Adjusting to the Workplace Part 1: Advice from an Advisor

By Ria Kalinowski

There are many differences between attending school and starting work at a co-op or job. It can be a bit of a culture shock to make the transition. The schedule is different and expectations are new, so it will take time to make the adjustment. To prepare further, click here to listen to Wentworth Alumni talk about their experience and what advice they have for adjusting to the workplace.

  1. Communication

During your first week, check in with your supervisor about how they like to be communicated with. Maybe they like you to keep a running list of questions and go over them in a weekly meeting. Maybe they would prefer you to pop by their desk whenever something comes up. Maybe they use Slack or Skype for Business. If you have questions or need to call out sick, learn how to ask and when to do it.

Speaking of asking questions, don’t be afraid to do just that! If something comes up that you don’t know or need clarification on, do some research first, and then ask. A good practice is to show that you’ve done the research and are looking for information that can’t be found elsewhere.

Something critical to ask about is expectations. One major aspect of work that is different from school is that at work, you do not receive feedback in the same way. At school, grades are given frequently and without solicitation. You can compare your progress with how you did in past semesters and with how you are doing compared with others. At work, feedback can range from daily check-ins, to weekly meetings, or yearly evaluations. It may be vague or infrequent. When you first start interacting with your supervisor, work with them to set goals that are concrete and measurable, so you know what is expected.

If you aren’t receiving regular feedback from your supervisor, check in with them after the first few weeks to ask how they think you are doing. Ask for suggestions for improvements. It’s better to ask for redirection rather than continue down the wrong path.

2. Relationships

Another big difference between work and school are the people you interact with. In school, you are surrounded by your peers and often, you can pick the professors you learn from. At work, there may be several different generations you are asked to collaborate with and present to. You will have to manage relationships with people you may not get along with or agree with and sometimes, those people may be in a position of power. It’s important to behave as civilly and professionally as possible, as these are people you will see every day. You may also need references from them in the future!

One of the main relationships that you will engage in is the one with your supervisor. During your interactions with them, you may receive negative feedback or constructive criticism. It’s important to take this feedback professionally. Keep in mind that not all supervisors receive extensive management training. While this is a time to be developing your interpersonal skills, your supervisor may be working on their own skills as well. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses while gaining an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your supervisor and what motivates them will help you navigate that relationship.

There may be people you adore spending time with at work, as well! It’s awesome to find people at work to be friends. Try not to complain about other work people to them as you never know what can get back to others.

This is a good time to start building a network of professionals to mentor you and help you learn about the industry and professionalism. Mentors can help you navigate company norms, understand hierarchy, and coach you to move up in your career.

3. Accountability

Much of your time at school is spent working independently. At work, often you are part of a team working towards a shared end goal. It’s important that you pull your weight, meet deadlines, and communicate with your teammates. Along with being accountable to a team, you are accountable for showing up every day. One of the biggest issues that leads to co-op termination is students not showing up or consistently showing up late.

Take notes in meetings (not on your phone as this can be misconstrued) and ask for more work when you finish a project. It might even be a good idea to have a list of smaller projects that are not time sensitive to dive into if you finish other work early.

While it’s important to work hard and not sit idle, it’s also important, in a full-time job, to take time off to recharge. Vacations aren’t scheduled for you like they are during school so make sure you take care of your mental health.

4. Success!

The key to being successful so that your job is secure, and might even lead to a promotion, is to make yourself indispensable. Be positive, professional, and proactive!

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.

Summer 2019 Drop-In Hours: Wednesday and Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

Co-op Stories: Vanessa Cardona

By: Vanessa Cardona

Vanessa Cardona is currently a Junior in the Biomedical Engineering program at Wentworth. She completed her first co-op with Sanofi Genzyme in Allston, MA as part of the Manufacturing Engineering Group. Vanessa recently sat down with CO-OPS + CAREERS to share her co-op story.

VanessaCardonaCo-op

Tell us about your co-op with Sanofi Genzyme:

For my first co-op, I had the privilege of working at Sanofi Genzyme in Allston, MA where I was part of the engineering group. As the co-op student, some of my responsibilities included: walking down piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&ID’s) to as built systems at the plant, developing and executing engineering studies, preparing commissioning and qualification documentation for the plant’s major annual maintenance shutdown, and supporting some of the engineers with implementations and/or improvements throughout the site.

What interested you in Sanofi and your role with the engineering group?

Prior to my co-op I had been interning at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute where I worked in a few different departments, the last of them being the Cell Manipulation Core Facility. While in this department, I was exposed to a cleanroom setting and a world of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), standard operating procedures (SOP’s) and much more. This was a completely different side of the hospital that I had never seen before, but I loved every part of it.

My dad had been working at the Sanofi in Allston and for as long as I can remember, he would talk to me about the work being done there. As I began the co-op search process, I learned about a few co-op positions that were available for the spring at a few of the different Sanofi sites. From what I knew about Sanofi and from what I was reading in the job descriptions, I thought this would be a great place to start. One of the available positions was being the co-op student for the engineering group. As I read through the job description and the expectations for this role, I found myself checking the imaginary check boxes for all the experiences I was hoping to get out of my co-op. The role offered so many opportunities to grow and learn about working in the industry.

What was your search process like? And how did you prepare for your interviews?

Searching for a co-op was difficult and sometimes stressful. As the fall semester was coming to an end, assignments were piling up, finals were slowly creeping up, and I needed to find a placement for my spring co-op. During my gaps and after classes I would look at co-op postings on WITworks and check the job postings list on just about every company I could think about. After I landed an interview with Sanofi, I prepared for my interview by meeting with my Co-op Advisor to go through potential questions the employer could ask me and by ensuring my resume reflected my previous experiences, as well as my assets.

What was a typical day like at your co-op?

On a typical day I would arrive at Sanofi at 7AM, settle in and decide what were my top priorities for that day. At 8AM we would have our daily department meeting where we would talk about any safety concerns, the status of any projects, and anything else that came up. Because every month we would have a new meeting leader, I was able to take on the role for the month of April. It was intimidating at first but with the support of my supervisor and co-workers I was able to adjust quickly and pick up on a lot of the terminology.

After our morning meeting I would continue to work on my assigned projects which varied from day to day.  One of my main priorities became leading a couple engineering studies so I had to ensure everything was set to perform the engineering studies. This meant making sure the protocol was written and approved, and that we had the support and materials we needed to execute the studies. I also communicated with the third party who was supporting us with one of the engineering studies to make sure they were completing the tests we needed them to perform, as well as ensuring the proposal they sent contained accurate information.

While the engineering studies were taking place, I was also supporting with other tasks like walking down and updating piping and instrumentation drawings, which quickly became one of my favorite things to do. Depending on the system or the equipment, I would find myself in the clean room, completely gowned up (coveralls, booties, etc.) or in the utility space with my hard hat and safety shoes.

What lessons have you learned on your first co-op that will benefit your next co-op?

One huge lesson I learned while being on co-op was that it’s okay to not know everything and to give yourself time to adjust to the new environment. Being new to the industry, it takes time to become comfortable with the terminology, equipment, and systems. When I first started at Sanofi I definitely had moments where I felt like I didn’t fit in because of my lacking level of expertise in the field. As I attended more meetings and met with the different people in my group, I found myself using that terminology not just in the field but in the documents I was writing as well.

What advice do you have for students during their first co-op search?

I would say one piece of advice that has followed me throughout my life is to always ask questions. If this is your first time stepping into the field, there are going to be things you are unsure about. Also, learn as much as you can. Take advantage of new opportunities, shadow different people, try new things, and be proactive.
Being on co-op is the best time to get a preview of what it’s like to work in a professional setting.

In terms of the co-op search process I would say to start early and to take advantage of opportunities to interact with employers whether that be at the co-op fair or at any other event. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about companies, but also a chance to show employers what you can offer to their company.  I think another important tip for the co-op search is recognizing your network and identifying people who might be able to support you during the process. Whether that be by providing you with advice or connecting you to a potential employer.

If there is anything else you’d like to share about your co-op or your search process that was not covered by these questions please include that below.

My co-op experience was amazing. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and for the supportive people I met along the way. Everyone was always so willing support me with projects I was working on and provide me with advice for the future.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Vanessa! 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.

Summer 2019 Drop-In Hours: Wednesday and Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

How to secure your dream co-op

By: Austin Hoag

Austin Hoag is a Wentworth Junior studying Construction Management and serves as the CM Club Operations Manager. One of the many duties assigned to Austin as Operations Manager includes writing content for their website. Here is what he shared about his co-op search and areas where he was successful:

To secure your dream co-op, you will need…

  • A Polished Resume
    •  At this point, between being a student in the #1 Construction Management Program in the country among non-traditional students and having the credentials to be accepted into Wentworth, all students have the ability to create a competitive resume. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend sitting down with Janel Juba, Co-op + Career Advisor for Construction Management and Civil Engineering majors to create a resume employers will love. Besides, the hard part is done, now it is time to take advantage of and showcase your accomplishments!

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  • A Nice Padfolio
    • While this one might seem small, having something more organized than a pile of papers such as a Wentworth branded padfolio while meeting possible employers can go a very long way. Remember that these people will depend on you to be a positive representative of their company, and appearance is a large part of that.  *If you completed Co-op Institute, you will have received a padfolio at the end of the course. If your free Co-op Institute padfolio has gone missing, CO-OPS + CAREERS always has a few on-hand to borrow.
  • Attend CO-OP + CAREER Fair
    • The job fair that is offered twice a year (fall/spring) is, without a doubt, the BEST way to meet employers. The people you meet at the booth offer a unique look into the company and can help to give you an idea of the company culture.
  • A solid idea of what you want out of your co-op
    • One of the first questions almost every employer will ask you is: “what kind of position you would want if you were hired?”. If you know what that is, it can also help you narrow down your searches.

What to bring for your in-person interview…

  • Copies of your resume
    • Although they most likely will already have your resume, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is forgetting to bring it. Having it printed on resume paper shows that you are organized, forward thinking, and excited about the opportunity to interview.
  • Padfolio and or Notepad
    • Taking notes during an interview is vital, not only does it make you look more engaged, but taking notes will help you write a meaningful follow up email. *Write a few questions you want to ask and talking points to prep for your interview that will keep you on track.
  • The right attitude
    • An important part of the interview process is gauging each other’s personalities and making a first impression. Having a positive attitude and tone of voice when answering questions and confident body language can make all the difference.

On your first day and during field walks…

  • Office shoes and steel toe boots
    • In construction, you never know where the day might take you, especially your first day. Even though you may have an office job, employers very well may take you on a site for a variety of reasons. Have your gear ready because you will want to be prepared!
  • Plenty of water/food
    • Again, it’s construction, you never will know what the day will bring. On hot days, almost nothing is more dangerous than not having enough water. Food is often forgotten when it’s your first day, you never know what site you will be on, what the demands are and what will be open around you. Trust me, I have been unprepared in this area before.

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  • A notepad
    • Before my first day, this tip was suggested to me by other employees. One of the most unprofessional things you can do is walk into a meeting empty handed. I was meeting with the president of a subcontractor on my last co-op and I witnessed someone get kicked out of the meeting by their president because they were ill-prepared.
  • Anything that you think you might need
    • If you have a car and think it might come in handy, just bring it. It is always better to have something and not need it than to need it and not have it.

This blog was originally posted here, on the Wentworth CM Club website.

Thank you for sharing your experience and expertise with us, Austin! 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.

Summer 2019 Drop-In Hours: Wednesday and Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

Co-op Stories: Prabhjyot Kaur

Prabhjyot Kaur is a Wentworth Junior studying Computer Information Systems. She recently completed her first co-op with The TJX Companies as an IT business Analyst in Marlborough, MA.  Prabhjyot sat down with CO-OPS + CAREERS to share her co-op story.

Student Smiling

Tell us about your co-op at TJX: 

I worked with the release management team for selling and payments, so I was involved in organizing deployments for the MarMaxx and HomeGoods/HomeSense POS (Point-of-Sale) systems. As an IT Business Analyst I was responsible for managing and communicating the schedule for deployments, sending beta statuses, creating business documentation and presentations, and reporting release defects.

What interested you in this company and the role?

Some of my friends did their co-op at TJX and talked very highly about the company including the people and work culture. They encouraged me to apply and I was very interested because TJX is a well-known company and I love the stores. I applied as an IT business analyst because that is one of the career paths I am looking into after graduation. I want to get some experience as a BA in an IT setting and see if I actually enjoy it.

TJX was my first offer and they gave me a week to accept or reject. Around that time I was waiting to hear back from a company I interviewed at but unfortunately I did not get the job. After that, I accepted the TJX offer instantly, I was hesitant only because it was located in Marlborough (45 mins from Boston).

Tell us about your search process and what steps you took to land your co-op at TJX.

I applied to the TJX website directly in August and then started my interview process around late September. The first interview was a digital interview where I had to answer questions under 3 minutes while recording myself. That was definitely one of the most awkward interviews I’ve had. After that, I was called into the headquarters for an interview. There were around 40 interviewees and some even flew in from schools around the country, it was very intimidating. There were three rounds of interviews and the questions were very behavioral and about related experiences.

To prep for the TJX interview, I made sure to research the company and what it stands for, values, etc. Interviewers find it very impressive when you can talk about the company, you’ll appear as someone who is prepared and puts in that extra effort. Also I read up on previous projects and class assignments that I could bring up in my interviews. I reviewed those projects and wrote down the process/steps, results, lessons learned, and how they can relate back to my role. For some job interviews I also read old PowerPoint lectures. Especially on networking, SQL, and JAVA so that I could be prepared for a technical question. I strongly encourage everyone to read up on lectures, projects, or even brush up certain technical skills before an interview because it helps a lot when you can speak about past experiences and concrete skills.

What was a typical day like at your co-op? Do you work alongside other co-op students?

My typical day consists of many meetings between 9am-5pm, sometimes 3-4 1hr/30min long meetings. I am usually the one taking meeting minutes so I will revise anything I have and send it out to all the teams. Then my manager will either give me my tasks for the day or I will continue working on any task or project. TJX hires around 70+ co-ops and they are disbursed throughout four buildings. I am the only co-op within my team and the selling and payments department, but I am part of a co-op project with two other students from Northeastern. I got to work with other co-op students for 2-3 months and met them a couple of times throughout the week to go over project details.

While on co-op, what project(s) have you been a part of, or something that you are working on, that has inspired you?

As a co-op I was a part of many customer facing deployments and projects. I cannot share much detail since they are still work in progress but it is amazing to see how projects we’ve worked on are customer facing, even I, as a customer, utilize those features. I’ve been involved in many of the project planning sessions and know about the upcoming releases. I find this so amazing and inspiring because even when I leave this company I can go to a TJMaxx and say “I was a part of this.”

I am also part of a project where we have to propose fixes to the current TJX buying system. Myself, along with two other co-ops, had been working on this for 2-3 months. It took a lot of research since this was a part of the company we weren’t familiar with. We spent a lot of time attending meetings with the business architects and shadowing merchandising leads and assistants. This experience allowed me to look into other interesting careers such as buying and merchandise planning. Also, this project gave me the opportunity to venture out and learn about something completely different than my field of work.

What was the biggest lesson you learned through your co-op?

The biggest lesson I learned through my co-op is that you have to be self-sufficient and take initiative. TJX is a huge corporation and for the first couple of months it was hard adjusting to the high risk, fast paced environment. At times I was given tasks that I didn’t know how to do, but I would either research about the topic or look up instructions online. There were days where I wasn’t given much to do, so I used the company training resources and educated myself on different methodologies and processes. It is important to be self-sufficient and productive even if you are not getting undivided attention or guidance.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Prabhjyot! 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.

Summer 2019 Drop-In Hours: Wednesday and Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

Meet our Marketing Intern: Lauren Rodolakis

By: Lauren Rodolakis

Growing up, I always knew I had a passion for creativity. My favorite past-times were journaling, filming and editing footage of my family’s vacations, and blogging. By the time I was 16 I had taught myself how to edit HTML on Tumblr so I could customize my blog and had a Twitter account dedicated to the Boston Red Sox that amassed over 2,000 followers in 6 months. When my junior year of high school rolled around, I had decided on communications and public relations as a major because of the emphasis on all things creative.

LaurenInternPhoto

I spent my first two years of college taking public relations courses, joining clubs like the Public Relations Student Society of America, and securing my first internship. In the summer going into my junior year, I was given the opportunity to work as a social media intern for a national healthcare staffing agency. I created a full content calendar for each of their social media platforms, built them a blog and an Instagram account, started weekly employee spotlights, monthly office tours, and worked with the in-house graphic designer to create promotional materials for career fairs. This internship was my first look into the world of social media and at the time, I had no idea how instrumental it would be towards my future career.

Although I loved working as a social media intern, I had never worked in a real public relations agency setting so I left to peruse a more traditional PR career. My junior and senior year were spent at a boutique tech PR agency, a world-renowned PR agency doing consumer account work, and a mid-sized integrated agency where I did traditional PR for a consumer electronics brand. At each agency I went to, I kept hoping I would like the next one better. I always blamed my reasons for not loving the internship on the agency culture, the clients, or the tasks I was given. One day, I realized I just don’t love traditional PR. I missed the work I was doing at my social media internship and felt the tasks I was being given did not leave much room for creativity.

With my senior year spring semester approaching, I knew I needed to find a great opportunity that would expand my knowledge in the social media world. Finding my internship at the Wentworth Institute of Technology’s CO-OP + CAREERS department has been the perfect way to end my college career. I was given the ability to be more creative in a work setting than I ever have before and enhance my skills in graphic design, video editing, and social content creation.

LaurenInternPhoto

My experience at Wentworth was also instrumental in helping me land my job for after graduation. In May, I will start my career as a Social Media Community Manager at Reviewed, a USA Today company where I will focus on building engagement with our followers across our social channels. My career path has certainly not been linear, but I learned a lot. Through my internships, I was able to pinpoint what I truly love to do and what I am passionate about and now, I am lucky enough to be able to make a career out of those passions.

Thank you for dedicating your semester to our marketing team, Lauren! Follow all of Lauren’s updates on her website: https://www.laurenrodolakis.com/.

Co-op Stories: Sophia Seltenreich

Sophia Seltenreich is a Wentworth Junior studying Business Management with a minor in International Business. Sophia recently completed her first mandatory co-op with Yesware in Downtown Boston where she worked as a Content Strategy Co-op, which was a hybrid position of content marketing and market analysis. In this role, her tasks included developing cadence and curating content on social channels, establishing perspectives/thought leadership & analyzing data in the area of sales to write about on Yesware’s blog, tracking KPIs for Yesware and competitors to measure growth and success, designing graphics for website and social platforms, and customer outreach for data insights and review generation. Here’s what she shared with us about her experience:

What was it like to work at a start-up like Yesware?

It’s incredible! Every day is so lively and so different. You have a lot of flexibility and independence, but also a lot of responsibility. Given the ever-changing start-up environment, you have to be adaptable and ready to pivot at any time. Personally, I love that aspect of the start-up environment. I also love the work I’m doing because even though I’m a co-op, everyone in the company is so interconnected and reliant on each other that even small things like writing a blog post make a difference!

Sophia Seltenreich Headshot(Photo courtesy of Yesware)

Speaking more to the company culture, Yesware was voted Boston’s Top Place to Work two years in a row (2017/2018). Everyone at the company is treated exceptionally well, and as a co-op, I was treated no different than a full-time employee. Some office perks include: free catered lunch every day, pet-friendly office space – which means people often bring in their dogs, weekly yoga sessions, monthly massages, board game nights, a nap room, a fully stocked kitchen (including vegan ice-cream & oatmilk), and great people! I cannot speak enough to the character and integrity that each person at Yesware embodies. For example, every two months, all the execs participate in an AMA (Ask Me Anything), exhibiting complete transparency and authenticity, taking the time to answer everyone’s questions. Another example, when an employee makes a successful hiring referral, instead of getting a cash bonus, they make a $5,000 donation to a charity of their choosing. Our People Team also plans and hosts several community events throughout the year, like a Galentine’s Day celebration with She+ Geeks Out & the Big Sister Association of Boston. Getting to work with these kinds of genuine people is the best environment to learn and grow in, and it shows me how passionate people are about the work they do and the communities they’re a part of.

Galentines Event(Photo courtesy of Yesware)

How did you choose to work at a start-up?

I received a competing co-op offer for social management at Liberty Mutual, the antithesis of a start-up company. While working at a fortune 100 company can provide stability and safety, I wasn’t looking to sit at a cubicle and do the same set tasks every day (even if it meant getting a lower wage).

What was a typical day like for you on co-op?

As I said before, every day can be different! A fairly typical day starts off with me scheduling Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn posts (after I’ve made myself some breakfast & tea) and going through new emails. After that, I work on sprint goals such as drafting new blog pieces, creating review campaigns, conducting customer outreach for feedback, sorting through data in Pardot, designing graphics in canva  etc. Then (free) lunch comes along! After lunch, marketing has a daily stand-up at 1:30pm where we usually discuss the tasks we’re working on (and everyone’s progress as we re-watch Game of Thrones). The latter half of the day consists of me listening to podcasts and finishing whatever goal I set for myself in the morning.

Yesware Office(Photo courtesy of Yesware)

What advice do you have for students who are interested in working for a start-up?

Advice for those seeking start-up jobs: be flexible, and highly adaptable! Take pride in your work, but don’t get too attached to it- changes can be made, projects can be dropped, and work can be scrapped. Be a self-starter, take the initiative on connections and projects you think would help your team or their processes.

What did you learn from your first co-op that you will take with you to your second? 

I learned that I had to apply to 40+ positions before I found one I truly resonated with. Don’t be afraid to turn companies down just because they’re the first to offer you a job.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Sophia! Be on the lookout for our next co-op feature. If you would like to share your search process, 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 during Summer 2019 Drop-In Hours: Wednesday and Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

Rocket.Build Community Hackathon: Event Recap

By: Kristen Eckman

This past weekend, Wentworth CO-OPS + CAREERS hosted the Rocket.Build Community Hackathon inviting students from the Boston area to participate in a 32-hour long hacking challenge. Participants completed challenges and designed specific hacks based on the following themes:

Best Housing Hack

Best Transportation and Mobility Hack

Best Environmental Hack

Best Rising Water Impact Hack

Best Job Portal for Highly Skilled Immigrants Hack

Best Connecting Community to Hackathons Hack

The Rocket.Build Community Hackathon was made possible through partnership between Wentworth and Rocket Software along with significant support from faculty and student organizers from the Computer Science Society, HackWITus, and Accelerate.

Participants began hacking Saturday morning after an opening ceremony facilitated by Anjali Arora, Rocket Software Chief Product Officer. Throughout the two-day event Rocketeers, alongside Wentworth faculty and staff, volunteered their time to lead breakout sessions on topics including “Technical Interviewing”, “HTTP Servers & Databases”, and “Predicting Boston Housing Prices Using AI”.

 

RS Hackathon

 

Nearly one hundred students from eight Boston area colleges and universities attended the event, while 64 went on to present their hacks in teams to a panel of Rocket judges Sunday afternoon. Prizes were awarded based on the following categories:

Judges Pick for Community Build: Hyperdome – An anonymous help line with no fear of stigma or consequences.

Created by: Skyelar Craver, Steven Pitts

Environmental Hack: Trash Tag Tracker – Used the #trashtag movement to inspire reporting locations to be cleaned up.

Created by: Bruce Craig, Vincent Jodice, Andrew Bissel, Griffen Campbell, and Corey Everett

Connecting Community Hack: C Squared – A Portal to match volunteers with non-profits.

Created by: Damian Barrows, Mason Osborn, Joe Schnachert, Keidon London, and Simon Wang

Rising Water Hack: Waterfront – Educate Boston residents on susceptibility to flooding.

Created by: Ethan Arrowood, Julia Connor, and Colin Hennessy

Housing Hack: Homefront – Site for user submitted information on homes for safety.

Created by: Gia Hill, Ryan Clonrety, and Yali Izzo

Special Award for Resilience: Green Posh –  They lost 2 of 5 members during the night! Empower reduced consumption.

Created by: Nate Bland, Teddy Gadie, and Camille Calabrese

Check out all hacks submitted here: https://rs-hackathon-2019.devpost.com/submissions

 

RS Hackathon

 

The event was a robust experience and recruiting opportunity as students applied their academic and creative problem-solving skills, interacted with Rocket Software staff (mentors, hiring managers, HR professionals) and persevered under a demanding deadline with little sleep. All students gained experience to build their skill set (and resumes) and five co-op opportunities were awarded to Wentworth students!

Technical skills strengthened by hacking:

  • Team formation, collaboration and management
  • Public presentation skills
  • Research, ideation and problem solving
  • Honed programming skills in coding languages
  • Used new software programming tools
  • Built servers, websites and apps
  • Designed complex databases
  • Applied high level math
  • Used AI/Machine Learning for predictive modelling

RS Hacking

 

Thank you to all who participated and volunteered this weekend to make The Rocket.Build Community Hackathon a success! Stay tuned for more events like this one. Keep up-to-date through our Events Page.

 

Check out what Rocket Software had to say about their experience at Wentworth:

ROCKET.BUILD COMMUNITY: A NEW GLOBAL TRADITION

MENTORING AT THE FIRST ROCKET.BUILD COMMUNITY HACKATHON

 

More photos from the event can be found here.

Co-op Stories: Sarah Higgins, Computer Science

Sarah Higgins is a current Wentworth student majoring in Computer Science. Here’s what Sarah shared with us about her co-op experience:

 

Where was your co-op? What was your job title? & What interested you in this company/the role?

My first co-op was with Jibo as a Build Tools Software Engineer.  I only knew that I liked writing code and problem solving, and I knew there were teams at the company that would provide me with opportunities to get better at both.  I lucked out with Jibo because I was not only reassured of my choice to go back to school for Computer Science, but my mentor and the people I got to work with were incredible.

My second co-op was with Validity.  Although very different from Jibo, I knew that they were looking for a software engineer to complete tasks similar to what I had worked on at Jibo, so I applied and luckily got the job.  I also intentionally wanted to take on a role in a different type of work culture environment to see if it would help me figure out what I like more in a company environment for when I graduate.

 

What got you interested in Software Engineering?

I took a Computer Science course while I was majoring in Mechanical Engineering and loved it!!  The puzzles and problems we got to solve, learning about logic gates, and basic programs written in Java came easy to me.

I have been a hairstylist for the past 10 years and I knew that I always wanted to go back to school, but it’d have to be worth the investment.  A few of my friends are mechanical engineers and after talking with them about what their jobs are like, I thought I’d like it and wanted to give it a try.  After learning that it takes almost a semester’s worth of time to see what feels like an ounce of progress, I realized I hated it.  Coming from an industry where the longest I’m with a client is about 3 hours, that wasn’t going to cut it.  Solving problems in as little as 30 seconds with writing programs and logic was far more fun, so I switched my major and dove in to a new found passion.

 

What did you need to focus on inside or outside of the classroom to be successful as a candidate?

Time management. While I was at school Monday – Friday seeking co-ops, I’d allot an hour each day to specifically apply for co-ops, which meant also writing a lot of cover letters.  For my first co-op, I think I sent out almost 45 applications.  I heard back from 5 companies for interviews, and I received 2 offers.  One was in Providence, and the other was Jibo here in Downtown Boston. Because Jibo was a shorter commute and the company product seemed way cooler, I accepted that one.

For my second co-op, I only had to apply to about 10 companies before I heard from Validity.  The second time around is much easier, as everyone told me.  Once you’ve gained professional experience, it’s not as stressful applying.

 

What was a typical day like at your co-op?

My typical day at both Validity and Jibo were very similar. I’d arrive at 9am every day and we’d have a daily stand-up.  Stand-up is a brief 5-10 minute meeting in which everyone on your specific software engineering team will say what they have accomplished since the last stand-up, currently working on, when they anticipate to have that completed by, and anything blocking progress from happening.

I’d then continue working on whatever project my mentor had assigned to me. It never took me more than a week or two to complete a project he would give me.  My mentor would check in with me frequently via Slack or by coming to my desk to see if I was stuck on anything, and always gave me feedback on whatever I was working on.

I’d be a part of meetings throughout the day, too.  Even though I was a co-op, I was treated like every other full-time working member of the team.  If the project that I was a part of required me to get more information from other members on the team or the manager, I’d be a part of the meeting to make sure I had everything to go forward.

Every two weeks, we’d have Sprint meetings.  Sprint meetings in software engineering allow for more long-term planning, typically two weeks away from where you’re at.  We assign projects and tickets to each member of the team and hopefully by the next sprint, all tasks are completed. They almost never were though because Jibo was a start-up, and start-ups demand that everyone take on more than what falls into their realm of responsibility sometimes.  That’s okay though, because it was always fun and felt great to know that I could be responsible for more work than the team expected from me!

Student on-site

While on co-op, what project(s) were you a part of, or something that you worked on, that has inspired you?

At Jibo, I was a part of the Build Tools team.  Build tools I’ve learned are an important and valued discipline in Software Engineering because it gets the products built, deployed, shipped, and its version number is incremented and ready for the next build.  A lot of software exists to help make that process easier, and only require a script from the programmer to tell the build what to do.  At Validity, I wrote the company’s first automated build script on my own, because I did a lot of work similar to it at Jibo.

At Jibo however, we needed to automate the entire process, which was incredibly complicating.  Because Jibo was a robot built with custom hardware that was being turned into its own platform, my mentor and I were responsible for creating the entire build process to communicate with the robot.  A software service would not be able to do that.  Learning all about what went into a “starting-from-scratch” automation process to deploy software was a life changing experience that made me appreciate the industry side of software building because while writing code, you need to make sure that all of the libraries you choose will work together smoothly.

That project specifically took almost a month for us to complete. I realized how special that was while I was writing my build script at Validity, because it took less than a week’s time.  It felt pretty incredible to know that I not only knew all of the behind the scenes build process, but I was able to get it done on my own and thoroughly explain it to someone else properly.  I eventually became someone who was a go-to for questions about build software like Jenkins and CircleCI at Validity because of that, which felt amazing!

 

What was the biggest lesson you learned on co-op?

The biggest and most valuable lesson that I learned is that I can do it, and that I am capable. That might seem like a ridiculous answer, but it’s true. I was terrified going to my first co-op at Jibo, especially since the only “professional” experience I had ever had was in a completely different industry. I had to start over and be a beginner all over again in an industry I knew almost nothing about. I was lucky enough to have an incredible mentor who was also a phenomenal teacher and incredibly patient with me when I needed things explained more than once, but he always gave me all of the credit for whatever I’d figured out. By the end of my co-op, I was given tasks with hardly any instructions and at Validity, it was a lot of the same. It felt amazing being relied on and becoming someone who people could eventually ask questions to about their own work.

 

What advice do you have for students interested in software engineering?

Dive in and go for it! I was a hairstylist who was frustrated to be stuck in one place because my clientelle was built and established and you can’t bring them with you if you want to pick up and move to a different town, never mind a different state. Software engineering provides open doors almost everywhere, especially in bustling, big cities where there are a lot of companies working on really cool things!

Jibo was a social robot who would talk to us and say things like “Hi, I’m glad you’re here.  If you weren’t, I would be talking to myself right now”, and he was able to do that because of the software that my mentor and I had pushed up to him ourselves.  Everything that he’d say or do was because of the work we put into it. At Validity, I alongside another software engineering co-op, collaborated on creating and building a brand new website for their customers to keep track of their email accounts, in addition to many other projects like my build script.

Even though the two companies were vastly different, I got to work on projects with similar libraries and languages to allow me to further develop my own skills to carry with me wherever I’d end up next.  Right now, I am taking advantage of all of the Python skills I learned at both co-ops in two of my classes.  Prior to my co-ops, I had never worked with Python before.

My point is, do it. Just do it. There’s no better feeling in the world than solving a problem on your own, you feel like a wizard sitting at the computer. Seriously. If you want to learn how to write code, go for it.  It will be hard, but it’s so worth it. I love who I see when I look at myself in the mirror now, knowing that I am about to graduate with a new found career path and passion, and I did it all for myself.  Everybody deserves to know what that feels like.  Do it!

 

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Sarah! Be on the lookout for our next co-op feature. If you would like to share your search process, 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 during Spring 2019 Drop-In Hours: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday 1:30pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

Co-op Learning Goals and Reflection

By: Kristen Eckman

Have you recently accepted a co-op offer? Congratulations! The next steps in the co-op process are to:

  1. Register for co-op on LeopardWeb

You must register for your co-op course on LeopardWeb just like you would for any other class. Make sure you select the correct section that corresponds to your major (see your Co-op Advisor if you are unsure of which one to select) and the correct course:

  • Co-op 3000 for an optional co-op (PRE-CO-OP WORK TERM)
  • Co-op 3500 for the first required co-op (COOP EDUCATION 1)
  • Co-op 4500 for the second required co-op (COOP EDUCATION 2)
  1. Report your hire on WITworks
  • Log on to WITworks using your WIT email and password.
  • In the left-hand menu select: “My Account” > “Co-op” > “Report Co-op Hire” OR “Add New”

In the Report of Hire, you must construct your Learning Goals for the semester. Please refer to our past blog written by Advisor, Sara Dell on How to Write Learning Goals for Co-op and Why if you are unsure of how to start.

target bullseye

Below are a few examples of Learning Goal topics grouped by major:

All Majors

  • write clearly and persuasively to communicate their scientific ideas clearly
  • test hypotheses and draw correct inferences using quantitative analysis
  • evaluate theory and critique research within the discipline

Sciences

  • apply critical thinking and analytical skills to interpreting scientific data sets
  • demonstrate written, visual, and/or oral presentation skills to communicate scientific knowledge
  • acquire and synthesize scientific information from a variety of sources
  • apply techniques and instrumentation to solve problems

Engineering

  • explain and demonstrate the role that analysis and modeling play in engineering design and engineering applications more generally
  • communicate about systems using mathematical, verbal and visual means
  • formulate mathematical models for physical systems by applying relevant conservation laws and assumptions
  • choose appropriate probabilistic models for a given problem, using information from observed data and knowledge of the physical system being studied
  • choose appropriate methods to solve mathematical models and obtain valid solutions

3. Go on co-op! Enjoy your semester and invest in your learning with goals in mind.

4. Reflect on your Learning Goals

Reflection can (and should) happen at any time throughout your co-op semester. Reflection is a way to engage deeper in your learning and will help you to absorb more from your work environment.

One way to begin the reflection process is to ask yourself questions:

  • What was a significant learning accomplishment for you this semester?
  • What did you discover about yourself as a learner (or social scientist, mathematician, engineer, problem solver or whatever the subject area)?
  • What was your favorite mistake and what did you learn from it?
  • What feedback did you get from your supervisor or colleagues that was important to you?
  • What are strengths you noticed about yourself?
  • What are next steps in your learning journey?
  • Looking ahead to the next semester (academic or co-op), what are some challenges you imagine?
  • What strengths can you bring to meet those challenges?

Keep in mind that there is no correct answer to these questions, rather use these as a guide to distinguish from what you hoped to learn, to what you actually learned and help you to develop your long-term career goals.

Girl career

For even more information on how to report and register for co-op, refer to our resource pages:

Co-op Action Guide

Registering for Co-op

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 during Spring 2019 Drop-In Hours:

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday 1:30pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

What to Pair From WITwear

Watch as Kristen Eckman, Operations Coordinator and Lauren Rodolakis, Marketing Intern at CO-OPS + CAREERS share examples of what to match from our WITwear professional clothes borrowing closet.

 

Spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair is Tuesday, March 19th! For events leading up to Career Fair, check out our Prep Week Schedule.

To make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617 989 4101 or stop by during spring 2019 Drop-In Hours: Monday, Tuedsday, and Wednesday 1:30pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.