Industry-sponsored Graduate Fellowship


What is it?

Grand Valley is working with local West Michigan companies to sponsor graduate engineering students. Similar to a typical graduate assistantship, the Industry-sponsored Graduate Fellowship (IGF) program involves students in engineering activities in exchange for financial assistance. In the IGF program, however, the engineering activities take place at the site of a sponsoring engineering company. Graduate students and partner companies will benefit together.

How many hours would I work?

The unique opportunity of earning a graduate degree and professional experience simultaneously – You’ll perform supervised engineering assignments and applied research at a sponsoring company for 40 hours a week, in the summer, and 20 hours a week, in the fall and winter semesters while taking a full time graduate course load in these two semesters.

Where would I work?

You’ll practice technologically superior programs and processes in cutting-edge industries with prospective employers that have a vested interest in your growth and development. 

Grand Valley has partnered with respected multi-national corporations that hire qualified graduates to fill engineering positions in their U.S. and international operations.

Who can apply?

This program is open to both domestic and international applicants.

How do I apply?

Students interested in the IGF program should indicate this interest in their application essay and mention the specific IGF opportunities of interest to them, chosen from the list at "becoming a graduate assistant." 

After each application is completed and submitted, it will be reviewed by professors and representatives of the IGF sponsoring companies.

During the review, a telephone conversation with an applicant may also be arranged. Either way, an admission decision is rapidly made.

For more information, please email the Graduate Program Director at


Partner companies. In today’s global economy, companies need an increasing number of reliable science and engineering professionals with advanced degrees, who are attuned to industry needs and comfortable in international and intercultural settings. The problem has been to locate and develop those professionals effectively and efficiently.

Benefits. With the IGF program from Grand Valley State University, the problem is solved. By supporting this program at GVSU, your company receives:

  • A motivated, experienced M.S.E. student for practicums at your site for 20 hours per week during the school year and 40 hours a week during the summer, for two years—the equivalent of a two-thirds FTE.
  • The ability to develop and assess a potential future employee, conveniently, effectively, and productively at your site.
  • An articulate potential future employee who can bring skills and knowledge of your organization to your domestic and overseas operations
    • providing loyal local leadership
    • fostering  your company’s culture, processes, values
    • contributing to your company's global growth

The cost to support the IGF program at GVSU per student per year is significantly less than the annual salary of a permanent employee for the same amount of time. Factor in the additional costs of poor hires and the advantages to your organization become even more pronounced.

For more information, please email the Graduate Program Director at

Partner Company Participants

Partner Companies Participating in the IGF Program

  • Autocam Automotive
  • Grand Rapids Chair
  • Fogg Filler
  • Shape Corporation
  • And many others...

Autocam Automotive

Precision manufacturing has been Autocam's single directive since John C. Kennedy founded the company in 1988 to provide components to the automobile business. As the company evolved, Kennedy consistently drove the concept to develop solutions for Autocam customers where other manufacturers could not. That direction has won the Autocam team long-term relationships with Tier 1 suppliers and OEMs around the globe, allowing the company to expand its reach, and share its unique capabilities in all of the major markets: North America, South America, Europe and Asia. Main component areas for Autocam includes

  • Fuel Systems
  • Steering Systems
  • Electric Motors
  • Braking Systems
  • Other Transportation
  • Medical Devices

Autocam's success, however, is not born in the boardroom alone - it is on the shop floor of manufacturing facilities worldwide. Employees have a customer-driven philosophy that allows them to work towards new solutions as innovators, not as managers responsible for quotas or margins. Today Autocam is a global enterprise with 14 facilities worldwide.

Grand Rapids Chair Company

Grand Rapids Chair Company is America’s leading provider of chairs and tables for commercial environments: restaurants, hotels, hospitals, medical offices, corporations, arenas, banks, casinos, churches, cruise ships, malls, stadiums, theaters – and anywhere else hospitality is extended to guests. We make a wide range of chairs and barstools in wood, metal, and aluminum styles, plus steel-base tables with a tremendous variety of surface and edge options. Our customers are concentrated in North America, South America and the Caribbean Islands, but we serve a worldwide clientele.

"Few students have the opportunity to not only get a master’s degree, but to work on an actual project for a small manufacturing company like ours, Our graduate student will have the opportunity to not only learn and experience engineering, but many different aspects of our company like manufacturing, materials, finance, sales and marketing.”    ~ Geoff Miller, vice president of  Grand Rapids Chair Operations and Grand Valley MSE graduate

Fogg Filler

Fogg Filler is the he Premier Manufacturer of Extended Shelf Life (ESL) Equipment for High and Low Acid Applications. In serving the global marketplace, Fogg designs and manufactures filling systems as well as related equipment for specific applications.

Shape Corp.

Shape Corp. is a global leader in impact energy management systems and lightweight structural solutions for an array of industries including automotive, office furniture, health care, agriculture and more. Headquartered in Grand Haven, Mich., U.S.A., Shape Corp. is a full service supplier providing design, engineering, testing, and manufacturing for metal and plastic components in North America, Europe, and Asia. Privately-owned since 1974, Shape has more than 2,000 associates and four sister companies. An overview of Shape Corp. may be found here. Shape Corp.'s Pedestrian Protection developments are described here. Additional information about Shape's advanced operations may be found here,

Shape Corp. is proud to be a sponsoring company in Grand Valley State University’s Industry Graduate Associate (IGA) program. Connecting engineering students to practical on-the-job experience is a unique offering and has had a demonstrated success rate at Shape Corp. Many GVSU engineering graduates have excelled at Shape, turning their internships into varying positions including directors, business development leaders, and sales engineers. With the rapid growth of global business, it is imperative that Shape meets the technical resource needs of our customers at every Shape plant. Talent, practical application, and the ability to navigate complex demands are critical skills needed to be successful in today’s culturally diverse business world.”     ~ Doug Peterson, vice president of Shape Corp. human resources

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