Tips for Managing Remote Work

By: Kristen Eckman

In response to the COVID-19 coronavirus and subsequent need for social distancing, many employers are now enforcing remote work policies to decrease the likelihood for potential exposure. For your employer, remote work may be a new concept. Luckily, some industries have been encouraging remote work long before the current need and have generated best practices for the rest of us. Below you will find a collection of resources to help you stay productive, organized and healthy!

Maintain Productivity

Set your schedule and stick to it – let those around you know your “office hours” so that they can respect your work time.

  • Schedule your time in between meetings – this is a good way to let your colleagues know when you are available virtually, or busy with a task as well as remain on task between video and phone meetings.

Create a designated workspace – and have a separate space to unplug and relax outside of working hours.

Proactively reach out to colleagues, supervisors and clients – if you don’t have a cause for regular engagement with key individuals, schedule reminders to reach out with an email or call.

Update on progress more than usual – send updates to your supervisor and clients rather than waiting for them to ask you and ask what preferences they have around frequency, content and the form of updates.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/hvmacarthur/2020/03/12/the-art-of-working-remotely-how-to-ensure-productivity-vs-a-time-suck/#5a7099e633ee

Keep distractions around, but out of the way – it’s important to have distractions around. When you take a break, doing something just for fun can help you refresh.

Student working on laptop

 

Stay Organized

Keep your workspace tidy – don’t get too comfortable with clutter forming just because you colleagues are no longer around to see it. Set yourself up in a way that will allow you to perform at your best.

Write things down – without face-to-face communication, it’s easy to let things slip through the cracks. Take notes in a notebook or perhaps you prefer calendar notifications; find what works best for you!

  • Never be without a way to quickly capture an idea – keep a virtual notepad open on your desktop, utilize your free access to Microsoft OneNote or the good old-fashion pen and paper method.

Self-motivate – set realistic daily, weekly or even hourly goals to keep yourself motivated. A sense of accomplishment once completing these goals will contribute positively to your work-life balance.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/do-you-have-what-it-takes-to-work-from-home

 

Be Mindful of Your Personal Health and Wellness

Get out of the house – while recommendations are to stay away from public areas for the time being to respect social distancing precautions, remember to step outside!

Give yourself breaks – schedule breaks to get up and get some air, schedule time to go grab lunch, and most importantly, schedule a stop time. This means you clock out and trust that whatever is waiting for you in your inbox will wait.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/hvmacarthur/2020/03/12/the-art-of-working-remotely-how-to-ensure-productivity-vs-a-time-suck/#5a7099e633ee

Set-up your space intentionally – give yourself something aesthetically pleasing to look at like a plant, window or a soothing picture on the wall. Pay attention to the natural light that comes in throughout the day and how the colors of the room and furniture around you make you feel.

  • Don’t forget a comfortable chair that supports good posture!

Source: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/featured/10-hacks-to-improve-your-home-office-productivity.html

Female working on laptop with dog

 

Additional References

Headspace meditation for free: https://www.headspace.com/covid-19

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-actually-be-productive-when-youre-working-from-home

Source: https://www.wbur.org/cognoscenti/2020/03/13/coronavirus-social-distancing-work-from-home-julie-morgenstern?utm_source=WBUR+Editorial+Newsletters&utm_campaign=0d5c054ee5-WBURTODAY_COG_2020_03_15&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d0781a0a0c-0d5c054ee5-134699385

Guides for remote life: https://blog.trello.com/work-from-home-guides

Source: https://mailchi.mp/careersherpa/summary-sunday-making-adjustments?e=f74f1585dc

 

Takeaways

  • Keep work life separate from personal life and personal life separate from work life.
  • Working from home can get lonely, so make a concerted effort to stay connected socially.
  • Remember that working from home is a continuously developing situation for most companies and this is a time that requires patience and flexibility as an employee.

CO-OPS + CAREERS has gone virtual! Please continue to contact the office by email: coopsandcareers@wit.edu or by phone: 617-989-4101. To schedule a virtual appointment with your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor, login to WITworks or call the main line listed above.

Co-op Stories: Roan Farsab

By: Roan Farsab

Roan Farsab, a junior in the Electrical Engineering program at Wentworth, completed her optional co-op at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She discussed her role with CO-OPS + CAREERS and shared advice for students looking to complete a research co-op:

Roan Farsab Headshot

  • What drew you to finding a research co-op?

In the future I plan on attending Graduate school. My Research Co-op taught me more about grad school and the process of applying. I was also able to learn more about what I can do with my degree. After completing this co-op I learned a lot about UAV technologies and plan on working with them in the future.

  • What was your search and interview process like?

My main search process was the National science foundation website. This website showed all of the research positions that are funded by the National science foundation.

  • What is a typical day like at your co-op?

There isn’t really a typical day as we work on different tasks each day. While one day I could be researching on how to set up a sensor and program it for the drone, the other day I could be coding in python or welding parts of the drone. This is one of the reasons why I enjoyed my co-op; I was exposed to different things other than my major and learned something new every day. 

  • While on co-op, what project(s) have you been a part of that inspired you? 

I worked on a project with a group of two other students. We worked together building a drone on the subject of Autonomous Search and Rescue Vehicles. This drone was designed to work in times of human distress and disaster and to minimize the loss of life. Increasingly, safety and risk prevention has been valued, and the deployment of human rescuers into dangerous and high-risk areas to perform SAR missions is one field where safety and risk prevention can be improved. This inspired me because it showed me how our technologies today can be used during times of disaster to save lives.

  • What advice do you have for students interested in pursuing research for their co-op?

I advise students to be patient. Looking for a research co-op isn’t easy and often may be a very stressful process. People all over the country apply for research positions so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get in to one or the one you wanted. Also, during your research sometimes you will feel that you aren’t learning because you searching for results for something or working on something that didn’t make progress so remember failure is a result that you can learn from your mistakes.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Roan! Be on the lookout for our next co-op feature. If you would like to share your co-op experience with us (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.

Co-op Stories: James Bednar

By: James Bednar

James is a Wentworth senior in the Electromechanical Engineering program with minors in Applied Mathematics and Physics. He graciously shared his recent co-op experience with CO-OPS + CAREERS:

  • Where was your co-op?

My co-op this summer has been at Hanscom Air Force Base, which is predominantly located within the city of Bedford, Massachusetts. I’ve been working as a SMART Program Intern for the Enterprise IT and Cyber Infrastructure Division of the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, and Networks (C3I&N) Program Office.

The majority of the work at Hanscom AFB is in support of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), which is responsible for acquiring, sustaining, and eventually disposing of complex systems utilized by the Air Force.

Within my assigned organization, engineers are responsible for ensuring that IT and cyber systems are designed, acquired, and sustained in a manner that allows the entire Air Force to benefit from modern information systems. This poses a unique challenge, especially for organizations as large and geographically dispersed as the U.S. military.

 

  • What was your search and interview process like?

My co-op search was unique in the sense that it mainly consisted of a traditional scholarship application. After collecting the references, transcripts, and essays required to apply to SMART, I waited to see whether or not I would be offered a place within the program.

While applicants can list their preferences for potential work assignments, there’s no guarantee that they will get assigned to any of their top choices. I ended up being very fortunate, as I was both offered a spot in the SMART Scholarship Program and assigned to AFLCMC at Hanscom AFB, which was my first choice when applying to the program.

  • What is the SMART Scholarship Program?

The Science Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship-for-Service Program is an initiative led by the Department of Defense seeking to provide college students with a pathway into civil service. The SMART Program offers college funding opportunities at the Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral level in exchange for working as a Department of Defense civilian employee for a few years upon graduation.

When explaining the program, I tell people that the SMART Program is analogous to a civilian ROTC program, where students are contracted to work for one year as a civilian engineer for each year they receive financial assistance from the program. It’s an imperfect analogy, but helps to capture the fact that program participants typically want to pursue civilian service as their chosen career pathway.

  • How did you learn about SMART?

I learned about the SMART Scholarship Program shortly before entering my freshman year at Wentworth. Initially, I was accepted and planned on attending the United States Coast Guard Academy but was medically disqualified at the last minute due to an injury received during basketball practice towards the end of high school.

Wentworth was always my top choice outside of Coast Guard, so I decided to move out to Boston with the hope of finding another way to pursue service in a civilian capacity. After eventually settling on the major of Electromechanical Engineering, I decided to apply to SMART during my sophomore year and was fortunate enough to be accepted into the program.

  • Why are you interested in this work/completing your co-op with your employer?

I have wanted to pursue service in some capacity since my freshman year of high school. The SMART Program provides a great introduction to government service within the Department of Defense, which I hope to build upon as I continue throughout my career.

Long term, I want to apply my technical experience to the field of public policy, and starting my career at Hanscom AFB will provide a great introduction to the crossroads of engineering and acquisitions policy as it pertains to the Air Force. Furthermore, I hope the opportunity to work on enterprise information systems will help inform my decision as I look to study either Applied Physics or Systems Engineering in graduate school.

  • What is a typical day like at your co-op?

A typical day will vary widely depending on what stage a system is its lifecycle. While I’ve been focusing on getting a feel for the organization on-the-job training and shadowing during this co-op, I’m looking forward to working on some exciting systems as I move forward at Hanscom AFB.

  • What advice do you have for students interested in pursuing the SMART scholarship?

First, I would encourage students interested in pursuing this opportunity (or work as a technical professional in any government organization) to “know your why”. Working as an engineer on the civilian side of the Department of Defense (or any area of the government) offers some unique opportunities you simply will not find anywhere else, and the work can be very rewarding. However, working as a civil servant is different than a career in private industry. Knowing why you decided to pursue civil service can help provide perspective when you have those inevitable “what if” moments when talking to friends working in private industry.

More importantly, if you’re truly interested in what the SMART Program has to offer, my biggest advice would be to go for it. The SMART Program provides a fantastic opportunity, and it would be great to see other Wentworth students pursue the program along with me. If anyone out there is interested in SMART or has any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, either around campus or via email.

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

Fall 2019 Drop-In Hours: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 1:30pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

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.

Co-op Stories: Joey Cordeiro

By: Joey Cordeiro

Joey Cordeiro is a Junior in the Electrical Engineering program at Wentworth. He completed his first co-op with Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) in Newport, RI as a Student Trainee/Torpedo Systems Engineer. Joey recently sat down with CO-OPS + CAREERS to share his co-op story.

Student on Naval Base

Tell us about your first co-op:

I worked in the Systems Integration and Test Branch in the Undersea Weapons, Vehicles, and Defensive Systems Department. My role was to support the build and programming of a test set for an electronics assembly used in a weapon system. I worked under and was mentored by several experienced electrical and computer engineers. I had already completed a summer internship with NUWC last summer.

What interested you in NUWC?

Working for a defensive and weapons company has sparked my interest for a few years now. I always knew that if I got into this line of engineering then it would be a very satisfying job, and I would be working on something that has an impact on today’s world.

Applying for a role with the Navy, were there extra steps you needed to take?

The application process was like most other engineering internships, including submission of a lengthy application, resume, and doing a few initial phone interviews. The process became much more involved once an offer was made and I accepted. The process of acquiring the required security clearance to work this government job was a lengthy one at that. The procedure was well worth it looking back; getting the great opportunity to work for a strong Navy operation such as NUWC.

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

I normally spend my mornings reading torpedo specification documents and reading up on the hardware that I would be working with. There is an abundance of information and aspects of undersea weapons to learn about. The rich history of the vigorous engineering and years of hard work that has gotten NUWC to where it is today is truly what gets me excited to come to work every morning. I would typically spend all of my afternoon in the labs with my project team members working on the various tasks of our project. This spring co-op, I spent a majority of my time building a test set for the electronics assembly being programmed for the torpedo.

You are completing your second co-op with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. What has changed between your first co-op and your current?

I, along with my co-workers and managers, had more confidence in me to give me more responsibility and work load. I was able to work on multiple aspects of my electronics assembly program. On my first co-op I spent a lot of time working on specification documents, and revising and updated them to Navy standards. This time around, I was able to complete more hands-on work involving design, fabrication, and testing of a torpedo test-set.

Why did you choose to return for a second co-op with your employer? What advice do you have for students who are interested in returning to their first co-op employer?

I returned to NUWC for this co-op for many reasons. One of the main reasons is because of the satisfaction I got from working for the Navy. Seeing the great things we do as a 3000-person team here at NUWC, it was a no-brainer for me to return. A lot of it also had to do with my knowledge of defense systems as a whole. I learned a lot on my first internship, but I wanted to learn more and I felt that another 4-month co-op would do just that. I wanted to learn as much as possible about undersea warfare and what it feels like to serve the Navy fleet every day.

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

Adjusting to the Workplace Part 2: Young Alumni Panel

The Real Truth About Adjusting to the Workplace from Recent Wentworth Alumni

By Ria Kalinowski

 

As part of the 2019 Summer Leopard Lunch & Learn Series, CO-OPS + CAREERS invited four young alumni to campus to give advice about adjusting to the workplace. Our moderator was Janel Juba, Co-op + Career Advisor. The alumni were as follows:

  • Hayley Patton, 2016 Biomedical Engineering Graduate. Currently working at ZOLL Medical as a Design Quality Assurance Engineer and completed one co-op at the manufacturing center at ZOLL.
  • Will Ma, 2018 Computer Information Systems Graduate. Works as an IT Service Desk Analyst at Criteo. Also, the CEO and co-founder of “STEAM Boston”. Completed co-ops at Dell/EMC, Brightcove, and EF Education First.
  • Kasey Cordeiro, 2018 Electrical Engineering Graduate currently working at Starry. Completed two co-ops at Raytheon and worked full-time for them as well post-graduation.
  • Alyssa Payette, 2016 Biomedical Engineering Graduate working as a clinical applications analyst at Mass General Hospital. Completed one co-op there as well.

Alumni Panel Photo

Professional Relationships

The alumni shared advice about building professional relationships in the workplace. Two main points that came up were the importance of being confident, so people begin to trust you and figuring out what to share and what not to share:

Hayley: Make sure you have those little boundaries, don’t be too personal, but don’t also be a clam.

Alyssa: In the last 3 years, I got the opportunity to serve in a few different management roles, so I can actually speak to the other side of it as well. So initially kind of like what Hayley was saying, it was a little touch and go trying to find what to share and what not to share. Afraid of it being off putting, you kind of want to blend with the teams you are on. So, you definitely want to share to identify those things you have in common. It can be tricky when you’re worried about crossing lines.

Will: Some advice is to try not to be too personal. Make sure to not cross the line.

Another way that these alumni managed professional relationships, especially with their manager, was by speaking up and asking questions. Having open lines of communication with your manager is important so that your expectations align:

Kasey: Definitely speak up if something is not working for you or if something could work better. I find that a good manager will be open to that kind of feedback. They want your productivity to be as high as it can be and they want you to be comfortable in your work space.

Alyssa: And you have to remember that your managers are trying to accomplish the same goals as you so if you are struggling, my best piece of advice, which I have done, is to set up a meeting to discuss your professional relationship.

Hayley: I’m the type of person who asks a ton of questions…when I first started I was going to [my manager] at least 3 or 4 times a day asking where’s this, how do I do this? But he was super helpful. He also provides information on where to find information on the questions you have. So he also kind of pushes you to find it yourself.

 

Company Culture

These alumni gained a lot of knowledge about their company’s culture through research, the interview process, and observation:

Will: Basically the first week they can give you an understanding of how the culture is, so what kind of clothes they wear, is it really casual or more professional, is it a 9-5 culture or is it more like a work hard play hard type of culture – there are a lot of factors you can learn from that first week…and also the interview too, when you have an interview one of the questions you should ask is how is the company culture.

Kasey: I actually used WITworks, and on there [saw that] Starry goes to the Career Fair… so I looked at [WITworks] and it said something like company culture or in their dress code maybe and so I looked through those and saw it said very casual… and so I used those to play my interview strategy where I was sort of half business causal but more on the casual side… I think it helps the transition a lot.  And then paying attention to how they acted in the interview, and how casual it was, and the way they interacted with each other, that was my strategy.

Alyssa: Like Will said, definitely in your interview ask about the culture, because sometimes you don’t meet with everybody when you go in for an interview… so definitely find out what the specific group you are working with has as far as culture, and then speak up, ask questions, pay attention to your surrounds when you go in for an interview.

Alumni Photo Panel

Learning from Failures

Making mistakes are an inevitable part of adjusting to a new workplace. The alumni shared how they were able to overcome or learn from these experiences:

Hayley: So I do a lot of testing, and it has to be super attention to detail… one time I was testing one of our new AED products, and I had put in a code for the Wi-Fi, because our device communicates over the internet to the hospital… and it just so happened that the number I put in was [wrong]… you have to make sure that no matter how many times you’ve run through this or how many times you’ve done it, you have to treat it like your first time.

Will: So what I did was I basically wiped out a whole computer, and the employee wasn’t happy… we didn’t really do that much research, and so after the computer was wiped, I had to create a backup plan-  how can I prevent this mistake from all the 20 other employees in the whole company from deleting someone’s files, so I made some documentation, and talked about some steps you can take to solve this bug on the computer, and actually a lot of employees are looking at this documentation to this day… overcoming failures makes you grow and turns you into a better employee and turns you into a better person.

To read more about adjusting to the workplace, click here.

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. And be sure to check back next week for Part 2 of Adjusting to the Workplace.

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

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.

Workplace collaboration

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.

Workplace culture

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.

Bridging the Generational Gap in the Workplace

By: Chris McIntyre

At each point in your career– especially on co-op– you will work with colleagues in a variety of age brackets. They’ll be different in almost every way, from communication style to attire to their views on what it means to be a professional. To be successful in any workplace it’s imperative to understand how to navigate these generational differences. Understanding this will lead to greater levels of collaboration and higher levels of productivity – as well as perhaps saving you from embarrassing faux pas.

First, a brief primer on generations (Keep in mind there are no official cut-off points):

Baby Boomer: Those born from 1946-1964

Gen X: Those born from 1965-1979

Gen Y/Millennial: Those born from 1980-2000.

Author Jean Twenge dubbed the next generational bracket (2000-Present) iGen due to growing up with smartphone technology. iGens, who the eldest of the generation are now college-age, have key differences than previous generations at the same age including:

  • Less religious
  • Much more comfortable with technology
  • A tendency to experience life events, such as getting a driver’s license, at a later age
  • Spending less time with friends in person, but always staying connected to them
  • Less likely to have a part-time work experience before entering college

That last point is key when thinking about applying to co-ops. Hiring managers, who probably are from a different generation, may not know a co-op will be some iGens’ first job. So, when putting together your resume, think about the transferable skills employers look for: communication, collaboration, time management, problem solving, etc. It’s important to highlight these skills whether you got them from a school activity, sport or student organization.

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My work in Employer Relations allows me to interact with individuals spanning all generations. In addition to the importance of transferable skills, another consistent thing I hear is the importance of professional communication. iGens don’t use their smartphones as a telephone, something previous generations have a hard time understanding. Thus, it’s important to spend time working with your advisor to practice professional telephone communication if you’re not comfortable. Often your first-round interview will be a phone screen, so it is vital you feel comfortable.

Working with iPhone

Related to verbal communication, employers frequently emphasize the importance of professional written communication. iGens tend to write in a less formal structure and tone, while other generations are the opposite. So, when writing cover letters and e-mails ensure you are writing in a clear and professional tone (PS – your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor should be reviewing your cover letters and other professional communications).

Don’t overlook the importance of understanding other generations. While it will be necessary on the job, it could even be the difference between getting the job in the first place.

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.