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.

Beware of Scams

By: Becky Smith & Kristen Eckman

Scams are not a new phenomenon, but the ways in which they are being delivered to you are always evolving, making deceitful postings more difficult to spot. Check out this email that was distributed across campus this week, thankfully it was spotted by many, including Dean Wenner:

Every semester, students bring scams to our attention – this is extremely helpful and we appreciate your diligence.

When you forward a suspicious email you received or tell us about an experience that made you think twice; you are helping us to ensure that other students are not being sucked into a possible scam.

 

 

We are here to help you spot a scam based on the following tips:

SUSPICIOUS EMAIL

  • Email is not written in native English and may include phrases we usually don’t use in business English, such as “many blessings upon you” or “God bless” (many legit employer emails are edited thoughtfully, even if you’re recruited by a non-native speaker)
  • Language is informal, more suited to social media or text, i.e., “BTW”, “2” instead of “two”
  • They email you multiple times, turning up the pressure. This is a common tactic to persuade skeptical students or stress them out so they aren’t thinking clearly. Do not respond; instead, forward suspicious messages to me for a second opinion.
  • The person who signs the email has a different name than the sender’s name
  • The message is sent from a non-corporate email, i.e., gmail or hotmail
  • The email address does not match the company’s URL on line, i.e., an email from wit.com when Wentworth’s website is wit.edu

SUSPICIOUS JOB DESCRIPTION

  • Get trained and promoted within 1-3 months
  • Jobs that mention “direct marketing”, “flexible schedule”, “work from home”, or a salary based on performance
  • Competitive incentives available if you meet targets (this implies you’ll likely be fired if you don’t meet the targets in a very short amount of time)
  • Job title implies that you will be an independent consultant (it implies that you are on your own – not much job security if you have challenges!)
  • A vague job description is also suspicious

INTERVIEW PROCESS

  • The employer does all the talking – is very energetic – seems to be selling the opportunity to you, seems to really like you, but isn’t asking any questions about your skills or trying to get to know you on a professional level

OTHER RED FLAGS

  • They extend a job offer without conducting an interview
  • The employer asks you to complete an assignment before work officially begins, i.e., sending a wire transfer, mailing a check (they want your money)
  • There is a lack of structure and/or lack of a job description
  • It is unclear who will be your supervisor

If you receive an email or participate in an interview that feels off somehow, immediately check with your Co-op + Career Advisor or stop by CO-OPS + CAREERS for advice from anyone on staff. To contact us stop by 101 Wentworth Hall, email coopsandcareers@wit.edu, or call 617-989-4101.

Event Recap: Spring 2018 CO-OP + CAREER Fair

By: Abbey Pober

Our annual Spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair was held on Tuesday, March 20th from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm in both Watson Auditorium and Tansey Gymnasium. The event drew over 200 employers ranging from small design firms to international high-tech organizations and everything in between. Over 500 students from all majors, seeking both co-op and full-time opportunities, spent the afternoon networking at the Fair. It was a truly interactive day with students showcasing their latest ideas and projects while experiencing the employers’ work first hand through VR demonstrations, prototypes, and scale models.

If you are a student who attended the CO-OP + CAREER Fair last week your next steps should be to follow up with employers by:

  • Sending a thank you email to the employers with whom you spoke. Find our guide to thank you notes here. If you need a reminder of which companies with whom you spoke The Fairs App is still available for reference.
  • If a recruiter gave you specific instructions, be sure to follow through on those items and then follow up with the recruiter.
  • Use this opportunity to include a copy of your resume, even if you gave them one at the Fair.
  • Unable to send a thank-you note for lack of contact information? Stay connected with social media: find the company or even the person you spoke with on LinkedIn or Twitter. Follow their feeds to stay up to date on new openings and other news!
  • You are always welcome to check in with your Co-op + Career Advisor to see if they can provide you with any helpful info, too.

If you were unable to attend the Fair this spring be on the lookout for future opportunities to connect with employers, including the announcement about the fall CO-OP + CAREER Fair. Check The Fairs App as we get closer to the fall Fair for updates on employers attending.

Employers, be on the lookout for future recruiting opportunities in the coming months, and for details about our fall semester events including the CO-OP + CAREER Fair and Mock Interview Day.

Thank you to all students and employers who joined on March 20th for the Fair. A special thank you to our sponsors: BOND Brothers, Bowdoin Construction, Commodore BuildersDACONElectric Supply CenterJLL, LAB Medical ManufacturingNOVO Construction, and TG Gallagher. Your support makes all the difference.

We look forward to seeing everyone at our next event.

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.

LGBTQ+ Friendly Employers and How to Find Them

There are some helpful lists out there of LGBTQ+ Friendly Employers. But what do you do if you are interested in working at a relatively new or small company that may not show up on those lists? Luckily there are actions you can take to assess just how friendly this company is to LGBTQ+ employees and they are all part of the regular job search: Do your research and ask questions.

When researching your targeted companies, be sure to look at how a company portrays themselves. Is there evidence that they value diversity and inclusion in the following?

  • Mission statement/overall profile
  • Top management: any minorities and women? Check out Hoovers the Resources for Co-ops section of our website.
  • Charities they support
  • Website and social media (for proof that the company values diversity in its employees, their customers and vendor partners)

Once you’ve researched the what the company says about itself, check outside sources. What is their recent history (are they walking the walk?) and how have they been rated?

The Company’s Employee Policies and Training can tell you a lot. Check for clues in their:

  •  Job postings, website or promotional materials – do they include statements about being an Equal Opportunity Employer?
  • Zero tolerance policies for discrimination, harassment and retaliation in the employee handbook?
  • Ask about training opportunities for employees and managers on diversity issues.

Do they have any LGBTQ+ Friendly Benefits?

  • Healthcare coverage for same sex spouses and domestic partners
  • Paid family leave (maternity, paternity, adoption) allowed for domestic partners as well as children of a domestic partners, regardless of biological or adoptive status
  • COBRA-equivalent benefits for domestic partners
  • Bereavement leave for death of a partner or their immediate family.

How about Employee Resource Groups?

Some companies have affinity or resources groups for LGBTQ+ employees. These groups provide opportunities to network and discuss challenges at work and strategies to overcome them. For the company, these groups help lower turnover and increase retention. Organizations may also have a diversity and inclusion office, diversity council or working group focused on employee diversity that includes LGBTQ diversity as part of its mission.

During the recruiting process however, emphasize qualifications

Focus on what makes you a well-qualified candidate for the position: skills, experience, education and abilities. An individual should never have to divulge their gender identity or sexual orientation. If a person decides to come out it should be on their own terms. Unfortunately, protections are not universal, and disclosure can open one up to discrimination. The best approach is to ask general questions re: benefits and diversity initiatives and compare that with your research.

Lastly, if you do get an offer from a company, but find that you are not comfortable working for them after all, it is okay to politely turn down an offer. And all that research was not for nothing, you know more about who you want to work for and who you don’t.

For more information, check our LGBTQ+ resources page for students: https://wit.edu/sites/default/files/coopscareers/LGBTQ%20Student%20Resources.pdf

Research strategies and questions provided by Fast Company: Six Steps for Finding LGBT-Friendly Companies

The Fall 2017 CO-OP + CAREER Fair

By: Chawney Weis & Abbey Pober

Our second annual Fall CO-OP + CAREER Fair was held on Tuesday, October 3rd from 2:30pm – 6:00pm in both Watson Auditorium and Tansey Gymnasium. This was the first time we held this event in two locations, with 214 employers in attendance. These employers ranged from small local construction firms to international high-tech organizations and everything in between. The buzz about campus surrounding the employers attending drew more than 850 students from all majors, seeking both co-op and full-time positions, to The Fair.

If you are a student who attended the CO-OP + CAREER Fair last week your next steps should be to follow up with employers by:

-Sending a thank you email to the employers with whom you spoke. Find our guide to thank you notes here. If you need a reminder of which companies with whom you spoke The Fairs App is still available for reference.
-If a recruiter gave you specific instructions, be sure to follow through on those items and then follow up with the recruiter.
-Use this opportunity to include a copy of your resume, even if you gave them one at the Fair.
-Unable to send a thank-you note for lack of contact information? Stay connected with social media: find the company or even the person you spoke with on LinkedIn or Twitter. Follow their feeds to stay up to date on new openings and other news!

If you were unable to attend the Fair this fall don’t miss the spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair on March 20th, 2018. Check The Fairs App as we get closer to the Spring Fair for updates on employers attending.

Employers, be on the lookout for future recruiting opportunities, including Mock Interview Day on November 7th, and our spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair on March 20th.

Thank you to all students and employers who joined on October 3rd for The Fair. A special thank you to our sponsors: Bowdin Construction, Dacon, Bond Brothers, dck Worldwide, Electric Supply Center, Teradyne, Novo Construction, PROCON, Timberline Construction Company, and the Wentworth Alumni Association. Your support makes all the difference.
We look forward to seeing everyone in the spring.

Choosing An Employer

By: Jason Gregoricus

A corporate employer or start up? Which is the right fit?

Larger corporations typically offer stability, regular hours, better pay, clearly defined roles and well-established support. Start-ups, on the other hand, tend to be more flexible about work hours, often require their employees to wear multiple hats and usually demand more creativity as a result.

Which one fits best for you is an important question. Let’s look at each in kind.

Large Corporations: They’re large because they’ve figured out what works in the marketplace and have grown because of it. So, when a company grows it usually compartmentalizes the work of various departments with clearly defined roles within them. Therefore, when you’re hired, you’ll know what is expected of you and how to grow within the company. (Relatedly, there are usually robus benefit packages – health, retirement, etc. – as well.)

Additionally, larger corporations usually prefer to hire from within – it’s convenient and less expensive than taking the administrative time to recruit/interview/hire. In the end, it’s all about relationships. People hire other people they know and like. Therefore, if you work for a company and would like to try something new, the chances of advancement and change are greater.

However, there are downsides. First, large corporations are usually not nimble. Change moves slowly – if at all – and when it does happen the process can be maddeningly slow. In larger organizations there are usually many stakeholders for every decision and idea. Therefore, the time it takes to implement those changes/ideas is exponentially proportional to the number of people it will affect. So, if you’re an impatient person, then the corporate atmosphere may not be right.
Start Ups: Conversely, working for a start up does have its perks.

First, start-ups are typically very exciting places to work. They often have a dynamic workforce and a swashbuckling energy that makes every day go by quickly. As a result you may find yourself taking on several different (read “seemingly unrelated”) aspects of the business. It is not uncommon with a small start up for a recent hire to handle shipping, sales and market research all in one week. The benefit of such a situation is that it allows a person to explore what they’re good at, and what they enjoy less.

Concurrently, in a small organization it is much easier to shine as all your contributions are obvious to everyone. Therefore, a start up could help you gain confidence, self-knowledge and a strong reputation. Conversely, however, the challenges at a small start up can be numerous.

First, the benefits may not be all that great. Start ups may allow you flexible hours – but incredibly long ones as well. Also, with some exceptions, they are operating with razor thin margins. Therefore retirement packages, vacation times, health insurance options all may be less than ideal – or not on offer at all. This can be compounded by the fact that many start up don’t have anyone working in human resources. So your options for support become even that much more limited.

Second, if you make a big mistake at a company it can have huge repercussions. Everyone knowing you did great is, well, great – but the other side of the coin is the public recognition of mistakes. It never feels good when the majority of your coworkers all know when you’ve made one.

So, in the end, where you choose to work will be decided by where you feel the most comfortable. But keep this in mind! Everything is fixable. Everyone who has worked long enough in the world has a story about a bad job or workplace situation. Just because you don’t fit in, or a job is not what you wanted or thought going in, there will always be another chance on the horizon.

So keep your head up and soldier on! Big or small, comfortable or nimble. Over time you will learn what works for you and that will be the right thing