Friday, October 3, 2014

Career Fair Tips

As I typed this, I was wearing a suit for my interview later. Over the past year, I have interviewed with a few companies that I met at Pre-Gallery, Career Gallery, and Engineering Expo.

Here a some of the tips that I learned during my time at Michigan State:
  • Try to get as much interaction with companies that interest you as much as possible. This year when I spoke to the representative from Dow Chemical, he said that he remembered me from last year. Many of the same recruiters return every year and save old resumes. Also attend engineering student organization meetings, info sessions, resume critiques, mock interviews, and/or any other events that companies are hosting.
  • You are not too young to attend any of the career fairs. I have gone to all of the career fairs since my freshman year. The first time I went to an event, I only talked to a couple people and felt pretty overwhelmed. Now I am much more comfortable attending these events, especially as I am looking for an opportunity this summer. Also, a lot of companies hand out some really cool free stuff, including full-sized products.
  • Go to the career events even if you are not looking for an opportunity within the next year. I have some friends that already have internships or other opportunities lined up for this summer, but went to career fairs to network with companies and inquire about future opportunities. Just make sure that you are professional, clear with recruiters that you are not available, and do not accept an interview for a job that you never intend to accept.
  • Visit the booths for smaller companies and/or with smaller lines. While I was waiting in a long line for a large company last year, I talked with some representatives at a small booth. I probably would not have stopped there, but I actually heard back from them and got an interview.
  • Use the career resources available to you, such as The Center. The Career Services Network at Michigan State offers a lot of great resources to help you with careers. Their website has a lot of helpful articles about resumes, interviews, professional attire, cover letters, etc. The Center is a branch of career services that focuses on engineering located within the Engineering Building right by Sparty's. It is a really convenient place to visit, just try to do so BEFORE the week of Career Gallery because they are very busy.
Like always, these are my own personal opinions and not the official opinions of Michigan State University and its affiliates.

I was looking at my older blog post from a year ago, and a lot of the advice I would give students now and a year ago is the same. Even as I get older, I still find all of these tips just as important, if not more important.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Upcoming Career Events

The weather has been absolutely beautiful this week, which is good timing for Homecoming this weekend and all of the career events that are happening this upcoming week. In between class, I just walked around campus and picked up an iced chai tea latte at the Starbucks in the Business College. The weather will not stay like this forever, which is why I had to seize the opportunity to enjoy campus.

Next week is Career Gallery, the largest career fair of the year at MSU. Over 300 employers will be looking to hire interns, co-ops, and full-time over the course of two days at the Breslin Center. There is also an event just for engineering internships and co-ops called Pre-Gallery. It takes place in the Engineering Building courtyard and is a good warm-up for the Career Gallery the following day. I have mentioned these events in some of my previous blog posts.

This week, there have been a lot of smaller events leading up to the Career Gallery and Pre-gallery. Companies have been hanging out in the Engineering Building lobby, talking to students, critiquing resumes, giving info sessions, and participating in mock interviews. Various engineering organizations have also been hosting different companies at their meetings to talk about career opportunities.

A few of my classes have really put an emphasis on careers and relating what we learn to industry. In my fluid flow class, two MSU chemical engineering alumni from Dow Corning came in to talk about their careers and how to read P&ID diagrams. In my Chemical Engineering as a Profession class, we had engineers from Marathon, Dow Corning, and General Mills come in to talk about safety in a refinery, professional behavior with potential employers, and different engineering jobs within a plant, respectively. Later in the semester, we are also going to have an etiquette lunch where we learn how to properly act during a professional meal. I know that in the future I will have more industry interaction in class because many senior design projects are real projects from MSU's corporate partners.

I would really encourage students of all ages to attend as many career events as they can. A lot of the same representatives come back to recruit at MSU year after year. I have recognized quite a few recruiters, so chances are some of them may recognize me if I made an impression. When I go to presentations at student engineering organizations, I even recognize some of the speakers as students who have recently graduated. I remember attending meetings with some of these people, and now they are the ones who are talking about their new company. I feel much more comfortable and confident when I speak with representatives I already know.


Also, I have redesigned my blog! I went on a lot of cool trips through MSU, so I decided to use pictures I have taken while in college as the background. Every time I post a new blog entry, I will change the picture to encourage all of you to regularly look at my blog. I also will post a caption at the side that will explain the picture.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Getting involved

One advantage of Michigan State being such a large university is that there are a lot of organizations that students can join. Sparticipation is a huge Welcome Week event where students learn about different student organizations by visiting their tables. Normally the rain location is the Breslin Center, but storms were so bad this year that the event was rescheduled for this weekend. The following link has information on Sparticipation 2014 and getting involved at MSU:

http://studentlife.msu.edu/?s=sparticipation

Some of the groups on campus are professional and social Greek organizations. I am an active sister of Phi Sigma Rho Sorority, a national social sorority that is different from other sororities because it is only open to women majoring in engineering. Our chapter was officially installed in December 2012, so we are still very new on the MSU campus.

Last night was our 2nd Rush event for Phi Sigma Rho. We have four nights of recruitment each semester where girls interested in our sorority can come get to know us and what we are all about. Our activity for the night was painting small boxes, and on Monday we did icebreaker activities and painted nails.

All the supplies for our painting boxes, the craft Rush event, for Phi Sigma Rho this semester
I love being involved with Phi Sigma Rho because I continually make new friends, see friendly faces in the Engineering Building, and have a place to go where I can relax and enjoy the bonds of sisterhood with girls who understand what I am going through as an engineering student. We have done a lot of fun sisterhood events together, including pumpkin painting, ice skating, laser tag, and visiting the planetarium.

I personally recommend that students of all ages get involved at MSU. Two things that I did not know about Greek life before I came to college are that all ages, not just freshmen, can join and some groups recruit at the beginning of the spring semester as well as the fall. Other student groups welcome new members of all ages at any time. So, you did not miss your chance to get involved with Greek life or many other groups. It is never too late to get involved!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Summer 2014: International Corporate Tour

As I talk to fellow students about their summers, many of them said that they regretted not going abroad. I have already studied abroad and absolutely loved it! If you are not interested in taking classes abroad, MSU has other international opportunities that are not for academic credit.

The main highlight of my summer was traveling across Europe on the International Corporate Tour (ICT). The ICT is put on by the Lear Corporation Career Services Center, which is located in the Eppley Center attached to the Business College Complex. The goal of the trips is for freshman and sophomores in business and engineering to be exposed to different places and types of careers in industry. In addition to the ICT Europe trip, there is also an ICT China trip.

We started off the trip by spending a few days in London. We stayed at the beautiful Regent's University in Regent's Park. Some other MSU study abroad programs are housed at Regent's, so we ran into some other MSU students just finishing a study abroad in London.

Regent's University, our accommodations in London
Next, we flew to Germany and spent about 2 days in the Cologne area. Some participants brought an MSU flag for pictures which attracted some alumni. In front of the famous Cologne Cathedral, we ran into some girls who had just graduated from MSU who were traveling around Europe. Go Green!

Cologne Cathedral, Cologne, Germany
We stopped in Luxembourg next for about 3 days. I thought that Luxembourg city was very beautiful and different from any place I had ever been.

Luxembourg City
National Bank Museum, Luxembourg City

From Luxembourg City, we spent an entire day driving to Geneva, Switzerland. So, if you are not a fan of long bus rides, another one of MSU's learning abroad experiences might be better for you.

Geneva, Switzerland, with the Jet d'Eau and Lake Geneva
Next we traveled to Turin, Italy, and visited Diageo while we were there. The site was a historic winery, so we got to see a mini museum of glasses, a hand-dug wine cellar, and old spices and distillation apparatuses that were historically used to make beverages. This was one of my favorite site visits because I learned about the history of the site and region in addition to touring their modern bottling facilities.

Taking a tour of the Diageo facilities
I liked that I was able to see companies from a business perspective as well as the engineering perspective. When company representatives come to speak at meetings put on by engineering student groups, they tend to focus on engineering roles within their company. Seeing the different types of people needed to run all areas of the company helped me appreciated the diversity in the workplace and engineering career paths.

We finished our European tour in Venice, Italy. We visited 7 companies (BP, GM, Eaton, ArcelorMittal, Diageo, Bosch, and ALCOA) on our trip, but still had a lot of free time to explore the cities. We visited 5 countries (UK, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Italy) and also drove through France. Our program was just over 2 weeks long, so we visited a lot of companies and countries in a short amount of time. I thought that going on this trip was a fun way to build my resume and learn about careers.

If you want more information on the International Corporate Tours, visit http://lear.broad.msu.edu/students/international-corporate-tours/

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Summer Programs

As an engineering student, I put a lot of thought into how I spend my summers. Summer is an awesome opportunity to take extra classes, learn about companies, gain work experience in industry or research, travel, and experience other cultures. This summer, I am going on the International Corporate Tour of Europe, and last summer I studied Music, Art, and Language in Bregenz, Austria. The summer of 2012, after my senior year of high school, I participated in Beacon, one of the summer programs offered by MSU College of Engineering's Office for Recruitment and K12 Outreach. There are programs for people of all ages, and if you are interested in more information about them, please follow the link below:

http://www.egr.msu.edu/future-engineer/programs

Beacon is a residential program at the Kellogg Biological Station that is funded by the NSF and focuses on biology, evolution, and engineering. This program is by invitation only, but there are other great programs that are open to all eligible students, such as the High School Engineering Institute (HSEI). Some of the people that I met at Beacon had participated in HSEI before and had so much fun that they wanted to participate in another engineering summer program.

During the summer program, I spent a couple days learning about engineering and science in a classroom and out in the field. This program reminded me of a mix between summer classes without the homework and summer camp. In our free time, we played card games, hung out by the lake, played sports, and had a bonfire. I still am friends with some of the people from my summer program, and I see some other participants around campus sometimes because a lot of us ended up attending MSU for engineering. I thought that participating in a summer program was a fun way to meet other people interested in engineering and learn more about engineering before actually starting college.

Looking through a microscope at D. melanogaster larvae, July 2012
Measuring the sizes of damselflies in a population, July 2012
There are some more awesome pictures like these from our summer programs posted on our Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/msuengineeringk12/sets/

Among my other friends studying engineering, the most popular ways they are spending their summers are studying abroad, working at internships or other jobs, and taking classes. If you are wondering what to to this summer that will prepare you for studying, here are some tips:
  • Attend a MSU engineering summer program! Learn about engineering and make new friends
  • Take some time to prepare for college. 
    • Sophomores and juniors (as of fall 2014): study for the ACT or other standardized tests and take practice tests. I spent a couple hours of my summer studying for the ACT because good scores can help you get into college and get scholarships.
    • Seniors (as of fall 2014): work on college applications. Some become available at the end of the summer and you are NOT going to want to work on them once the school year starts. Trust me on that one... 
  •  Maybe earn some extra money by working a summer job
  • Taking summer classes is also an option. At transfer.msu.edu you can see what classes transfer from a community college to MSU. I took a psychology class at home the summer before my senior year at Washtenaw Community College that was able to transfer here.
  • Have fun! Enjoy the weather while it is nice. 
I hope that everyone has a great summer, I know I will! It is the last week of class and next week I have my final exams, so summer break begins next week for me. I am also looking forward to starting a great junior year in the fall. We just had our E-board elections for AIChE, and I am going to be the Vice President next year. Well, I better start studying for my exams...
 All opinions expressed in this blog are my own personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Michigan State University

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

UURAF

One of the many activities undergraduate students can participate in here at MSU is undergraduate research. I have worked in a research lab in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science since the beginning of my freshman year. The Honors College pays me a stipend to do research for my first 2 years at MSU as a part of their Professorial Assistantship (PA) program. The following link has more information about the PA program: http://honorscollege.msu.edu/professorial-assistantship-pa-program Even though the PA program was how I got involved with research, there are other ways to get involved with research.

Friday, April 4th was the annual University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum, called UURAF for short. The event was held at the MSU Union and about 660 undergraduate students participated. This is an opportunity for undergraduate students to present their research as posters in a morning or afternoon poster session or to give oral presentations. All of the posters and oral presentations are divided into sections within their categories for judging. There are graduate student evaluators who give feedback and faculty judges who score the presentations to determine the first place winners in each section. Other faculty members, students, and family members also attend and ask questions about the posters.

One of the other undergraduate students I work with and I made a poster of our research and presented it during the afternoon poster session. Neither of us had ever participated in an event like UURAF before, so we thought it would be a good chance to gain more experience explaining our research to other people. Talking about our poster was not as bad as we thought it would be, especially as we got more comfortable as the 2-hour session progressed.

Standing next to my UURAF 2014 research poster
After all of the events of the day, there was an awards ceremony. At this ceremony, the winners of some study abroad scholarships, the Faculty Mentor of the Year award, and first place awards in each section of UURAF were announced. My poster won first place in its section within the Engineering, Computer Science, & Mathematics category! The winners each get $100 and are eligible to submit their work for the UURAF Grand Prize, which is $500 and will be announced in early June. Even when working with a group, each member of a winning project earns the $100 prize money (up to $400 would be awarded to a group of 4 people or more). So, my poster partner and I did not have to split our prize money, we each won $100! When we decided to do this event, money and awards never crossed our minds, but it is definitely a nice bonus! We wanted to have the experience of making a research poster and presenting it a poster session, and I now feel more comfortable talking about my research, so we accomplished what we set out to do.

There were so many interesting posters that I wish I could have gotten the chance to look at them, but I had to stay with my poster the entire poster session. I had a quiz and an exam in the morning, so I was unable to attend the morning session and stay for the entire day. I am really glad that I participated in this event, and I would be interested in participating again in the future.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Relay for Life

It is the last month of school, and it finally feels like spring outside. I just signed up for my junior classes, and most other people will be signing up for their classes soon. Signing up for classes early is one perk of being an Honors College member. Today I have my chemical engineering thermodynamics exam, and the month will end with me taking my final exams.

Last Friday was Relay for Life at MSU. Relay for Life is an event held in a lot of communities around the country where teams raise money for the American Cancer Society and have members walk around a track through the night. This year it was held at the Breslin Center, and last year it was at Jenison Field House. Thank goodness the event have been held inside the past two year, because you never know how the weather is going to be this time of year. Even though the weather was nice this year, the campus was flooded AND it was snowing last year!  During the event, there were performances by various a cappella groups and dance clubs. Each team had a stand along the track where they sold a variety of things to donate the money to cancer research.


There were a lot of student groups in attendance, including a team of Spartan engineers, which was open to anyone in engineering. The event was especially large because Relay was a part of Greek Week this year. There are a lot of professional and social Greek organizations on campus. Just because you are studying engineering does not mean that you cannot be involved in Greek Life. I know lots of engineering students that are members of many different social sororities and fraternities, including me! I am an active member of Phi Sigma Rho, a social sorority for engineering majors. I really like having a large support group that understands what I am going through as a girl in engineering. We also do a lot of fun events, like spring formal, which helps me take the time to enjoy myself in addition to my school work.

With events like Relay for Life, members of all types of student organizations can come together and support a good cause.