by Miss Nicole Crevar, SRU Junior Communication Major
My name is Nicole Crevar, and I’m a Junior Communication Major here at Slippery Rock University, with a minor in both Spanish and Literature. But what makes me a step above the average student is my current internship in Washington, D.C. That’s right, I am living in the heart of our country, while interning for the NAFTA Desk and Trade Office at the Embassy of Mexico. Talk about an experience! And this whole wonderful situation would have never happened if I hadn’t stopped into the Career Education and Development Office in Bailey Library.
It all stated last fall when I contacted the Career Office because I had no idea what to do with my life–which is typical. This led to career counselor, John Rindy encouraging me to look into an internship with The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars. So I took his advice, and got in touch with the Political Science Department, who oversees the application process. The process was quite simple, fill out some forms, write a short essay, finalize my resume, etc. I did run into some problems, mainly with my Major department and The Financial Aid Office, but I knew that the experience would be well worth the cost. In the end, everything got worked out and I was accepted to TWC’s program with little idea of just how remarkable this experience would be.
Arriving to Washington D.C. was like repeating freshmen year all over again–except ten times better. TWC provides housing for all interns, with four of us to an apartment. And when I say an apartment, I mean that it includes all amenities–fully stocked kitchen, a washer and dryer, and a TV/couch. What’s not to like? On top of that, I absolutely love my roommates! They are all so very unique and every single day is a new learning experience. I share a room with Fabi, a Venezuelan beauty from Florida. Meanwhile, across the living room my other roommates are Grace, from China, and Taylor, from Canada. However, the diversity of interns goes far and beyond my apartment, especially considering that a different language is spoken around every corner of our apartment building.
As for my internship, my daily tasks keep me busy as ever. I’m constantly using my Spanish skills by translating texts or answering consultants’ questions. I also do copious amounts of research, which I then write reports about and enter the data into Excel datasheets. This job truly is a glimpse at “the adult world.” I work roughly 32 hours a week, with three other interns who I completely and totally adore.
Besides my internship, I have a Monday night class about Journalism ethics portrayed in the movies. I also have programing events, which includes a Capitol Building Tour, a meeting with the State Department, and a Career Boot Camp! To say the least, I’m getting the full D.C. experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
So what are my recommendations to you? For one, GO to The Career Education and Development Office on campus! They are insanely helpful and, believe it or not, they are the best resource of information about what you could do to prepare yourself for a future career. Secondly, I strongly encourage everyone to look into academic internships, just like TWC in Washington D.C. This is the type of experience that will put you above other applicants when applying for jobs. If there’s one main thing that I’ve learned this semester, it’s that NETWORKING is the key to landing a job! And D.C. is the perfect place to do just that. So get out of the SRU bubble and take a side step to further your career. You never who/what you’ll find (especially about yourself) when getting out of your comfort zone.
Article by Grace Evans, SRU Senior
My name is Grace Evans, a Slippery Rock University Senior and what I like to say, a “Career Education and Development Success Story”.
Throughout my nearly four years at SRU, I’ve frequented the CED office for assistance with resumes, mock interviews, and general guidance in answering… “What am I doing with my life?” The skills I learned regarding networking and interacting professionally have led me to a few experiences of a lifetime – check it out:
This past summer, I applied to intern at Amizade Global Service-Learning, a globally-minded nonprofit organization based in Pittsburgh, PA that aims to empower individuals and communities through worldwide service and learning. Typically they only select graduate students as interns, however I knew that I’d never have a chance to intern there if I didn’t at least try! And my efforts paid off. I was selected as the Outreach Intern, working in their downtown Pittsburgh office with the three other interns and four employees. Each day, I was excited to work in a dynamic atmosphere that may have me writing a letter to site directors in Bolivia or Poland, where I may overhear a Skype call in Portuguese or Spanish, or where I may be speaking with students and volunteers from all around the country to discuss their upcoming travels.
The organization has partnerships with 13 communities in 11 countries worldwide, where they work to create lasting friendships with community leaders and residents through cultural and economic exchange. Amizade facilitates volunteer programs for college groups, high school students, churches, working adults, retirees, and everything in between. These volunteers travel year-round, participating in group and individual programs ranging from one week to six months.
While each day I was surprised by the variety of happenings in the office, nothing surprised me more than my first week on the job. During an orientation, Executive Director Brandon Blache-Cohen asked if any of the new interns were interested in traveling to Petersfield, Jamaica to serve as an ambassador for the organization. In celebration of fifty years of independence, Governor General of Jamaica Sir Linton Allen was visiting notable communities in rural Jamaica, and Petersfield had been chosen as one of his stops. Although the departure date was one week from that day, I accepted the incredible opportunity without question.
My stay in Petersfield quickly became an experience that would define the next eight months of my life. Throughout the rest of the summer, I worked on projects that gave me the opportunity to exercise my creativity and think outside the box. I wrote blogs, outreach communications, and letters to site directors, while creating the Amizade Fair Trade Fellows Program. Simultaneously, I was laying the ground work for a Slippery Rock University Care Break program where students could visit Petersfield, Jamaica and engage in community-driven service just as I did.
Prior to my internship, I had traveled with the SRU Care Break program to different areas in the US to do service work for a week. I wanted to take this experience to an international site. In working with the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership and the Office of International Affairs, we recruited forty Slippery Rock University students and two advisors, Dr. Bruce Orvis, Professor in the School of Business, and Charlie Judge, Assistant Director of the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, to travel to Jamaica in January of 2013. Throughout the fall semester, we met as a group bi-monthly to discuss fundraising, cultural immersion, and to get to know each other. The students would travel in two different groups, twenty students and an advisor in each plus myself as their guide.
Once winter break began, the program was virtually upon us! From January 12-19, Group 1 stayed in Galloway, Jamaica and from January 19-26, Group 2 stayed in Petersfield, Jamaica. Amizade Global Service Learning was our facilitator, and they partner with a community organization based in Petersfield called the Association of Clubs (AOC). The AOC is a group run by residents of the rural communities whose primary source of industry is sugar cane farming. The club is in its 26th year of existence and meets needs in the communities with different program areas including computer skills classes for youth and adults, a youth summer camp, microfinance loans for members of the community, and much more.
They welcome volunteers from Amizade into their community year-round, but this was the first time SRU students participated as volunteers. We lived with Jamaican families or “house mothers” as as all Amizade volunteers do. House mothers and all other community members who are affiliated with the volunteers’ visit are paid through the program cost that the students pay to participate, filtering money into the community so they are able to meet needs they have identified. While the service projects can range from working the local schools to construction and revitalization projects, to special interest programs such as medical or pharmaceutical placements, the Slippery Rock Group 1 and 2 primarily worked in the Primary Schools and Early Childhood Institutions. Each day, we were split into pairs or groups of three and were assigned to spend the day in different classrooms. Working in different classroom setting created many different experiences for the SRU students. Some worked strictly with students struggling in certain areas, others helped with accelerated students, some aided in grading and checking papers, and some even had a chance to teach the class as a whole.
Upon arrival, both programs were greeted with the warmest of welcomes. The members of the AOC treat the volunteers as VIP’s as they enter the community – preparing us a delicious welcome dinner oftentimes with dancing and music. Mr. Brown, the facilitator of the AOC and our main contact, is always present to have discussions with us and guide us in understanding the bigger picture of what we are doing and how the services we are providing have lasting impacts. Our time spent in the Primary and Early Childhood Schools was the source of most of the members’ culture shock. Oftentimes items such as pencils, markers, and even chalkboards are missing from their classrooms, making the challenge of education in third world countries very apparent to us. Many of the participants were shocked by the lack of resources – leading us into great discussions regarding social inequity and the cycle created by poverty.
Throughout the week, the students gained a better and better understanding of the Jamaican culture and way of life. Through presentations from community members, we learned about everything from politics to the education system to food and everywhere in between. We learned about the farming industry, family life, music, and much more. By the end of the two weeks, the locals referred to us as “Jamericans” – joking about the jam-packed week we had of learning about their way of life. During our final days in the communities, tears were shed and many promises of returning were made. The program had a real impact on the community and its residents, the schools in the rural region, and of course, the SRU student participants. Student participants will be presenting their experience sometime in February for the campus community. If you would like further information regarding this presentation or have questions regarding Amizade of the Jamaica Care Break, please email me at email@example.com. Thank you!
Article by John Rindy, SRU Career Team
When speaking persuasively, is it best to tell someone, show someone, or both?
Job and internship seekers may be missing out on the power of the unspoken language if they tend to sit on their hands during job interviews. The eyes, arms, shoulders, head and posture can send a powerful message no matter how you use them. Someone who sits back on their chair during an interview is sending a meassage that “I am not that interested in this conversation”, or “I am so relaxed in this interview that it is virtually effortless.” Not exacly the best message to send to a future supervisor. In fact most interviewers want you to be on top of your game and while they want you to feel relaxed, they also do not want to see a candidate act like they have been a lifelong member of the team. They want their candidate just slightly on edge – taking the interview very seriously.
Here are some ideas for using non-verbal signals during a job interview:
- The head should be level and turned toward the interviewer, but also use the head position to include others in dialogue if you face multiple interviewers.
- Never stare someone down when you are answering a question. Move to their eyes for a few seconds then move to a spot beyond them, then return to them. It is how we usually move our eyes when involved in casual conversation. Staring wide-eyed at an interviewer does not reflect confidence but fear instead.
- If someone stumps you with a tough question, do not say “Uhh” or “Umm”, or “Wow! That’s a tough one!” Instead move your eyes to the interviewer’s shoulder, squint them slightly in quiet contemplation, as if you are thinking. If you want to say “Wow! That was a good one!”, do it with your mouth by giving a “You stumped me for a moment” slight grin. It takes the human brain 7-10 seconds to formulate a response to a tough question. Silence can be painful but it is much better than “Umm.”
- Stay off the back of your chair and lean slightly into the conversation. This shows interest in your interviewer and what she has to say.
- Some are not offended by interviewees who place their hands on their lap when at an interview table. I say that you are missing out on a powerful opportunity to use non-verbal cues.
- If you do put your hands on the interview table or desk, know well in advance whether you are a right on top of left, left on top of right, or fingers-folded person. The worst thing you can do with your hands when you are not using them to your advantage is to fidget with them.
- When you gesture, use open, “Welcome to me!” palms open and angled upward gestures and never accusatory pointing or palms facing the interviewer which says “Stop! Come no closer!”
- When you get your arms into the gesture, keep them and your hands within the frame of your body. Going outside the frame of your body can reflect lack of focus or even a tendency to be unstable.
- If you are explaining about progress in your career, incline one hand, palm upward and use the other hand to show how you moved upward in your career. Why just say it when you can also show it?
- Finally, when you are in the middle of answering a question, remember that it is a universal belief that somone who looks downward and to the side while explaining something may not be offering the entire truth. Try to keep your eyes up and on your interviewers eyes, shoulders and in the space beyond.
For more advice on using powerful non-verbal cues in your interview, see the Office of Career Education and Development.
Article by John Snyder, Associate Director of Career Education and Development, Slippery Rock University
Free food and beverages every day at work! Games rooms stocked with the latest electronic toys, musical instruments, board games, pinball machines, and ping pong and pool tables every day at work! Comfortable lounges with books and magazines every day at work! Massages, yoga, and a place to take a nap every day at work! Bring your dog every day to work!
All this is available to you right in Pittsburgh if you work at Google, located in the former Nabisco factory near Carnegie Mellon University.
On 12-12-12, Jen Crowley, senior technical recruiter for Google, hosted our staff visit where we toured the facility and learned about the work environment at one of America’s most recognizable brands. The many physical benefits, of course, captured our attention. Numerous kitchens provide a variety of free food and beverages all day to all employees and guests. A full service dining room provides three free meals each day. The game rooms have the latest technology along with traditional board and table games. Want to bring your dog to work? No problem, but you’ll have to leave your cat at home.
All of these benefits (and more) are provided in addition to an excellent salary.
What’s the catch? Well, for one, you have to be an amazingly talented software engineer with a drive to excel every day as part of a team of equally talented technology professionals. While Google does hire human resource, financial, and sales professionals, the vast majority of employees at the Pittsburgh site are technical professionals.
Although we were captivated by the game rooms, the kitchens, and the whimsical office décor (one section of the facility is modeled after Kennywood complete with two roller coaster cars, fun house mirrors, and a fortune teller booth), this is a serious work environment filled with high-achieving, passionate employees. As we walked by numerous work stations, which are arranged in teams of six to eight individuals, we noticed a quiet intensity and employees focused on massive computer monitors or conferring unobtrusively with colleagues.
To enhance communication among team members, the work stations are arranged without walls. Some employees work standing up while others sit – a choice they make. All are expected to be creative, driven, and responsible for providing their share of the work on whatever project they are engaged in. As Jen told us several times, “Google hires a lot of extremely intelligent, Type A personalities. But, our motto is to check your ego at the door because you will always find someone smarted than you here.” For most of these employees, Google’s entrepreneurial environment (each employee determines his or her work hours, for example) inspires them to deliver creative, cutting edge products and services in the highly competitive world of social media and technology. For some hires, however, this environment of constant expectations proves to be overwhelming and leads to a short tenure at Google.
Google is widely recognized as one of the most desirable places to work, and our visit reinforced this perception. Perhaps the best way to summarize our visit is that Google employees work hard and play hard. And for delivering the skills and energy that Google needs to stay on top of the technology business, the company provides all employees with a workplace that is like home where the kitchen is always open and the games are booted up and ready for action.
Article by Aubrey Rader, Graduate Assistant, Career Counselor in the Slippery Rock University Office of Career Education and Development
When I began my fourth and final year of undergraduate coursework at SRU, I grappled with the infamous soon-to-be-graduated question, “what comes next?” I truly felt that my options were limitless and was confident that regardless of the choice I made, I would find success in my future. However, the choice between finding a job in the teaching field or continuing my education in graduate school weighed heavily on my shoulders as I began my student teaching experience. Although I made it on my own, input from my peers, cooperating teachers, SRU professors and supervisors, and family helped greatly in making a final decision regarding my post-graduation plans. In the end, I chose to apply to SRU’s Masters in Student Affairs program and looking back, could not be happier with the decision I made.
Although it is not going to be right for everyone, graduate school was truly the best option for me after my undergraduate experience. Although I could have found a job and worked happily as a teacher, I knew in my heart that I was not done learning. Graduate school has provided me with an amazing opportunity to continue learning while gaining hands-on experience in my field as a Graduate Assistant. With just one semester of graduate school under my belt, I am amazed at not only how much I have learned, but the ways in which I am applying my new knowledge as well. The classes I am taking as a graduate student are challenging me while allowing me to express myself in open, encouraging environments. I have gained friends and faculty throughout this semester that I will forever look to for guidance, support, and advice. Although my undergraduate experience was wonderful and I have only positive regards for it, the experience I am gaining in graduate school is somehow different and is providing me with the knowledge, confidence, and support that I needed to enter the professional world.
Article by John Rindy, Career Team Member, Slippery Rock University
Each year the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) surveys their employer members and asks about the future job market. What is especially compelling about the survey results is the list of transferable skills garnered from the employers each year. These skills represent those characteristics which are most desirable in terms of new college graduates who will be entering the workforce. In other words, what skills do employers want from recent graduates? Here are the top few skills for the 2013 survey and some thoughts about building these skills during the college years:
Leadership – We hear it all of the time, but what does it really mean? Leadership is something that can be learned and something that can be studied. Take part in leadership roles in student organizations or through service opportunities. Many colleges also have leadership development programs and institutes.
Problem Solving – Care to sit by and just do what you are told? Then I really do not like your chances in today’s workforce. Others will eat your lunch. Study in the liberal arts, work on a difficult community issue and relish those group projects.
Written Communication – I am also a college instructor, so I speak from experience when I say “Yikes!” The world of email and texting has abbreviated how we write to one another. We need to get back to solid grammar, punctuation, formatting and spelling. Write for the school paper, take a creative writing class, or get an on-campus job where you need to be precise in your written English.
Ability to Work in a Team - Want to work alone? Even a park ranger needs to be able to work with others. Think that working in computer programming or accounting will get you out of team meetings? Think again. Student organizations often need someone to lead special projects like fundraising. Raise your hand and say “Yes! I will do it this year!” Through activities such as these you will need to build and later lead a team.
Analytical /Quantitative – I never thought that I would use all of the stuff I learned in those college math classes. I was wrong. You never know where life will take you. My stats class has been so useful in my professional life it is amazing. Take two stats classes!
Strong Work Ethic - Will you show up early and stay late just to finish a job, or keep a promise? Again, if the answer is “No.” then I do not like your chances in today’s workforce. Commit yourself in a big way to a campus efforts – one that will require that you be on time, encourage volunteers, work with precision and have some sort of accountability.
Verbal Communication - We have all heard the terrible language that exists out there; the four letter words and such. Contrary to what some might say, these are neither a product of, nor limited to the present college-age generation. Look for opportunities to speak publicly, whether to small or large groups. Serve as an admissions ambassador or on a panel of current students who speak to prospective students.
Initiative – This is simply doing things without being asked. Do you see something that needs done in your community, or at work, or in a group that you serve? Then do it. Someday you might be asked in an interview “Give an example where you took initiative.” It would be a really bad thing if you did not have a suitable answer.
There are so many opportunities to engage with the world, to engage with life while in college. It is important that when these opportunities arise, that you are prepared to say “Yes!”
SLIPPERY ROCK, PA – The Office of Career Education and Development at Slippery Rock University opened registration for its annual Summer Job and Internship Fair on Monday, November 5. The last such event, held during the spring semester of 2012 attracted 75 companies, agencies and organizations seeking to hire students for internships, summer jobs and full time permamnent professional positions.
The career office opened registration earlier than usual for the February 19, 2013 event. “We want to get a head start on registration this year because of the size of this fair and because it will be the first time we have held this event in the new student center,” noted Job Location Development secretary Cathy Fuhs who assists with the logistics for the event. This year the event will move to the Robert M. Smith Student Center and even though the career office has already produced two events in the center, Fuhs pointed out that the size of this event will make logistics more complex. “The fair will be on the third level of the student center but will involve two rooms. Exercise Science companies will be hosted in the multipurpose theater and the bulk of the companies and organizations will be hosted in the main ballroom area” she added.
During the first day of registration nearly one third of the available tables were already reserved for the event and the office hopes to fill all tables before the middle of December. Employers interested in recruiting at the event can contact Cathy Fuhs or office director, John Rindy at 724-738-2028.