About Us

The Center for Engineering Career Development is an independent career services office, under the direction of the Office of the Dean of Engineering . Our mission, as part of the Dean's Office, is to directly serve the engineering students through professional advising and counseling. We assist them in understanding the job search and career self-management processes in order to prepare them to make career changes and decisions throughout their professional careers.

The role of the Center for Engineering Career Development is to serve the engineering student population through professional advising and counseling. We assist students in identifying their strengths and interests to help them gain confidence and competence as they plan for their future. The services we provide are available to engineering students at all academic levels and relate to career self-management processes in order to prepare students to make sound and ethical career decisions throughout their professional careers.

Engineering Career Development provides comprehensive career development services for all engineering students from first year through graduate level, including engineering alumni. We begin encouraging students to prepare for their professional career in their first year. We strongly believe that all graduates should have a strategy in place to ensure that they will have either a career-related internship prior to graduation.

The myth among students is that a career office is strictly focused on assisting graduating students with the full-time job search process. Although this is one of our services, we are truly invested in the development of the whole student, regardless of academic level, regardless of their aspirations after college. Our services are designed to help students learn more about themselves and to assist them in making decisions about their plans for the future. We recongize this can be a complex and confusing process for students on top of the demands from a rigourous academic curriculum.

Our Staff






Julia Lapan, Director, Engineering Career Development
Julia Lapan has more than twelve years of higher education experience in career services, employer relations, and alumni development.  After earning a master’s degree in Counselor Education/Student Affairs from the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, she served as a career advisor at Loyola College in Maryland and Johns Hopkins University.  Her work with alumni and corporate partners led her into major gift fundraising for Hopkins Engineering, where she spent three years building relationships for the school. In her role as Director for Engineering Career Development at UVA, Ms. Lapan and her team provide students with the knowledge and resources to find meaningful work through internships and full-time jobs.  She also collaborates with employers and corporate partners to facilitate connections with students and faculty.  Ms. Lapan has lived in Silicon Valley and has worked with engineering professionals and leaders in internet technology, computer software, biotechnology, and other fields.  In addition to her master’s in counseling, she also holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.





Frances McBride, Associate Director, GCDF
Experienced, energetic career development professional with 20+ years of experience in student development and effectiveness in working with a variety of constituents including: students, faculty, administrators, parents, and employers.  Frances provides advising and coaching to SEAS undergraduate and graduate students and alumni in all aspects of career planning including self-assessment, goal setting, personal branding, and interview preparation. Frances implements innovative career education programs in response to student needs in relation to professional preparedness.

Specialties include: Career and professional development advising, Resume and cover letter reviews, Job and internship search strategy, Successful interview preparation, Professional social networking, Self-assessment and exploring career options.  Certified to interpret the Strong Interest Inventory and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator





Peggy J. Reed, Employer Relations Manager
Peggy has been with the Engineering School for 17 years, as Undergraduate Coordinator for the Computer Science Department before joining the Career Services office. She has organized many events and conferences both at the University and at other venues. Her position as Employer Relations Manager provides a unique perspective as a liaison between the employer and potential employee.





Heather Rudd Palmer, Assistant Director
Heather is a UVA alumna and has worked for the University all but three years since graduating. Her career services experience includes working at Virginia Tech's Career Services office, UVA's University Career Services, and now CECD. She has also worked on projects with Commerce Career Services and University HR. Heather meets with all Engineering students at any stage of career development and especially loves helping with LinkedIn, interviewing prep, and international experience questions. She has an MA in Higher Education and Student Affairs, and once took a career break to live, work, and travel in Australia for a year.





Roberta (Bobbe) Nixon, Director for Internships & Corporate Outreach for Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Nanomedicine
(434) 243-6285    bobbe@virginia.edu
Bobbe works with undergraduate and graduate students in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Nanomedicine.  She advises students, works to develop career plans with them, and works as an employer relations manager to create new opportunities for the school, especially in BME, CHE and Nano.  Bobbe coordinates the BME Networking Night event and other career development events/conferences dealing with a broader outreach to other universities.

Department Contact Information:
Telephone: 434-924-3050
Fax: 434-924-7913
Email: engineeringcareers@virginia.edu