members represented their industries on a panel, answering questions from students.  The evening was a solid success based on the feedback from students and board members. 

The Technology Project Management program created a new Industry Advisory Board this year to help guide their programs and ensure that students were being taught up-to-date skills for the workplace. The Board includes 7 industry members,who hold high-level positions at various companies in Houston.

The Board Chair, Christy Dillard, emphasized the Board’s goal of student engagement despite current restrictions on in-person events.

“It was great to finally get to engage with the students.  COVID restrictions had cancelled our previously planned in-person engagements.  The virtual engagement worked very well and earlier in the day a few of the board members had one to one mentoring sessions with some of the students.  It was a really great day!”

In addition to the industry members, TEPM’s IAB includes a student representative, Nadia Tran, a second-year graduate student in Technology Project Management, and a faculty representative, Dr. Lila Carden, both of whom assisted with making the student engagement event a success.

The Technology Project Management Program Coordinator, Dr. Ron Hopkins, is eager to continue the program’s Industry Advisory Board engagement with students.

“First let me say how proud I am of the TEPM IAB for being proactive in wanting to engage our current students.  We have already decided to have another student engagement in February 2021, and it is currently being planned with a topic that will be relative at that time.  The board members are also eager to get engaged with the COT career fairs.  In addition, we are also planning some engagements to help get potential students interested in applying to the program. I am delighted we have so many senior leaders from the companies and industries who desire to not just be an advisory board, but also an action board!”