Knoxville native Sami Hijer graduated as an industrial engineer in May 2017 and recently started working for Smithfield Foods in North Carolina.
“I am very proud and thankful for this opportunity, and for the people and experiences that have led me to this,” said Hijer. “I have found that the first step towards achieving your goal is an unshakable sense of drive and purpose. You must decide what you truly hope to achieve in a career, why you want to achieve it and do everything morally possible to accomplish your goal.”
To help achieve his goals, Hijer built a focused resume filled with great experiences. He credits the Center for Career Development with indispensable assistance in accomplishing this.
“I performed at, or near, the top of my class and put my best foot forward on every task, regardless of the impact on my grade,” he said. This gave me the chance to achieve letters of recommendation. I also attended every career fair that was available, and this allowed me to sharpen my skills in communication, as well allowing me to network.”
At the Spring Diversity Job Fair, Hijer met a recruiter from Smithfield. A series of interviews followed, and he was offered the opportunity to work there as an industrial engineer.
Q&A with Sami Hijer:
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Knoxville, and I attended Powell High School from 2009-2012
Why did you choose industrial engineering?
I chose industrial engineering because I wanted a career that was centered around using my skills in math, science, and business to improve the lives of the people I work with as well as the customers of the company I work for. Industrial engineering has allowed me to do this, and I could not ask for a more impactful and rewarding discipline.
What is one thing you are looking forward to most about living in North Carolina?
I have wanted to live in North Carolina since I first visited it as a child, and I look forward to the chance to build a life with my soon-to-be wife. It will afford us a chance to grow closer, without being able to rely on our family.
What is the one thing you are going to miss most about Knoxville?
I will miss my family and friends most of all.
What has been the most meaningful experience you have had while at UT?
My most meaningful experience at UT has been having the opportunity to work with local manufacturing companies to improve their competitiveness and the well being of their employees.
Did you participate in an internship? If yes, where and what year of school? What did you learn from it?
I did not participate in any internship, due to other obligations, but I was able to supplement this with excellent project experience and certifications. That being said, I would strongly urge future students to gain internship experience as it will make finding a job that much easier.