Meet Maria Rodriguez, runner up for this semester’s “Share your Co-op Contest”

Maria Rodriguez is a current Wentworth student majoring in Biomedical Engineering and minoring in Biology. Here’s what Maria shared with us about her co-op experience at CELLINK in Cambridge:

My co-op with CELLINK was incredible! As an applications engineer, I learned so much about 3D bioprinting and tissue engineering. I collaborated with top researchers in the field to make sure our technology met their needs, and I learned so much from their research. One of my favorite parts was introducing scientists to the world of bioprinting, for which I helped organize the event pictured. The CEO of the company featured this picture on his LinkedIn account!

Where was your co-op? What was it like to work there?

I was an application engineer at CELLINK. CELLINK is a startup with a very vibrant and fast-paced atmosphere. My co-op position was very challenging, but at the same time, very fun. It involved supporting customers and finding new applications for our innovative technology (about which I knew very little about until I started working there) while collaborating with the team to improve the technology, and networking with scientists to introduce them to our products.  I spent many days out of the office in research labs and conferences, where I got to listen to the end-users feedback and meet many important people in the bioprinting and tissue engineering fields.  My supervisors had a contagious positive vibe. Also, they were very open to my ideas and always treated me like a valuable employee.

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

My co-op experience inspired me to choose my Senior Design project. I pitched an idea to CELLINK based on a need of their current customers, and now my project is being sponsored by them! I still cannot reveal what it will be, but it is very promising since one of the applications is to help prove pharmaceutical drugs safety more efficiently, so they can get to the market faster after they have been discovered.

Based on your co-op experience, what industry/position do you see yourself in the future?

Based on this co-op experience, which introduced me to the field of 3D bioprinting, I will probably continue my studies after I graduate in order to specialize more in this field. Then, I’d love to work for a company like CELLINK, which is heavily based on research but still a part of industry and not academia.

What is a major takeaway from your co-op experience?

A major takeaway is that motivation and persistence can be key when it comes to getting a job you really want. I did not have much experience related to the technology, but my interviewers saw my passion and were excited to have me on their team.

What made you enter the contest and why did you choose the photo entered?

I wanted to share my experience. I chose this photo because it was featured by the company’s CEO.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Maria! Be on the lookout for our next “Share Your Co-op Contest” in the coming semesters.

Meet Zeily Perez, winner of this semester’s “Share Your Co-op” contest!

Conest image submited of Zeily Perez holding olympic torch in front of "EF Education First" banner. Twitter camption included reads "Hi I'm Zeily! I work as a computer analyst at EF. EFs goal is to provide life changing education for global citizens. Working at EF I've learned how to provide the best the computer support to people all over the world."
“EF Education First” sponsored the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, giving Zeily “Z” Perez a chance to hold the Olympic Torch while on co-op.

Tell us about yourself: My name is Zeily, but everyone knows me as Z. I am a 4th-year computer networking major en route to graduate in August 2018.

Where was your co-op? And what did you do you there? My co-op was at EF Education First in Cambridge MA, and I am currently working there part-time. I started my co-op in September 2017 as a member of the Technical Support Team. But as the months went by my manager decided to have my role changed to an Associate Desk Analyst.

What does EF do, and what is it like to work there? EF is an international travel agency, and our mission is to open the world through education. Working at EF has been fun and such an enjoyable learning experience. I get to interact with users from all over the world and help them with their computer/software needs. Since this is a travel agency that aims to transform dreams into international opportunities, there are many young souls that work here.EF is all about their open space and no cubical environment; this is what makes going to work fun! From the ping pong tables to many open areas, to North Point Park is our backyard to the restaurant/bar on the first floor there is always something to do if tired sitting in your pod.

While on co-op, what project(s) were you a part of or working on, that has inspired you? There was a cool project where I worked with the San Jose, Panama office. They requested assistance for their computers that needed to be reimaged to our configurations and applications. As the time went on, my manager and I noticed that it was a bigger project than expected. Their office hasn’t been properly equipped with the new technology systems and their office was outdated with the latest configurations. This project helped me better my communication skills (emailing, phone calls, Skype calls, video conferences) and ability to be comfortable in failing and asking for help from higher-ups (most of them based in London) to reach my goal.

Based on your co-op experience, what industry/position do you see yourself in the future? I haven’t figured that out yet. All I know is that I want to help people, travel and I need to work in a fun environment. I can no longer see myself working in cubical and sit at my desk for a whole day shift. The past two years I found myself traveling more and more and I want to be able to work outside the US. Maybe Spain?

What is a major takeaway from your co-op experience?  My major takeaway is that communication is key. I mean I learned that through RA training and leadership institute, but in the real-world it’s different. Being the middle-man between the user and our system admins’ has made me realized the communication is important for every situation. Having a close connection with our staff from around the world has made me more patient considering that we are in different time zones with other offices.

What made you enter the contest and why did you choose the photo entered? To test my luck hahah! I entered the contest because I am proud to work at EF and for those who know me I’m always traveling, and EF is all about that. EF was awarded the #1 Work Place to Work in Boston.

I choose the photo because EF has been sponsoring the Olympics for over 30 years, dating back to 1988 Summer Olympics. This year EF has been named Official Education Services Sponsor to the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games. This means that as the education services sponsor, EF created online video, classroom content for Korean teachers, students, and citizens. This year we had someone from the Boston Office to hold the Olympic Torch and represent EF. Holding that torch even just for the picture, was a symbol of all the hard work I have done both in and out of the classroom and help others reach their goals and always to believe that no dream is too big.

Anything you’d like to add? Yes! Shout out to Matt Gianelli and Lauren Tyger for always pushing me to become my better self and supporting me through my academic, personal and co-op life.

 

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Z! Be on the lookout for our next “Share Your Co-op Photo” contest in the coming semesters.

“This American Workplace: Slang for International Students”

By: Ria Kalinowski

Let’s “Get the Ball Rolling” (i.e., Start Something)

Americans use a lot of slang. Slang is the use of phrases or terms, typically in an informal setting, that have come to stand for something else. It is most common to hear slang used in informal conversations as opposed to during more formal language such as presentations or interviews. You will almost never see slang in formal writing. If someone uses a slang phrase or term in conversation which you do not understand, you can often use the context to figure it out. In some cases, the slang phrase that is used may be loosely related to the slang meaning. The phrase, “don’t bite off more than you can chew”, means not to take on a task that is too large.

“Keep Your Eye on the Ball” (i.e., Remain Alert)

There are many American slang phrases and terms that are related to sports. If someone says to you, “don’t drop the ball”, they mean they don’t want you to make an error or miss an opportunity. This saying is derived from sports like baseball or American football where a player may be penalized for dropping the ball during the game. For example, if someone assigns you a project at work, they may say, “don’t drop the ball” and mean that they don’t want you to mess up the project.

Another sports-related slang phrase is, “behind the eight-ball”. This saying is from the game of pool and refers to someone being in a bad or difficult position. If a colleague gives a presentation at work and it doesn’t go well because they weren’t prepared or if someone misses a project deadline because they started working on the project too late, someone might say that they were, “behind the eight-ball”.

Here is a list of additional sports slang: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sports_idioms.

It’s Not Always “A Piece of Cake” (i.e., Easy)

Not all American slang phrases or terms are related to sports. If someone tells you to “hold your horses”, it means they want you to wait or calm down. This phrase comes from a time when horses were a major form of transportation and it literally meant to pull up on a horse you were riding or driving from a wagon to make the horse stop.

A “couch potato” is someone who sits on the couch all day watching television. It can be used to refer to people who are lazy.

Here is a list of additional slang: http://www.fluentu.com/english/blog/essential-english-idioms/?lang=en

Let’s “Cut to the Chase” (i.e., Get to the Point)

So, if you are in a situation where people around you are using slang, “don’t have a cow” (i.e., be worried). Use the situational or conversational context to figure out what they are saying. Or, you could ask! Most Americans will be happy to explain what they mean.