Co-op Stories: Jocelyn Frechette

By: Jocelyn Frechette

Jocelyn is a rising Wentworth senior studying Electrical Engineering and minoring in Physics. She recently completed her second co-op at BAE Systems as a Technical Intern 2 and generously shared her co-op experience with us:

Tell us about your co-op at BAE Systems.

I worked at BAE Systems Inc. in Nashua, NH for both my optional and first mandatory co-op. My job title was Technical Intern 2. My role as an intern is to learn from and support more senior Electrical Engineers in their work while also working and communicating across other disciplines to ensure that the job is done correctly and efficiently. The work varied from day to day and largely depended on the part of the engineering life cycle at which I was jumping into the project.  My day shifted from working in the lab and supporting testing to working at my desk to process data and document procedures.

Having completed two co-ops at BAE, Systems – how did your second co-op differ from your first at the company.

The work I did this time was vastly different from my first co-op with BAE last summer when I worked on a different project and another part of the engineering life cycle. The first time I was with BAE, the project I was a part of was in the preliminary design stage so I mainly spent the day working with PSPICE and other simulation programs doing different types of analysis. However, during my second co-op at BAE I supported design verification testing, where the designs have been completed, but are tested to assure that they are up to the specification provided by Systems Engineering and the customer. I also found that I was a lot more comfortable at BAE compared to my first time, I was able to leverage my previous experience to make sure I got the best experience possible this time around.

What are your plans for your third and final co-op this Fall? 

I will be not be returning to BAE in the Fall, due to my commitment to another company. However, fingers crossed I hope to rejoin BAE Systems after I graduate from Wentworth! This Fall, I will be working at Collins Aerospace as a Systems Engineering Co-op in Cedar Rapids, IA. I’m looking forward to getting a wide range of experiences from different companies. These experiences will help me decide what I would like to pursue as a full-time professional.

BAE taught me many lessons, but I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is to use your resources to your advantage, you’ll meet a lot more people and have more experiences as a result. I’ve had a lot of experiences at BAE that I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t just asked someone a question. The best case is that they the answer or they know someone who does that you can speak with.

What is something you worked on during co-op that inspired you? 

During my second co-op at BAE, I worked on a team of Radio Frequency (RF) Engineers in Design Verification Testing of several RF modules of an electronic warfare system in the Electronic Combat Solutions (ECS) business area. I can’t really get into too much detail, but I had the amazing opportunity to work in the lab almost everyday testing and troubleshooting hardware. I gained an interest in RF Engineering as a result and its definitely something I would like to pursue in the future. This co-op helped me realize where my passions lie and how I can achieve my goals. I think the people I worked with really helped to instill that interest in me, they always answered my questions and fueled my curiosities when I inquired about something. They took the time to explain something to me if I didn’t understand and tried their hardest to include me in conversation.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in working in the defense industry?

If you have interest in working in the defense industry, I would say start building your network now and don’t be afraid to reach out to someone who works in the defense industry whether it be a student on co-op or a full-time professional. Most of the time, people are more than happy to pay it forward and help you out whether they give you a referral/recommendation or help you craft the perfect application. Don’t fret if you don’t get an opportunity in the defense industry for your co-op on the first try, work on getting some additional experience with another company and try again. Also, our CO-OP + CAREER Advisors are a great resource – I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for Ria Kalinowski putting me into contact with a student who had defense industry experience and my previous internship experiences.

Some advice on the co-op search process.

Be patient and trust in your abilities, you are going to get that co-op! There were many times in my search process where I doubted myself. I panicked a couple of times because I wasn’t receiving phone calls or emails asking for an interview, but trust me, they come! I interviewed with 3 companies and had 2 other requests to interview after I accepted my offer. Be sure to put the time into actually applying, DO NOT wait until the last minute. Start early! I typically spent 2-4 hours per week searching, applying for jobs, and editing my resume and cover letters. The hard work will pay off, just trust me on that one!

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Jocelyn! Be on the lookout for our next co-op feature. If you would like to share your co-op experience (positive or not-as-expected), or have any questions about the co-op process, please email us at coopsandcareers@wit.edu.

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.

4 Ways Younger Job Seekers Can Step Up as Baby Boomers Retire

By: Val Matta

Baby boomers have always been defined by their sheer numbers. Even now, as they reach retirement age, 41 million baby boomers are still working according to a 2018 report from the Pew Research Center. This equals out to them still accounting for a quarter of the workforce.

As more and more retire, there will be opportunities for younger job seekers to step up and assume the baby boomers’ responsibilities. But first, you’re going to have to prove you’re ready to take the next step in your career.

By understanding what employers want, both at your current company or another one, you can present yourself in the best light. Here are some tips to landing a job previously held by a baby boomer and ensuring you can take ownership of a role without missing a step:

Advancing at Your Current Company

If your current organization is a great fit, you might want to make a move without leaving the team. For both you and the company this is a win-win situation. You get career advancement, and your company doesn’t lose a talented employee. Make the most of your situation by taking the following steps:

Find a mentor

Having a mentor is essential to young job seekers’ careers. Older employees who have been where you are will provide valuable advice to help you learn and make better decisions. Plus, as boomers retire, having one as a mentor will put you on their radar to recommend as a possible replacement.

But to get the right mentor you need to be proactive. It’s rare that an experienced employee will approach you with an opportunity. Start by making a list of people in your organization who you already have a relationship. To evaluate if they could be a good mentor, consider:

  • Their accomplishments and if they are something you aspire to
  • How their personality meshes with yours
  • If they will push you to grow and develop
  • How available they typically are
  • Their connections within the organization and outside of it

Once you have a list of potential mentors, invite your top choice for coffee and have a conversation about what you’re looking for. Explain what your career plan is and how you think they can help. The more specific you can be the better. It helps them understand exactly what they’d be providing you.

Ask what positions are opening soon

Employees don’t retire without notice. It takes planning and conversations with company managers and leaders, helping everyone prepare for the transition. However, while upcoming retirements aren’t secrets, you may not be told about coming opportunities.

Talk to your manager about your interest in moving up in the company. Don’t say ‘I want Janet’s job when she retires.’ Instead, explain you’re ready for a new challenge and ask for their feedback on what you can do to prepare and train.

If you’re not ready to take over the retiring baby boomer’s position, suggest ways you can take on some, but not all, of the responsibilities. This will help you expand your role without setting yourself up for failure.

Manager stock photo

Advancing at Another Company

Sometimes the right move for your career is changing companies and making a fresh start. You will still need to prove you have what it takes to fill a more advanced position, however, you’ll approach the situation differently than if you were already in-house.

Look for jobs the “old school” way

In recent years, companies have turned to social media to recruit younger talent. However, don’t forget companies still use traditional job boards to reach older job seekers — especially for non-entry level positions.

Don’t neglect the old school ways to find a new job opportunity. Consider adding the following to your job search:

  • In-person networking events
  • Niche job boards
  • Job fairs

Find out what skills the company is blindly missing

Hiring younger job seekers presents employers with a unique opportunity to fill a position while getting a new set of skills. However, when an employee has performed a job for a long time, the organization may not be aware of alternate skills and ways to grow the role. While baby boomers have experience, a trending concern for years has been that not all have the latest skills.

When you’re researching positions, identify the skills that might be useful yet are not in the job description. Look at as many job descriptions from the organization (even those not for your specific department), as well as comparable positions at other companies. Use that to identify any trends of skills the company could inadvertently not be looking for in their job description.

Then, when you’re writing cover letters, updating your resume, and in the interview process, showcase the experience you have as well as how these additional skills could improve the team and bring greater value to the company.

Team stock photo

Want to find out more ways to land a more advanced job? Check out this blog piece!

Blog originally posted to: https://careershift.com/blog/2019/04/4-ways-younger-job-seekers-can-step-up-as-baby-boomers-retire/

 

From Co-op to Commencement

By: Abbey Pober

When he first discovered his passion for software engineering Ethan Arrowood never thought he’d be turning down opportunities to interview with Google and Twitter to accept a co-op offer from Microsoft. Across his back-to-back co-ops, Ethan gained experience as a software engineer and worked with groundbreaking technologies to deliver innovative cloud-computing applications to leading Microsoft clients around the world. His key to success as a growing programmer? Getting involved with opensource and finding a developer community that supported him. On campus, Ethan’s active involvement with Accelerate is what led to his interview, co-op, and ultimately a full-time role with Microsoft.

Our Spring 2019 Intern, Lauren Rodolakis, spent the semester learning all about Ethan’s journey from co-op search to accepting his full-time offer at Microsoft. Read the full article on the Wentworth website, and check out our video interview here.

Arrowood at MicrosoftThank you for sharing your experience with us, Ethan! Be on the lookout for our next co-op feature. If you would like to share your co-op experience (positive or not-as-expected), or have any questions about the co-op process, please email us at coopsandcareers@wit.edu.

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.