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Aleah Pannell stands with WIU Engineering Professor Blair McDonald after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering.
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Faculty Networking Helps Land Student Dream Job

January 5, 2023

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL - - Western Illinois University alumna Aleah Pannell has taken on new heights since her time at WIU.

After finishing her education and transferring from Springfield Technical Community College, Pannell graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in May 2021.

While at WIU, Pannell completed an internship with Hutchinson Engineering and didn't look back. Hutchinson offered her a full-time position before graduating.

"Aleah has been an amazing asset to Hutchinson," said Quad Cities Director of Operations for Hutchinson Engineering JD Schulte. "She was well prepared for the work she has taken on, especially in auto-computer-aided design, and we couldn't pass up offering her to stay on with us full time."

Pannell attributes a lot of her success to her college experience, and one professor in particular who helped her network in her field.

"Professor McDonald connected me with Hutchinson," said Pannell. "I was able to network widely, attend career fairs and participate in online interviews through his direction."

McDonald credits Pannell for her great work ethic and positive attitude.

"Aleah transferred to WIU and was very well prepared for program-specific coursework," said Engineering Professor Blair McDonald. "She has a great work ethic and gets along with everyone. Before transferring to WIU, Aleah worked and developed good computer-aided design skills. Ultimately, when combined with her education, her skills and ability to solve problems made her a perfect fit for the job at Hutchinson."

Pannell plans to continue to remind potential students of the small campus life and how influential it can be for your education.

"WIU is affordable and effective," said Pannell. "Try to be as involved on campus as possible. WIU-QC is small, but there are many opportunities to connect."

For more information on WIU's Engineering programs, visit

Posted By: Lexi Yoggerst (
Office of University Communications & Marketing