Posts Tagged alumni

Savvy Seniors: Know Who You Are

Posted on October 30, 2014 with No Comments

Ben Mervis

A Networking story by Ben Mervis, ‘12
Account Manager @ Rescue Social Change Group

Before walking in to a networking event or job interview, I tell myself: “you have the experience and you have the hunger.” Most importantly, I remind myself to be confident. Then, I wipe the nervous sweat off my palms, stride into the venue and shake some hands.

As a Senior at UVM, I worked on my confidence by building my best story: “I’ve spent the last 4 years developing skills in marketing strategy and campaign implementation, and have a sincere interest in socially responsible businesses and marketing.” I tested different versions and lengths of this in front of the mirror, over dinner with friends and at networking events of every type. I realized that each time I told my story I understood more about who I was and what I was looking for.

I met my life-changing connection on Church Street. His name is Jeff, and he was visiting from California; his non-traditional marketing agency works with different branches of State and Federal Governments to develop behavior change marketing campaigns.  After staying in-touch via LinkedIn and other means, Jeff introduced me to his client, and I began working for the Vermont Department of Health coordinating social marketing campaigns. I launched my career as the direct liaison to Jeff’s marketing agency, in-addition to other marketing and advertising contractors. Eighteen months later I moved to California to work for Jeff as the Account Manager on a National tobacco-prevention campaign.

The Takeaway:

  1. Figure out what you ACTUALLY want to do.  Conversations with people will help you get there by exploring the different roles and fields where you can apply your skills.
  2. Talk to people. Tell your story. You never know where that connection will take you.
  3. Follow-up! My company’s CEO constantly says “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” I say that it’s the tactful, confident and persistent (within reason) applicant that gets the job.

You have the experience, you have the hunger, now go shake some hands!

World of Work: Hannah Richman ’08, California State Parks

Posted on October 8, 2014 with No Comments

Hannah Richman in her Park Ranger uniformHannah Richman ‘08
State Park Peace Officer (Ranger), California State Parks
Major: Anthropology & Political Science

How would you describe what you do on a typical day?

As a Park Ranger, I am charged with protecting the parks from the people and the people from the parks. It’s a balancing act between allowing people to explore and enjoy California State Parks while protecting the area for future generations to experience.

Tell us about your career path to this position.

I was an Anthropology major at UVM and had no idea what I wanted to do after I graduated. During my senior year of college, I went to a race at Angel Island State Park in California. When I got off the ferry, there was a Park Ranger on the island who struck up a conversation with me based on my hat (a State Parks hat I found at a thrift store). We started talking about his position and what an amazing job it was. He suggested that I go to the website and apply for a position in the spring. From there, it took me approximately 2 ½ years to get my job with the California State Parks and now I can’t imagine doing anything else.

What is your favorite part of your work?

Every park has different needs. At my current park I spend the majority of my time patrolling in various off-road vehicles, making sure the people are behaving safely, and rendering first aid where needed. A part of why I like my job so much is that I am not confined to doing just one thing. I always wanted to be a lawyer, teacher, doctor, or someone who doesn’t have to sit in an office all day. As a Park Ranger I am an EMT who gets to practice my skills on a regular basis, I have an extensive understanding of the law and the criminal justice system, and every day I get to speak with the public and teach them about the area they are visiting. As a bonus, I learn more about California’s natural and cultural resources every day.

What three words would describe your work environment?

Dynamic, Challenging, Entertaining

What advice do you have for students searching for jobs or internships in your field?

Anyone who is interested in working for California State Parks should go to www.parks.ca.gov and look under the jobs or volunteer headings. There are many opportunities to work for State Parks either as a volunteer or as a paid employee. Some of the jobs are part-time and seasonal positions and others are full-time employment. The Park Ranger position has many steps. Once the position is announced, the first step would be filling out a standard application found on the State Parks website.

Top 5 Tips to Make the most out of LinkedIn this Summer

Posted on June 25, 2014 with No Comments

LinkedIn

Whatever you are doing this summer (job, internship, volunteering, travel), you are probably meeting interesting people. Stay connected with your summer connections through LinkedIn. Here are 5 simple tips to keep in mind as you network on LinkedIn:

1. Connect with a purpose.  LinkedIn is a professional social network, not a personal social network.  Don’t spam professionals with connections requests, be thoughtful and connect with a purpose.

2. Include a personal note in your connection request.  Why are you reaching out to connect?  To learn more about a members career path?  To set up a 15 minute call to learn about your prospective professional connection?  State your purpose in the connection request.

3. Participate in group conversations that align with your professional goals.

4. Follow the companies you aspire to work for and learn more about.

5. Share relevant, professional, through provoking content. Look like a thought leader as a young professional.

And remember to join UVM alumni groups on LinkedIn as well!
University of Vermont Career Connection on LinkedIn
UVM Alumni Association on LinkedIn

Good luck to you all and be confident that you can do anything you set your mind to.

Cheers,
John Kelly O’Connor, ‘05
Account Executive
LinkedIn Marketing Solutions

World of Work: Anh-Thu Ngoc Lam ‘11, Christopher A. Walsh Laboratory, Boston Children’s Hospital

Posted on May 2, 2014 with No Comments

Anh-Thu Ngoc Lam headshotAnh-Thu Ngoc Lam ‘11
Research Technician, Department of Genetics and Genomics
Christopher A. Walsh Laboratory, Center for Life Science, Boston Children’s Hospital
Major: Biochemistry and Spanish, Honors College
Graduate Program: Human Genetics & Molecular Biology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (Fall 2014)

How would you describe what you do on a typical day?

Apart from a handful of basic technical duties that I am in charged of in the lab, I work closely with MD and PhD Post-Doctoral fellows to develop their research projects. I am part of a team whose goals are to discover genetic mutations involved in various brain malformation diseases in humans. Our goal is to uncover the genes involved in brain development and to better understand how these genes regulate brain functions.

By studying individuals affected with these conditions, we are able to identify the associated genes and their mutations. From that information, we can try to understand how those genes affect various biological processes in regards to brain development. We use MRI to help us see and confirm the structural abnormalities and guide us to a better understanding of the site of action and the function of the gene(s) involved. We hope that this will lead to better options for diagnosis, management and treatment for affected individuals and their families.

What advice do you have for students searching for jobs or internships in your field?

Get yourself involved in research early on in your undergraduate careers by taking the initiative. Speak to your professors about internships, summer research opportunities, and available science grants that you could apply to. Gaining research experience will benefit a lot when it is time to job search or go on to graduate studies.

Find a good adviser who will nurture you academic and scientific growth. There are two UVM professors that I must thank for their continuous support and guidance from when I first started at UVM, to entering the work force, and even till today as I prepare to transition into my PhD education. The first is professor is Dr. Bryan Ballif of the Department of Biology who accepted me into his lab even with no prior research experience. He personally taught me lab techniques and was also part of my thesis committee. The other professor is Dr. Carmen Pont who taught some of my Spanish and French classes. They both have been my perpetual guides as I attempted to navigate my myriad of academic interests, encouraging me to pursue what excites me most, to follow through with what I am passionate about. People, especial mentors, are the most valuable resources! Network and build connections everywhere you go and with everyone that you meet!

How did your time at UVM, both in and out of the classroom, prepare you for your position? My time at UVM was transformative. UVM opened my eyes to many educational possibilities. As a dual degree student, I had access to a balanced exposure of both arts and sciences through two well-established departments: Biochemistry and Romance Languages and Linguistics. I was able to take classes with faculty and classmates who represented a rich spectrum, from top scholars and researchers to passionate and enthusiastic students. Through the Honors College, I was given the opportunity to collaborate with a very dynamic group of scientists early on and by defending an Honors Thesis, I learned to effectively and successfully communicate my research not only to specialists, but also to nonscientists by modifying my explanations according to my audience.

Outside of academics, I was part of the UVM Taekwondo Club and MEDLIFE, which I still continue to be a part of long after graduating. I was also a part of the choir at the UVM Catholic Center and volunteered at the Fletcher Allen Hospital Pediatric ward right on campus.

UVM provided me with an environment to meet people from different backgrounds, all with something to teach me. I am grateful for the quality education that I have received at UVM and will continue to build on the solid foundation wherever life takes me.

What is your favorite part of your work? Most challenging part?

During my time as a research technician at Boston Children’s Hospital, I have seen the excitement of searching for new knowledge and have learned the pivotal role science plays in the advancement of medicine. Though I have faced many frustrations and numerous failures at the bench side, it is with determination and persistence through the frustrations and failures and seeing a project through its entirety balanced with the implications of the results that truly make the dedication rewarding. Knowing that I play an integral role in the research that is being done and seeing the results help improve clinical care are some of the reasons why I love my job. I am grateful to be in such a rewarding field with opportunities for continual growth and advancement in the future.

What was your childhood dream job?

My childhood dream job was and still is to become a physician scientist. I am tackling my dream one step at a time and hope to be able to accomplish it one day!

Savvy Seniors: Want to Join the Team?

Posted on March 5, 2014 with No Comments

Blue Cross Blue Shield Staff on stairs preparing for race

How to Interview like a Pro: Tips from a Local Recruiter

For most people, an interview creates a lot of stress and anxiety—it is an intimidating way to make a great first impression. For most employers though, the goal of inviting an applicant in for an interview is to get to know them. It’s a meeting based around discovery. We want to know who you are and if you could successfully fit in with the culture of our organization, the position, and the department. We also want you to ask questions that can help you make a decision about whether our company is the right place for you.

Quick tips for standing out & having a successful interview:

  • Dress for the job you’re applying for. It’s okay to ask what the dress code is when you’re scheduling the interview.
  • Make eye contact, smile, and shake the interviewer’s hand.
  • Bring a few copies of your resume with you to the interview.
  • If you have a samples of something that relates to the position you’re applying for, have it on hand (i.e. for a graphic design position, bring some of your design work).
  • Don’t over-think things. Trying to perfect every sentence comes off as robotic.
  • Be natural and be yourself; it is okay to smile and laugh! We can sense when an applicant is putting on a façade.
  • Work experience and qualifications are important, but they’re not everything. We’re trying to find someone who “fits” in with the department and the company as a whole. Try to find something in common with the interviewer and make an emotional connection.
  • As the interview wraps up, ask what the next steps are. In most instances, recruiters are happy to let you know where they are in the hiring process and when you should expect to hear back.

~Myra Fundis, UVM ‘11
Human Resources Wellness Specialist with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont

Want to learn more? Join us and special guest National Life for:
Savvy Seniors: Interview Like a Pro: Tuesday, March 18, 12-1pm at the Hub

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