Science, Tech, Engineering & Manufacturing

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Job shadow opportunities from Kirkwood in the fields of applied sciences, technology, engineering, and manufacturing can help you learn more about the wide variety of careers available. Put yourself on the path to achieving your goals.

Learn how to get started in careers like: mechanical, chemical, electrical, or civil engineer; architect, computer software developer, CAD drafter, diesel mechanic, and wind turbine service technician.

How to Apply for Job Shadows

  1. Review the career exploration days and individual job shadow opportunities available below and select your top two choices. Note: Your choices can be from two different industry categories.
  2. Review the application instructions.
  3. Start your application.

Career Exploration Days

Career exploration days offer a great introduction to specific career fields and allow you to explore a broad scope of careers within that industry, all in one shadow experience. Career Exploration Days are a great option for initial exploration of a specific career or industry. On average, shadows are typically two to four hours in duration.

Architecture and Engineering Day: Shive-Hattery, Cedar Rapids

This is an opportunity to explore architecture and engineering-related careers which include civil engineering, structural engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, architecture and surveying by utilizing 3D scanning. October 2021. Cap of 50.

Architecture and Interior Design Day: Martin Gardner Architecture, Marion - VIRTUAL ONLY

Do you like Art or Science?  Do you like solving problems or using technology such as virtual reality? Do you like working outdoors or making a positive impact on the community?  If so, this job shadow is for you!  Explore architecture and design careers including architect, landscape architect, digital media manager, and interior designer.

Construction Day: Woodruff Companies, Tiffin 

If you are interested in any construction area from inception of design to final construction period, including pricing, project management, resource planning, management, coordination, and scheduling then you don’t want to miss this day. You also will have the opportunity to speak with professionals about their careers and help identify career interests and outline career pathways. Fall 2021 & Spring 2022. Cap of 15 per day.

Construction Welding Day: Cedar Rapids

Test your skills at virtual welding. Learn about a variety of careers within the construction welding field. Welders are needed for sheet metal workers, iron workers, plumbers and pipefitters. Apprenticeships are tuition free and offer earn-while-you-learn training programs.

Skilled Trades Day: Cedar Rapids

If you are interested in the following careers this job shadow is for you: electrician, plumber, pipefitter, carpenter, bricklayer, and general laborer. You will also learn about building trades apprenticeships - tuition-free, earn while-you-learn training programs. October 5th or October 6th 2021.  Full day job shadow.  Cap of 20.

Engineering and Machining Careers in Advanced Manufacturing: MSI Mold Builders, Cedar Rapids

See the process of design development and production through careers in design engineering, manufacturing engineering, project management and CNC machining. Cap of 20.

Well Drilling and Pump Services Day: Gingerich Well & Pump Service, Kalona

Are you looking for a career where you can be out and about, not tied to an office? Do you like to be hands-on? Are you looking for a career where you can gain on the job training? Discover what it means to have a career as a heavy equipment mechanic, a fabricator (welder), a drilling service provider (for water wells) and a pump service provider. Observe a drill rig and a pump rig in action. Plus, learn about wells, aquifers and the importance of groundwater preservation. 

Artificial Intelligence & Data Science: University of Iowa Initiative of Artificial Intelligence - VIRTUAL ONLY

If you’re interested in artificial intelligence, data science, research, computer science, or software engineering, then this is the job shadow for you. Engage with researchers at the University of Iowa who utilize artificial intelligence and data science to solve real world problems.

Automation, Engineering, and Technology Day: Kirkwood Main Campus – Jones Hall, Cedar Rapids

Do you have an interest in robotics, engineering, mechanical design, or technology?  Are you looking for a high paying, hands-on career that requires two years or less of education?  Explore exciting careers in Automation, CNC/Advanced Manufacturing, CAD/Mechanical Engineering Technology and Energy Production & Distribution through hands-on activities. Plus, hear first hand from a panel of local employers on ways you can prepare now for future success. Cap of 30.

Biomedical Engineering: University of Iowa

If you are interested in biomedical engineering or biomechanics, this day can provide a good overview. Ask questions to a panel of current college Biomedical Engineers. Next learn more about the Magnetic Resonance Research Facility at the UI College of Medicine and then the Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation Lab to understand the Biomechanics of medical devices. Fall 2021 & Spring 2022.

Chemistry and Consumer Product Testing Day: Frontier Co-op, Norway

If you are interested in chemistry and consumer product testing, then this day is for you! Experience the life of a quality analyst at Frontier Co-op. Learn about the main testing methods used to ensure high quality spices, culinary herbs and essential oils. Gain insight into the diverse set of quality indicators, as well as regulatory requirements used at Frontier Co-op.   Fall 2021 & Spring 2022. Cap of 6 each day.

Engineering Careers in the Natural Environment - Exploring Agricultural & Environmental Engineering: ISU Extension - VIRTUAL ONLY

If you want an engineering career that emphasizes hands-on skills, fieldwork, working outdoors, and strong relationship skills, then choose this job shadow.  Our host will cover agricultural and environmental engineering as it relates to land and water resources.

Exploring Engineering Day: Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids- VIRTUAL ONLY

Explore careers in mechanical, electrical, software, and systems engineering.  This is a great job shadow whether you have a general interest in engineering or you have a specific career in mind.

Exploring Engineering Day: Medical Devices- CIVCO, Coralville- VIRTUAL ONLY

Learn about biomedical, mechanical, CAD, and manufacturing engineers from a cutting-edge medical device company as well as do some problem solving of your own. Fall 2021 Virtual & Spring 2022 Possibly In Person. Cap of 20 if in person.

Exploring IT Day: Infrastructure Technology Solutions, Monticello

Join Infrastructure Technology Solutions (ITS) for an overview of careers, facility tour, and workforce needs.  Featured roles and topics include: IT security – products and tools for monitoring and managing machines and users; CTO/CIO – Methods of performing CTO/CIO duties as a contracted partner and as an internal employee; physical securityvideo surveillance and door access control – products, technologies and integrations; network engineering and Installation, with an emphasis on network security; software engineering, APIs and the Internet of Things; computer repairs/hardware, business development roles; office manager and technical sales, performing standard business roles within a high-tech environment. Cap of 20.

Exploring IT Day:  VIRTUAL ONLY

Discover careers in information technology. Learn about a sampling of IT careers including: data infrastructure, application development, software development, AI/Robotics, and embedded systems.

Hydraulic Engineering: IIHR Hydroscience & Engineering, University of Iowa, Iowa City - VIRTUAL ONLY

Scale physical hydraulic models are reduced size replicas of full-size hydraulic structures (such as dams) that engineers use to evaluate proposed designs or guide retrofitting current structures. Join a virtual tour to view a scale physical hydraulic model running water through the structure and discuss what the model was used for on the project. Students will learn about education and careers in engineering.

Microbiologist & Lab Sciences: JMI Laboratories - VIRTUAL ONLY

If you want a career in microbiology or lab sciences - a career that emphasizes hands-on and technical science skills, then choose this job shadow.  Our host will cover microbiology and lab sciences as it relates to antimicrobial surveillance, molecular studies, drug development, clinical studies, and microbiome investigation.

STEM Careers in Energy Day: Alliant Energy, Cedar Rapids

Do you enjoy being outdoors and helping others in your community? If the answer is yes, then this day is for you! Participants will learn more about the many vital, high paying jobs in the energy and utility industry. Careers such as line mechanic, meter technician, electrical engineer, and natural gas mechanic will be discussed. Equipment and tools used in the industry will be available to give participants the opportunity to “try their hand” at performing basic line worker tasks.  March 2022. Cap of 15.

Sustainability Careers & Green Jobs: Cedar Rapids

Do you have an interest in the environment, resource conservation, or climate action?  The City of Cedar Rapids will host a panel of professionals highlighting careers that create sustainability products or services (stormwater coordinator, planner, local food coordinator).  Find out as well how careers in any field can work to reduce the environmental impact of their processes and operations (facility manager, traffic engineer, parks superintendent, fleet manager).

TV News/Weather Day: Iowa’s News Now (KGAN-TV), Cedar Rapids

Lights, camera, action! It’s not a movie, but it’s your local news. See behind the scenes of a newscast and how news stories are written, how breaking news is handled, and how weather is forecasted and presented on TV. This job shadow will teach you about the fast paced world of TV broadcasting. Anchors and meteorologists from Iowa’s News Now will show you everything you need to know about the world of live TV news.

Water Resource Careers: Iowa Flood Center, Iowa City - VIRTUAL ONLY

Discover rewarding careers that are helping to reduce flooding, improve water quality, and address the impacts of climate change on water resources in Iowa. Jobs in engineering, communications, watershed coordination and planning, and graduate student opportunities will be discussed.

Aviation Day: Iowa City Airport, Jet Air

If you are interested in piloting, aircraft mechanics, or aviation engineering, this is the career exploration opportunity for you. During this day you will learn how to get your piloting license and ratings, available careers for pilots and aircraft mechanics. You will also get an inside look at the inner workings of an airport by touring their facilities including the Operator Performance Laboratory and maintenance shop.  Fall 2021 & Spring 2022. Cap of 12 per day.

Business & IT Careers in Transportation and Logistics:  Don Hummer Trucking, Cedar Rapids

Students with an interest in information technology, marketing, human resources or operations can visit our corporate office in Cedar Rapids, IA.  Discussions with dispatchers, customer service representatives, recruiters and IT professionals would be included along with a tour of the facility.  Cap of 10.

Business & Warehouse Logistics Day: Van Meter Inc., Cedar Rapids

Do you enjoy solving problems, servicing customers, and working with fellow owners?  Explore the growing fields of supply chain and warehouse logistics while learning how Van Meter’s culture and employee-owner experience makes it a fun place to work! Join the team for a tour of the facility and meet with Operations staff to learn about a variety of careers such as traveling construction coordinator, commodities team member, driver, and more. Cap of 20.

Transportation and Logistics: Don Hummer Trucking, Homestead

Students with an interest in driving, maintenance technicians and safety can visit our Terminal in Homestead, IA.  Discussions with mechanics, shop foreman, and safety professionals would be included along with a tour of the facility as well as time to explore the inside cab of a truck and trailer. Cap of 10.

Transportation Logistics: Heartland Express, North Liberty

Heartland Express offers a session where students tour their facility, meet with Operations staff, talk to a Driver Recruiter, and visit the shop facility.  Careers covered include:  truck driver, operations/dispatch, administrative, and preventative maintenance mechanics. Cap of 10.

Individual/Small Group Job Shadow Opportunities

Individual/small group shadows allow for a deeper dive into specific careers, shadowing a professional(s) in that field. These small group shadows are perfect for those who are more confident in their career interests and have had some initial exposure to that career.

Job shadows may be individualized or include a handful of students, depending on demand. On average, shadows are typically 2 – 4 hours in duration.

Careers to Shadow

Air Traffic Controller

Control air traffic on and within the vicinity of an airport, and movement of air traffic between altitude sectors and control centers according to established procedures and policies. Authorize, regulate and control commercial airline flights according to government or company regulations to expedite and ensure flight safety.


Prepare detailed drawings, architectural designs and plans for buildings and structures in alignment with required specifications.

Automotive Body Repair

Repair and refinish automotive vehicle bodies and straighten vehicle frames.

Automotive Mechanic/Technician

Repair automobiles, trucks, buses and other vehicles. Master mechanics repair virtually any part on the vehicle or specialize in the transmission system.

Computer Aided Design (CAD)

Uses CAD equipment to provide support to engineers and architects by preparing routine layouts, detailed drawings, assembly drawings, sketches and diagrams. Details to include all views and dimensions necessary for manufacture, fabrication or construction. Makes copies of drawings and maintains information regarding changes to database. Makes simple decisions, but refers most questions/problems to engineers or supervisor. Has a solid understanding of drafting techniques and familiarity with engineering terminology.

Computer Support Specialist

Provide help and advice to computer users and organizations. Either support computer networks or provide technical assistance directly to computer users.

Computer Technician/Repair

Set up, maintain and repair computer systems. Troubleshoot hardware problems and install new equipment. Ensure that company employees have up-to-date hardware and software to complete their jobs properly. May also be responsible for helping company employees learn how to use software programs and hardware.

Construction Management

Plan, direct or coordinate the construction and maintenance of structures, facilities and systems. Participate in the conceptual development of a construction project and oversee its organization, scheduling, budgeting and implementation. Includes managers in specialized construction fields, such as carpentry or plumbing.

Diesel Mechanic/Technician

Diagnose, adjust, repair or overhaul buses and trucks, or maintain and repair any type of diesel engine. Includes mechanics working primarily with automobile or marine diesel engines.


Install, maintain and repair electrical wiring, equipment and fixtures. Ensure that work is in accordance with relevant codes. May install or service streetlights, intercom systems or electrical control systems.

Engineer - Chemical

Design chemical plant equipment and devise processes for manufacturing chemicals and products, such as gasoline, synthetic rubber, plastics, detergents, cement, paper and pulp by applying principles and technology of chemistry, physics and engineering.

Engineer - Civil

Perform engineering duties in planning, designing and overseeing construction and maintenance of building structures and facilities such as roads, railroads, airports, bridges, harbors, channels, dams, irrigation projects, pipelines, power plants and water and sewage systems.

Engineer - Electrical

Research, design, develop, test or supervise the manufacturing and installation of electrical equipment, components or systems for commercial, industrial, military or scientific use.

Engineer - Environmental

Research, design, plan or perform engineering duties in the prevention, control and remediation of environmental hazards using various engineering disciplines. Work may include waste treatment, site remediation or pollution control technology.

Engineer - Manufacturing

Develop tools, implement designs or integrate machinery, equipment or computer technologies to ensure effective manufacturing processes.

Engineer - Mechanical

The branch of engineering dealing with the design, construction, and use of machines.

Equipment Operator

Dig, lift, carry, smooth, level and pave using specialized equipment. Construction equipment operators run excavators, drive dump trucks, steer graders, direct asphalt pavers and roll rollers to build and repair roads, buildings, and other structures.

Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration

Install, service or repair heating and air conditioning systems in residences or commercial establishments.

Industrial Maintenance

Lubricate machinery, change parts or perform other routine machinery maintenance.

Industrial Pipefitter

Lay out, assemble, install, or maintain pipe systems, pipe supports, or related hydraulic or pneumatic equipment for steam, hot water, heating, cooling, lubricating, sprinkling, or industrial production or processing systems.

Interior Designer

Plan, design and furnish interiors of residential, commercial or industrial buildings. Formulate a design which is practical, aesthetic and conducive to intended purposes such as raising productivity, selling merchandise or improving lifestyle. May specialize in a particular field, style or phase of interior design.


Investigate atmospheric phenomena and interpret meteorological data gathered by surface and air stations, satellites and radar to prepare reports and forecasts for public and other uses. Includes weather analysts and forecasters whose functions require the detailed knowledge of meteorology.

Pilot (small/private)

Pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-wing, multi-engine aircraft, usually on scheduled air carrier routes, for the transport of passengers and cargo. Requires Federal Air Transport Pilot certificate and rating for specific aircraft type used. Includes regional, national and international airline pilots and flight instructors of airline pilots.


Assemble, install or repair pipes, fittings or fixtures of heating, water or drainage systems according to specifications or plumbing codes.

Software Developer

Software developers create the computer applications that allow users to do specific tasks and the underlying systems that run the devices or control networks. Software developers don’t just write code, they also have an understanding of the broad scope of the project or product. Developers think through all aspects of functionality, end-user engagement and security.

Truck Driver

Drive a tractor-trailer combination or a truck with a capacity of at least 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW). May be required to unload truck. Requires commercial driver’s license.


Use hand-welding or flame-cutting equipment to weld or join metal components, or to fill holes, indentations or seams of fabricated metal products.

Wind Energy Technician

Inspect, diagnose, adjust or repair wind turbines. Perform maintenance on wind turbine equipment including resolving electrical, mechanical and hydraulic malfunctions.