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President Randall Begins Statewide Tour of Northern Utah

Takara Petersen knew from an early age that she wanted to work at Northrop Grumman.

President Randall and Takara Petersen.

At the age of 8, she grew up in Syracuse, Utah, and first followed her mother, an engineer, to watch missile test launches in California from a control room in the Hill Air Force Base. She was addicted. The problem was how to choose a degree.

The University of Utah materials science program provided a career path. After earning her associate degree from Weber State University, she transferred to U in 2019, quickly joining the Society of Women Engineers, becoming an ambassador for the College of Engineering, and most importantly, enrolling in a internship and later part-time. work at Northrop Grumman.

“There are so many opportunities at the U,” Petersen said. “It offers more experience and growth and a much larger community.”

A week ago, the Class of 2022 graduate began full-time work at Northrop Grumman, designing corrosion solutions for the defense contractor that avoid using the carcinogens hexavalent chromium and cadmium. Petersen is one of 900 U alumni with 1,200 degrees among Northrop Grumman’s 8,000 employees in Utah. She is also a prime example of the impact the university has on the state around it, says President Taylor Randall.

“We have a lot of scope, but a huge responsibility at the same time. The state invests a lot in us, and that comes with an obligation. Utah State University has the same responsibility,” Randall told a group of Cache County leaders gathered for breakfast at Herm’s Inn in Logan. “We are here to listen and understand how we need to change the way we deliver higher education to the state.”

On the first leg of his statewide tour of Utah, Randall and a group of U leaders traveled through northern Utah from Logan to Farmington and back to Ogden : meeting with elected leaders of Cache County and the Utah Legislature; internships and recruiting with business executives from aircraft battery maker Electric Power Systems and carbon fiber bicycle component maker ENVE Composites; organize a discussion on the future of the Great Salt Lake; and ending with an alumni dinner in the downstairs lounge of the Union Grill on Ogden’s 24e Street.

“This visit is a great idea,” said Logan City Council member Amy Anderson. “Generally, even at Utah State University, there’s the perception of ‘university on the hill’ not coming down the hill as often as it should. So the fact that you’ve come this far, we appreciate that.

The tour comes as Randall completes his first year at the helm of Utah’s flagship higher education institution. Other stops on the tour later this summer will include southern Utah and St. George; Utah County; Tooele County; and the towns of Moab, Price and Vernal in eastern Utah. Throughout the tour, the president will highlight U’s partnerships and collaborations with other state colleges and universities in an effort to redefine and give back to the university’s unique role in Utah. At the same time, Randall is focused on the overarching goal of making the university a top-10 ranked public university, or a university with similar community impact.

“A lot of universities come into the top 10 by being exclusive. We’re not going to do that,” he told alumni gathered in Ogden, paraphrasing football coach Kyle Whittingham. to be the university that coaches. We will raise our students and their families. If we can do that, we will change society.

These founding principles are summarized in the six commitments signed by the Chairman and the Board of Directors.

The numbers tell the story of the university’s statewide impact:

  • Students come to the U from two-thirds of northern Utah ZIP codes, including 2,016 students from Davis County, 606 from Weber County and 267 from Cache County
  • U of U Health patients live in 96% of these ZIP codes – nearly 64,000 in Davis County, another 20,500 in Weber County and 5,600 in Cache County
  • The U manages 550 buildings totaling 15.4 million square feet of space in 14 counties and 33 cities across Utah
  • U awards more than half of higher degrees awarded to Utah graduates
  • The university is the largest employer in the state with 39,300 direct jobs and directly and indirectly supports another 831,000 jobs.
  • The university trains 2/3 of Utah’s doctors

ENVE Composites bike frame.

In addition to these contributions to the state, the president pledged to disperse college administrative jobs throughout Utah, especially in rural communities. At the same time, he asks business leaders to work with strengthened career and professional services operations at the U that will help interns and graduates find jobs across the state.

At Northrop Grumman last week, U graduate and COO Justin McMurray said his company was ready to capitalize on the relationship. Already, Northrop Grumman has awarded 19 grants this year totaling $90,000 for on-campus offices and has offered another round of grants worth up to $500,000 to colleges and university departments. About two dozen U students are currently working as summer interns at the company. And Northrop Grumman currently has nearly 1,000 job openings.

“There’s a huge opportunity to attract more people from the University of Utah,” said McMurray, an engineering graduate who started as an intern with the company 20 years ago. “It’s not just one summer. It’s a career.

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