Looking for an Internship

Read about CCD Student Associate Anna French, and her advice on searching for an internship!

Internships. We hear about them all the time as students, from not only our parents but also our peers. It seems like all our fellow students around us have one or are waiting to hear back regarding their acceptances. If you have not started looking for an internship yet, do not worry. You have plenty of time. The best time to apply for internships as a student who is busy with school and extracurricular activities is winter break. Why? You no longer have schoolwork to bog down your afternoons and most of your extracurricular’s are probably on campus, giving you additional free time. If you return home to your family during winter break you also have the support and knowledge of those you love and trust.

Speaking of family, your families are a prime source of advice. If you are trying to write a cover letter for your internship and can’t find time to swing by the Career Center before you go home try asking your parents, aunts, uncles, and older cousins. Most likely they’ve all written cover letters before, if not for an internship then for a job application. Additionally, your families and family friends act as your first tier of networking. If you are having a hard time finding the type of internship you want on Handshake, try asking those you are close to whether or not they know of anyone who would like to have, or are accepting applications for, interns. Usually someone will say they know of a company who is looking for interns. You can then go and research the position and the company to see whether or not you think you would like to apply there.

As for the application process, you should remember that different companies have different requirements. Some only require your resume. More often than not, though, you will have to provide a cover letter stating who you are, why you want to work there, and why you think that you’re a good fit for the internship position. The key to writing a successful cover letter is doing your research on the company. For example, take a look at the About and Mission pages on the company’s website. These should tell you what sort of environment, work ethic, and goals the company likes to promote and uphold. Tailor your cover letter to reflect these qualities by pulling key descriptor terms from these pages to put into your letter; doing so will show the employer you have vested interest in their work and truly want to work for them. However, do not lie or exaggerate your personality or your experiences. If you are not energetic and the company portrays itself as fast-paced, don’t tell them you are upbeat all the time. Focus on other qualities about the company that you appreciate and be yourself. After all, if you get accepted, your employers will quickly discover any discrepancies between your words and your behaviors, so it is best to avoid them in the first place.

Finally, waiting to hear back can be excruciating and if you get rejected, painful. I just want to remind you: there are many other applicants who are applying for internships, all of them qualified. Yes, you were rejected, but you weren’t the only one who was rejected; others were too. Also, there are many internships out there, and new ones are being posted all the time, so don’t give up hope if you weren’t accepted. Who knows, maybe that internship wasn’t meant for you and a better one will come your way and change your life.

Research during your Undergraduate Experience

Read about CCD Student Associate David Thole, and his 2018 summer research experience!

Ever since beginning high school, there was a word – an idea, almost an unachievable goal for how fantastic it seemed at the time – that always fluttered out in some fantasy world for me. Research. It’s something that many colleges preach as a competitive factor at their school – ‘students have the opportunity to participate in faculty-led research, or generate ideas of their own, and pursue them through different programs’ – and it’s hailed as an almost necessary experience in order to pursue higher education.

And, for good reason! Research is hard. Seriously hard, and it teaches you a lot about yourself and the topic you’re researching. This past year, I began to discover a love for the field of chemistry and started a conversation with one of my professors, Dr. Mitchell Anstey, about a research position during the summer. After writing a mock proposal, I was accepted onto his research team and participated in a ten-week faculty-led research experience over the summer. During the ten weeks, I continued working on a project that had already been started by another student, Claudia Hernandez, involving the molecular synthesis of a complex ligand that had potential for electrochemical implementation (pun intended, for the physicists and chemists reading this). There are, of course, some nitty gritty details regarding the chemistry of the project, but I don’t want to focus on that (you can swing by Wall 246 and see my poster if you’re interested though!). Rather, this summer was the first time where this previously unattainable and idealized experience was suddenly thrust in front of me. Through the experience, I learned a lot more than just chemistry and I also started to really understand why research experience was regarded so highly by potential employers and graduate schools.

Patience was the first trait that was tested during the summer. Patience is a virtue, they say. Well, when you spend two weeks (80 hours!) trying to find the right conditions to run a reaction, and you can’t seem to find anything that works, patience definitely isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, that’s the nature of research. Some things work, and some things are a complete bust. Kind of like life, right? I consider myself a pretty patient person, but kudos to my labmates this summer for tolerating my less-than-flowery word choice in situations where things didn’t quite go my way. If you get involved in a research project, failure and setbacks are inevitable, and people know that. This is one of the reasons why a research experience can be extremely valuable.

Obviously, another thing that research requires – and shows to higher institutions – is a supreme level of intellect that separates you from others, right? Wrong! Very wrong. I’ve said it before, and I maintain this perspective; I think anyone could’ve done exactly what I did this summer with similar results. In reality, what my research required – and what I think any research requires – is interest, a positive attitude, and a killer work ethic. You are the one in control of your project, so you decide how to use your time and what you accomplish is directly correlated to how much time you put into it. Now, I’m a big procrastinator, so research this summer was definitely a wake-up call. At times where I felt tired, or unsure of how to continue, what I had to do was push past that rather than let my fatigue or boredom control my decision. Because, face it, research can also be seriously boring. For the rest of our lives, we’re going to inevitably have times where we are at a fork in the road faced with decisions, and pushing through perceived discomfort will help us become stronger and more resilient people.

I just wanted to touch on one more aspect of research. Like I said earlier, there is such a huge emphasis on finding research opportunities – from your high school, from your undergraduate institution, and from institutions moving forward. However, from my experience this summer, I really don’t think that research should ever be this concept anyone holds on a pedestal and sees as a necessary requirement for continuing their educations or pursuing any dream (of course, if you want to do research for a living, it’s kind of important, but that’s a completely different story). I’m interested in PA school, and with that in mind, I think a clinical internship or some sort of medical experience would have been substantially more helpful towards my future career. Of course, I could’ve loved research and wanted to do it for the rest of my life. And research is such a crucial field for the betterment of society, which is another reason why it’s so highly regarded by higher institutions, so I am glad that I was able to learn more about myself and about research this past summer. However, I just want to affirm that you should never feel discouraged or disappointed if you are unable to get a research position during your undergraduate experience.

That being said, if you do want research, Davidson is an incredible place to get that process started! Study hard, latch onto something that seems super cool, go to office hours, and start that conversation with your professor. You should also never feel like you’re not good enough for research either, because I seriously believe that anyone can research and make some awesome discoveries. Also, research can be in any field, and there’s something so transformative about creating knowledge for yourself – and making a project personal – as opposed to just being fed information in a classroom setting. You’ll never know what you’ll discover when you take that extra step.

Changing Career Paths

Read about CCD Student Associate Charlee Rae Bender, and her 2018 summer experience!

It seems counterintuitive, but there is a certain peace that comes with uncertainty- especially in those moments where all the plans you set up for yourself change without warning.

This is a lesson I wasn’t forced to learn until this past summer living alone in New York City.

At the end of May, I had managed to secure an internship working for a Production and Public Relations firm located just north of the financial district in New York City. I didn’t know anyone, but I knew living on my own would not only provide valuable lessons in independence, but also meaningful work experience.

I landed in LaGuardia with Law School on my mind and Elle Woods as my professional role model. However, I found my plans and interests having radically shifted by the time I left.

Within a week, I was nestled in one of the skyscrapers of Times Square at 6:30 a.m. managing four phone lines, connecting our spokesperson to various news stations and figuring out how to put our camera’s picture up on satellite. The fast-paced energy on studio days was something I immediately loved. I was in awe of the caliber of work the studio managers, technical crew and camera men produced, while living a life untethered to a desk.

With each studio visit and every bit of exposure to the broadcasting and entertainment industry, I knew this was it. I had actual hands-on experience that confirmed my newfound passion and further encouraged me to pursue this path.

Each and every person with whom I worked had a different story and different journey to get to the same place. This meant that for the first time in my life, I had no exact steps I could follow that would bring me to my goal. It would take slow, incremental change and a lot of patience to build towards this new career path.

It wasn’t long before obstacles began to arise. How was I supposed to pursue journalism, broadcasting, production, directing and acting all at once? How would a Philosophy major get me there? What if I wanted to keep Law School as a viable option? These questions were paralyzing and halted any and all progress.

I needed to take a step back and re-focus my scope.

I was so narrowed in on what I envisioned ultimate success to be that I lost sight of what was in front of me. It was time to slow down and appreciate the opportunities as they came. I needed to trust and have faith in my own instincts when they told me this journey would slowly unfold as long as I was dedicated and committed to the pursuit.

If you take nothing else from this- please know that the plans to which you may have been committed are worth foregoing if you find yourself losing interest- even if the other option does not provide the same sense of security and requires working harder to get there. Davidson is type of place that allows for and supports this journey of slowly discerning passions and interests- so take advantage of the time and resources while they are available.

My Moment of Truth

Read about CCD Student Associate Timmy Douglas, and his experience with the Hurt Hub! 

Everybody loves to have money in their pocket, and I do too. For a few years now, I have been obsessed with the idea of financial freedom. In pursuit of this idea, I read a lot of success stories about people who have achieved financial freedom and want to share their journey. A lot of the stories I read involve entrepreneurship, but also about how important it is to control your time and not chase after frivolous things. I would love to own a business one day so I can control my time and spend most of it with the things of real value in my life.

An important aspect of owning a business is networking because the more people you know, the more opportunities you will find. Furthermore, you cannot do anything alone; everybody needs help. As a sophomore in college, I find it hard to make business connections without playing a part, or being somebody that I am not in an interview that puts me in a job I don’t want to be in. Where will I ever find this network?

My Professor, Dr. Martin, had the idea to have his office hours on Wednesday at the Hurt Hub. I was very confused because after being at Davidson for a year, you think you know all the local spots, but I had never heard of this before.

Conveniently, The Hurt Hub was established this year and is a site that is intended to connect local businesses and entrepreneurs with students that are looking to be involved with the business world. Also, the Hurt Hub encourages start-up culture.

I am very thankful that I attended Dr. Martin’s office hours because not only did I learn, but I got to experience the Hub and see the potential it had for my life. Now I can see if my money is where my mouth is. I know that I will be making time to attend the Hub and find out just how helpful it can be! I think the potential is unlimited and I would encourage you to join me in pursuing the Hurt Hub.

For more information go to: http://hurthub.davidson.edu/about-the-hub/

To be a Part of Social Change and Involvement in the Community

This blog was written by Evelyn Morris ’18, 2018-2019 Davidson Impact Fellow for the Matthews Free Medical Clinic.

Less than three months ago I was walking across the graduation stage; fast forward a matter of weeks and here I am standing in a conference room at the head of long table surrounded by an educated and powerful group of people giving a presentation on statistics that I had researched and compiled. Halfway through my fourth week at the Matthews Free Medical Clinic I presented a mid-year report on key clinic statistics to the board of directors at their annual planning meeting.

Leading up to the presentation I was grappling with a mixture of emotions: excited for this incredible opportunity, nervous about whether or not I belonged in a space like this after just graduating, and confident since I had spent weeks researching and preparing materials. In retrospect, I had no reason to feel intimidated by the opportunity presented to me, and in fact, my newness might have even been a strength because it gave me a new perspective to draw upon during my presentation. I drew many lessons from this experience but one I want to share with you all is that any student coming out of Davidson does in fact belong in these spaces more typically reserved for more experienced, higher educated persons and we are more prepared than we know.

As evidenced by the fact that I presented to the board during my fourth week of work, this job has already given me incredible autonomy and responsibility. I am currently writing a grant application for the clinic to secure continuous glucose monitors for our diabetic patients to wear. These devices take blood glucose readings every 15 minutes and store the data until their next provider appointment. Data from the monitors are then used to make more personalized treatment recommendations, ultimately increasing patient quality of life. I have been in charge of drafting the grant after initial collaboration meetings with our pharmacist who I will be working with to implement the program if the funds are secured. Being continuously given important projects that require me to learn new skills has really reinforced the fact that we as Davidson graduates are capable and able to tackle most any project to come our way.

My summer 2018 internship in South Korea: Gaining experience and a different perspective

CCD Student Associate Nate Campbell had an amazing summer studying abroad, volunteering and completing research in South Korea. Read about his experience! 

Through funding from Davidson College grants, I was fortunate enough to travel, conduct research, and volunteer in South Korea at HOLT, an orphanage for disabled people. Though I previously visited Korea before, this experience was my first opportunity to academically pursue a potential career choice of mine. Through participation observation and in-person interviews I wanted to discover the sociocultural factors responsible for the decline in transnational adoptions and what effects those changes bring to orphans, biological mothers, adoption agencies, and adoptive parents.

Perhaps the most fulfilling experiences came through working with the disabled children and adults at HOLT. With over two hundred residents and limited housemothers, my volunteer work included taking wheel-chaired residents for walks and helping with activities like puzzles, basketball, coloring books, and any other activity that provided them a space outside of their monotonous everyday lives. The relationships I developed with each resident, especially the younger children truly inspired me through their happiness and pure joy; it gave me a different perspective on love and the meaning of life.

The research portion of my summer allowed me to speak with HOLT staff, some of who have been living there since HOLT’s beginning in 1955, which provided me with their personal stories and opinions on the direction transnational adoption is heading. The South Korean government is cracking down on international adoptions in protection of biological mothers’ and the orphans’ rights and records, but this is putting a strain on the requirements for adoptive parents and lengthening the wait time before orphans are connected with families.

child on bicycle two children  Davidson student and children

Aside from the educational piece of my summer abroad experience, I cannot stress the amazing foods, tourist sights, and cultural immersion I gained from being in South Korea. The new atmospheres, new relationships, and new traditions learned compile a multitude of the beneficial exposures of going abroad!

Korean skyline seafood dish boat on river

Learning in the Postgraduate Setting

This blog was written by Claire Kane ’18, 2018-2019 Davidson Impact Fellow for the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC).

Twice a year, physicians at the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) lead medical brigades to a mountainous region of Honduras, near the town of Camasca, where they provide medical care for families living in rural villages. For the past several years, MAHEC’s Davidson Impact Fellow has been given the opportunity to attend the trip and work alongside physicians, medical students, pharmacists, nurses, and other learners to provide care to this historically underserved population. Excited by the prospect, I quickly agreed to join this year’s August brigade without thinking through what exactly my role on the trip would entail. After the first day of clinic, I realized that because I am not qualified to provide medical care and my Spanish is conversational at best, my responsibilities were limited. Initially I felt both embarrassed and disappointed that I could not contribute more to the clinics’ operations, especially given the high volume of patients that came in to receive care. However, within days, several of the medical students attending the trip encouraged me to utilize the daily clinics as learning opportunities by shadowing them, posing questions, and speaking Spanish with patients. Thanks to those students, by the time the trip was over, I had learned how to use an otoscope, how to perform joint injections for knee osteoarthritis, how to identify the physical manifestations of a parasite infection, and much more. Yet, when I reflect back on the trip, the technical skills or medical terminology that I learned are not what stands out. Instead, I remember the ways in which the medical students taught me to embrace learning in the postgraduate “professional” world.

Like many young adults entering into postgraduate life, when I began my first professional work experience as an Impact Fellow at MAHEC, I felt a sense of pressure to perform and impress my coworkers and supervisors. This pressure translated into my hesitancy to ask questions, to be vulnerable, and to ask for help. I didn’t want to burden the providers that I worked with, who simultaneously juggle their clinical practice alongside community engagement and education initiatives. Ironically, it took me traveling all the way to Honduras to understand that everyone at the Mountain Area Health Education Center, medical students and administrators alike, truly embodies and embraces the organizational mission to cultivate learning. At MAHEC, we are often dealing with complex issues including the treatment of substance use disorder and the ever-changing status of our healthcare system and I have realized that I can only do my job well insofar as I understand the dynamics at play. Ultimately, understanding requires being vulnerable, admitting my shortcomings, asking for assistance, and opening my mind to new ways of learning and doing. While Davidson prepared me well to adapt in this way, the postgraduate setting has still felt like a substantial change from the learning environment that I had grown accustomed to during my four years at Davidson. Whereas at Davidson, learning opportunities were always directly accessible, learning in the professional world oftentimes requires you to apply more effort in order to receive the answers to your questions. As a result, I have recognized that learning curves will accompany every transition throughout my professional career, but a sense of adaptability and resilience that I developed at Davidson, along with a willingness to question and learn that I have developed at MAHEC will sustain me through the challenges.

 

 

Five Simple Tips for a Successful Job Search

Whether you’re seeking an internship, your first post-grad role, or a career in a new industry, the idea of job searching can cause anyone to sweat. While nerves are normal, keeping a cool head and thinking strategically can turn the process from stressful to seamless. As you look for your next position, remember these five simple tips built to set you up for success.

  1. Make sure your resume is in tip-top shape
    Think of your resume as your marketing tool. It doesn’t need to encompass everything you’ve ever done, but you’ll want to make sure that it highlights your strengths and key relevant experiences. When it comes to your bullet points, don’t just list what you did in each role. Use dynamic action verbs to convey how your skill set contributed to the overall organization. Let those transferable skills shine!
  2. Master that cover letter
    Hiring managers can tell when you’re using a generic cover letter, so don’t take a shortcut! Whereas your resume should highlight your key experiences, your cover letter should speak specifically to how your background and career interests make you an ideal candidate for the position. Do your research on the employer, pay close attention to the job description, and focus on what makes you uniquely qualified for the role. Don’t forget to proofread and make sure your writing is tight and effective.  Communication skills are just as important as content.
  3. Utilize those resources
    No matter your grad year, the Center for Career Development is here to support you, and we can point you to countless resources as well. Davidson students and alumni can search thousands of jobs, internships, and experiential learning opportunities through Handshake, and more postings are added every day. (Alums wishing to receive access to Handshake can contact us at careers@davidson.edu.) Under the Handshake “Resources” page, you’ll also find industry-specific guides, as well as tips on becoming the Best Intern Ever and information on fellowships and scholarships. Of course, there is no substitute for one-on-one career advising, so we encourage you to schedule an appointment with a career advisor in person, over the phone, or via Skype!
  1. Connect for some career conversations
    If you’re looking to gain insight into a career or company, speaking directly with someone in the industry can be invaluable. A career conversation is an excellent opportunity to get a feel for an organization, ask a seasoned pro how they got their start, and even gain feedback as you prep for an interview. Davidson students and grads will find an unparalleled resource in the Davidson Career Advisor Network (DCAN), which is comprised of alumni, parents, and members of the Davidson community who are experts in their fields and are eager to support fellow Wildcats on their career journeys. If you’re on LinkedIn (and you should be!),  be sure to join the 6,000+ members of the Davidson College Network  and search for alums by company, class year, or industry through the Davidson Database.    
  1. Take a breather
    Searching for a job is a job itself. Take care of yourself during the process! Dedicate scheduled time to searching and applying for positions, but make sure that you are also carving out time to do the things you enjoy. Have lunch with a friend, see a movie, or simply take a walk. You’ll return to your search rejuvenated, refreshed, and ready to see things with a clear perspective.

Some job searches are swift, some are lengthy. Have patience and remember that it’s all a normal part of the process. And when you land that position? Let us know about it! We love to hear your success stories and can’t wait to cheer you on as you embark on your next journey.

The Center for Career Development Welcomes Three New Team Members

Lindsey Dolan, Abby Brown, and Stephanie Burns join the Center for Career Development
Lindsey Dolan, Abby Brown, and Stephanie Burns join the Center for Career Development team

The new year is a time for beginnings, and the Center for Career Development is ringing in 2018 with three new assistant directors. Stephanie Burns, Lindsey Dolan, and Abby Brown are thrilled to be joining the team and can’t wait to utilize their backgrounds and experiences in non-profit, higher education, marketing, and professional development to help Davidson students achieve their career goals.

A recent transplant from Massachusetts, Stephanie Burns earned both her MFA in Creative Writing and BA in Theater Studies from Emerson College in Boston. For over a decade, Stephanie has worked in various roles within higher education, using her experience as a writer to focus on communication and marketing. Stephanie has worked to help undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies students succeed, most recently guiding students on the path to graduate school as Assistant Director of Graduate Admission at Suffolk University. “I know what it was like to be embarking on my career without knowing the best place to start,” she says. “ I know what it was like to know what I wanted to do, but not know how to get there.  That’s why I’m passionate about helping students take those critical first steps that will lead them into the vibrant careers they’re looking for, and I’m so looking forward to working with the high-achieving, dynamic student body here at Davidson.”

Ovid, MI native Lindsey Dolan earned her Master of Public Administration degree from Wayne State University and her BS in Public Health from Central Michigan University. With a background in the non-profit sector, Lindsey comes to us most recently from the Muscular Dystrophy Association, where she worked with families diagnosed with muscle diseases and connected them to resources and services to assist with daily living needs, along with planning for future needs and goals.  She served as director of MDA’s annual summer camp, where kids go to spend “the best week of the year” building friendships and gaining confidence and independence. “I’ve always loved and valued education and I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with students in preparing for their career or next educational path,” she says.  “I look forward to working and engaging employer partners to bring exciting career opportunities to students.”

Abby Brown most recently served as Assistant Director of Professional Development for the Niblock Student Center at UNC Charlotte’s Belk College of Business. In this role, she delivered professional development workshops, managed the internships for academic credit program, and co-led the school’s Business Learning Community. Hailing from Belmont, NC, Abby earned her bachelor’s degree in Art History at UNC Charlotte and her master’s degree in Management and Leadership from Liberty University. On joining the Wildcat community, Abby says, “I am most excited about having the opportunity to work closely with Davidson’s students and guide them in realizing and achieving their career goals. Additionally, I am looking forward to working in a highly impactful, collaborative team environment.”

Along with the rest of the Center for Career Development team, Stephanie, Lindsey, and Abby look forward to engaging with students during our many events and one-on-one advising appointments throughout the year. As always, students are encouraged to keep a close eye on Handshake for upcoming workshops, networking opportunities, and career information sessions with industry leaders.

Center for Career Development & Alumni Relations Host ‘Beers & Careers’ Event

The Center for Career Development partnered with Alumni Relations to host a Beers and Careers event during Homecoming Weekend, welcoming nearly 40 early-career alumni to the Center’s newly renovated space for an afternoon of networking and collaborating.

Early-career alumni networking during Homecoming weekend in the Center for Career Development

“Alumni Relations and the Center for Career Development are jointly committed to the professional success of our early-career alumni,” said Ashley Neff, Associate Director of Alumni Relations. “We added Beers and Careers to the Homecoming schedule to provide a low-key networking opportunity and to illustrate how both of our offices’ teams are available and accessible to early-career alumni after graduation.”

 

The event brought together alumni from around the country as former Wildcats shared their post-Davidson plans, where they’re working and what they’re studying, and learned about career development resources still available to them as they launch their professional lives.

“It’s always fun to catch up with the students we’ve worked with for several years to see how their post-Davidson life is shaping up, especially at an event like Homecoming, where alumni are excited to be connecting with their peers” said Jamie Stamey, Associate Director for Employer Relations.

The Center for Career Development offers extensive resources for alumni to cultivate career connections and support the early ‘learning and earning’ years for talented Davidson graduates who are taking their initial steps on the career journey.

Career advisors are readily available to assist early-career alumni with their professional development. The Center provides virtual advising in the areas of resume and cover letter review, mock interviews, early-career job search, and graduate and professional school, including pre-law and premedicine/allied health advising. Additionally, the Center empowers alumni with Handshake access, showcasing thousands of opportunities tailored for early-career Wildcats.

For more information, alumni are encouraged to check out the Alumni Career Digest, a bi-weekly digest through the College Enews which updates alumni on the latest activity and opportunities through the Center, showcases pertinent events and news, highlights the professional lives and career development of key alumni, and spotlights numerous job opportunities.