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Reflections on Learning and Growing

This blog was written by Allison Cowie ’18, 2018-2019 Davidson Impact Fellow for the Salzburg Global Seminar.

As we are interviewing candidates for the 2019-20 DIF position at Salzburg Global Seminar, I can’t help but reflect on my past nine months here, and where I see the final three months of my fellowship going before I transition to a more permanent role at Salzburg Global.

When I arrived in Washington, DC, late last June, I was eager, optimistic, curious—ready to jump head-first into this phase of life. Barely a month out of college, suitcases still unpacked, I was surrounded by continual reminders of my newness to it all: my first lease to sign, a public transit system to figure out and a neighborhood to make my home, all to the rhythm of subway musicians and cicadas and city traffic echoing in the District’s heavy heat.

This sense of overwhelming wonder hit before I even showed up at Salzburg Global Seminar, which was the reason I had decided, three weeks earlier, to move to Washington in the first place. When I found out about the Salzburg DIF opening in the middle of taking my last set of final exams, immediately I knew I had just stumbled into the path of an amazing opportunity. To spend a year working for an organization committed to bringing together global leaders across generations, cultures and sectors sounded like a perfect fit: after tailoring my Davidson education to focus on international cultural studies and engagement experiences, I knew I wanted to continue to immerse myself in this world well beyond my four years in college.

The chance to learn from Salzburg Global’s uber-talented staff and contribute meaningfully to this organization’s work made it an easy decision to start life anew in DC after graduation. When I walked in that first morning, I was confident from conversations with Elizabeth, who held the DIF role in 2017-18, that whatever my day-to-day tasks ended up being, I would be working with a team of incredible people to support this organization’s valuable work. Throughout my time here, this has proven true even beyond what I could have expected: I not only find that the work I do substantially contributes to the organization’s success, but also feel like I have found a true vocation in which I can see myself continuing to learn and grow.

Thinking back to that time, nine months can feel like forever and a blink—since I first arrived in DC and at Salzburg Global Seminar, I have grown enormously both professionally and personally. In this past year of exploring who I am—in this job, in this city, in the many communities I now call home—my biggest realization has been that growth does not necessarily require constant change, at least not in the way I’d always approached growth before; that I can learn and grow while putting down roots instead of needing to move on right away to the next job, the next city, the next step. That’s why I’m especially excited to stay on with Salzburg Global after my DIF fellowship ends this summer: now that I have spent real time getting to know the organization, I am now ready and able to contribute to Salzburg Global in an even more meaningful capacity.

Attention Rising Sophomores Who Need Research Experience But Can’t Get Any because They Have None

Read about CCD Student Associate Haleena Phillips, and her experience with RISE
(Research in Science Experience) Program

Are you a rising sophomore who is interested in the sciences? Do you struggle finding research opportunities because they want you to have prior experience but nobody gives you a chance because you have none? Are you tired of my questions? If you answered yes to any of these options, continue reading this post!

            As ironic as it sounds, I’ve been through that exact moment when I applied for a research position at a different college but got rejected because I didn’t have any previous exposure to a lab. As upset as I was, I had to laugh as I realized  that I cannot obtain an experience when internships require prior involvement with a lab. Somebody had to give me a chance and that is exactly when I found out about Davidson’s RISE (Research in Science Experience) Program. A 4- week immersive program that explores biological research methods, from “literature searching and review, to hypothesis formulation and testing, to data analysis and presentation.” The program is mostly intended for underrepresented students but anyone can apply. In addition to the application, a letter of recommendation and a resume was required. The Center for Career Development  assisted me in crafting the perfect resume in order to be accepted into the program. I received a $2,500 stipend and additional grant money to stay on campus. I had such an amazing time over the 4 weeks executing a project in the lab. Also, staying at Davidson without the workload of a semester with your friends is the BEST. I was able to make my own schedule as I became established in the lab and was able to have that research experience under my belt as a freshman. When I returned back to campus in the fall as a sophomore, I presented at my first research symposium and I felt like I finally had  my life together in this hectic Davidson climate.

 My First Research Symposium!

For more information on RISE, please contact Mark Barsoum (mabarsoum@davidson.edu)

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/

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.

 

Peace Corps Visits Campus

During Common Hour on Thursday, September 7, I attended a Peace Corps information session. Going in, I had only a basic understand of what the Peace Corps was: an opportunity to work in a foreign country for about two years after college. Travel has always been an interest of mine; I spent 5 weeks in Spain this past summer with Davidson’s Cádiz program, and definitely want to study abroad for a semester as well. So naturally I was curious about Peace Corps and excited to attend the info session and learn more.

Deborah Buckley, a warm recruiter who previously served in Romania, started off the session with two YouTube videos from their website. These 2-minute programs revealed past Peace Corps participants trying (and struggling) to identify common objects from around the world. It was fascinating to witness their guesses, and notice how their opinions might be influenced by the area in which they served. These entertaining videos helped break-the-ice and exemplified how working with Peace Corps can shape your perspective.

But Deborah was not the only Peace Corps representative who came to Davidson last Thursday. After the videos, we met Alli, a recent graduate from Queens University in Charlotte. She acted as another resource and described her experience serving in South Africa over the past 2 years. Alli worked in education there, performing first as an assistant and eventually as a head teacher to children of many ages. Although she definitely detailed some of the more difficult experiences she encountered, it was clear by her tone of voice and the clear pride displayed on her face that she thoroughly enjoyed herself and returned to the United States a more confident and capable person. I found it crazy that Alli, someone probably only 5 years older than me, had already made such an impact in the small community she served. And it seemed as if the community gave her back just as much; the love she had for her host family, especially her little brother there, was clearly apparent.

Next, Deborah provided us with a lot of logistics: acceptance rates, application timelines, and resume tips – extremely helpful for juniors and seniors about to apply. And she not only provided basic information about these topics but also enthusiastically offered to personally assist any potential candidates. Admittedly, I was not quite as focused on these details since I’m a sophomore and not looking to apply imminently, but it was definitely comforting to know that there is (very friendly) support available if I decide to pursue Peace Corps in the future. Yes, 27 months away from home in a new country is a very daunting concept. But from what Deborah and Alli had to say, it seems like a risk worth taking (or at least considering)!

By: Emma Blake ’20

Headshot of Davidson Sophomore Emma Blake

Students walking in front of College Union with text: "Class of 2017 What's Next # After Davidson"

Class of 2017 Spotlights

As we celebrate the success of the class of 2017, let’s take a look at where some of our newest Wildcat alums are headed! Julia Sacha ’17 and Obai Kamara ’17 share with us their upcoming career plans and ways they leveraged the Center during their years at Davidson.

 

Julia Sacha '17
Julia Sacha ’17

We’re so excited for you – tell us about where you’re headed next #AfterDavidson!

I will be working as a clinical research coordinator for the Mountain Diabetes and Endocrine Center in Asheville, NC. 

What resources from the Center for Career Development proved most valuable to your professional development as a student?

The Career Center helped me ensure that my cover letters and resumes communicated everything I wanted them to. They were also very encouraging during the application process. Rebecca [Glavin] knew my interests and even started forwarding me job applications on Handshake. 

What is the most surprising interview question you’ve been asked?

I was once asked what the organization’s staff should dress up as next Halloween.

What one key piece of advice would you offer to rising Seniors?

Celebrate small victories. If you don’t get a job you were hoping for, you’ve still learned something about yourself in the process and increased your ability and comfort with communicating who you are and what you care about.

Obai Kamara '17
Obai Kamara ’17

We’re so excited for you – tell us about where you’re headed next #AfterDavidson!

I’m happy to say that I have found a job close to home, working as a cost and schedule analyst for Augur Consulting firm in Crystal City, Va.

What resources from the Center for Career Development proved most valuable to your professional development as a student?

As a college student at Davidson, we are involved in a lot of things, and I think the Center for Career Development does a good job of focusing our many talents and accomplishments in a way that makes us the most marketable to employers. I’d say the walk-in meetings were the most valuable for me because I was able to get a lot done in a short amount of time.

What is the most surprising interview question you’ve been asked?

Someone asked my where I was from, which was surprising because it’s one of the first things on my resume!

What one key piece of advice would you offer to rising Seniors?

Get to the Center early and often. The more you practice interviewing, the easier it becomes to vocalize everything you have been working on for the past three years. The staff is very friendly and they want to see you succeed, so they will do everything in their power to help you. 

Students at commencement with text "The Power of the Davidson Alumni Network"

The Power of the Davidson Alumni Network

When I speak with my friends and peers about post-grad plans, we all have different stories about how we found our first job. However, one thing we can all agree on is that landing that your first, straight-out-of-college career requires hard work, persistence and preparation. I’m writing this blog to tell you the not-so-elegant story of how I landed my first job out of college.

One day while perusing LinkedIn, convincing myself that I was working on my professional development, I accidentally tripped across my current employer. I kid you not, I wanted to see the power of the LinkedIn “Easy Apply” feature and, after a few clicks, was surprised by how easy it really was. In the matter of 30 seconds I had accidentally applied for a position I was dramatically under qualified for at a company called 2U. After a few moments of panic, I was able to withdraw my accidental submission. However, after looking into the company I had just accidentally applied for, I found that they were actually the company of my dreams, a technology company with the mission of making higher education more accessible.

A week later I scheduled a meeting with Jeanne-Marie Ryan, the Executive Director of the Center for Career Development, in order to strategize about my job search process. After expressing my interest in 2U, she gave me the contact information for Davidson Alum, Andy Thompson (’10), an employee of 2U. I connected with Andy within the next few days, had a great chat with him about his role at 2U and expressed my interest in joining the team. Presumably, Andy liked what he heard about my education and work background, because after we hung up he walked down the hall and recommended that HR review my application.

Fast forward a few weeks and many interviews later, and I have received and accepted an offer from 2U to work as a Marketing Associate in their office in the suburbs of Washington, DC. I could not be more excited about this opportunity, and sincerely believe I owe a large part of my success to the Davidson College alumni network.

In addition to 2U, Jeanne-Marie was able to connect me with Alumni at almost every company I applied to, whether it was a 30 person company or an almost 50,000 person company. Some panned out into offers and even for those that did not result in anything, I found the conversations to be extremely rewarding. The willingness of Davidson alumni to work on our behalf is encouraging. The support of the Davidson community extends far beyond this campus and I encourage all of my peers to think hard about tapping into the power of the Davidson alumni network in looking for jobs or making connections in new cities.

Cameron Causey ’17

Computer show HTML code with text "Revature - Careers in Technology"

Don’t Just Move Forward in Technology – Sprint Ahead

With technology careers in high demand, coding bootcamps have become an increasingly popular method for recent college grads to gain the additional skills needed to jump start a career in technology. Coding bootcamps are short, intense, training programs focused on teaching students the latest, in-demand technical skills. The average traditional coding bootcamp costs anywhere between $12,000 and $24,000. For many recent grads this cost is not a realistic option, given they may already be facing undergraduate student loans. Davidson College has partnered with a leading talent development company, Revature, to offer Davidson graduates a no-cost option that not only provides hands-on coding training, but also launches IT careers.

Revature is at the forefront of innovation and talent development. They provide training to recent college grads in enterprise-level, next-gen and niche technology through a world class 12-week immersive, industry aligned coding bootcamp. Revature’s talent development model is among the most inclusive and accessible in the nation. Graduates of the program become Revature professionals and work on innovative, challenging and rewarding software development projects for Revature corporate partners, including leading Fortune 500 companies, government organizations, and top systems integrator.

Camp includes:

  • A 12-week immersive, industry-aligned coding training program
  • Paid accommodations and a weekly living allowance during the training program
  • All books and training materials are provided at no cost
  • Professional certificates are paid for by Revature
  • Dedicated industry mentors to ensure your success during the training bootcamp and the first two years of employment
  • ePortfolio to showcase your projects, accomplishments, and certificates
  • Guaranteed employment for bootcamp graduates (positions located throughout the U.S.)

To be eligible for the bootcamp you must:

  1. Have graduated in the past two years with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree (preferred majors include: Computer Science, Informatics, Engineering, Statistics, Economics, or Mathematics)
  2. Have some experience with C++. C#, Java or other select languages
  3. Be a U.S. Citizen

Don’t have the necessary programing experience? Don’t worry, if you aren’t ready for the intensive 12-week intensive bootcamp, Revature offers free online programs that support all levels of abilities from beginner to advanced.

Interested? Don’t wait as space is limited! Please visit http://www.revature.com/davidson for more information and to apply!

 

FAQS:

What makes Revature unique?

Most training bootcamps require you to invest in them. Revature is unique because Revature invests in you! Revature partners with many leading Fortune 500 companies, government organizations, and top systems integrators that are looking to for software professionals with experience in niche, next-gen, and leading-edge technologies. Revature hires entry-level coders, and then through immersive training delivers job-ready experienced software engineers. Graduates of the program go on to work on innovative and challenging projects for Revature’s corporate partners.

How do I apply?

Go to Revature.com/davidson

Can I contact a recruiter directly?

Yes! Call 888-789-1075 or email davidson@revature.com.

Can I join the coding bootcamp if I have no coding experience?

While anyone can apply, the coding bootcamp is very immersive and intensive. A background in coding is essential to successfully completing the program. If you have no coding experience, we suggest you enroll in our free online program first. Once you’ve completed a project with our online program, we’d love to have you apply for one of our coding bootcamps!

Where are bootcamps located?

There are remote bootcamps offered throughout the country with rolling bootcamps offered at Revature’s headquarters in Reston, VA.

 

By: Emily Hartman, Revature Marketing Director

Text: Exploring Your Interests - The Value of Events on and off campus

Exploring Your Interests: The Value of Events On and Off Campus

Have you ever wondered what career field is right for you? All of us at some point have considered our interests and how they may align with certain internships, jobs or positions in the future.  Oftentimes, the best way to identify where our interests may or may not lie is through experience.  Opportunities to get involved outside of the classroom can be our windows into different types of real world experiences.  These opportunities don’t always have to take form in a summer long internship.  Events found on Handshake like career treks and local competitions can be valuable learning experiences.

The Charlotte HACKathon hosted by Tresata was an overnight competition that sought to solve a problem presented by Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte. Contestants were given a large dataset and tasked with identifying strategies or insights into how to improve matches between volunteer mentors and local students.

The competition gave contestants an opportunity to work as a group to help a local non-profit in a meaningful way as well as gain exposure into the world of Big Data analytics.  Overall, the event gave good insight into the skills and techniques used in a real-world application and allowed participants to put their own skills to the test.

These types of experiences are priceless when deciding what career field you may be interested in.  You learn what skills you want to obtain and what tasks you enjoy, as well as learning techniques for solving problems on the fly.

While you’re searching for a potential career field that might interest you, I urge you to consider events on campus or in the area that could help guide you in the future.  Investing your time in an event one afternoon can open the doors for future opportunities.   As a Davidson student, your time is valuable. Participating in and/or attending events like career treks, or the upcoming DataFest on campus, can be a quick and easy way to test your interests before taking on a summer internship in a field that you are unsure about.  Then, once an opportunity that aligns with your interests opens up, you can confidently pursue whatever comes your way.

Chris Cardwell ’18

Three people in staff meeting with text "Landing your summer internship"

Landing Your Summer Internship

Applying to summer opportunities is arguably one of the most stressful, taxing experiences of a college student’s career. What is the first step? Which city is best for me? Which city is best for the industry that I would like to enter? How do I make connections with people in the field? All of these questions, and the plethora of others, can quickly overwhelm and lead to stagnation. Connecting with alumnus/a before applying to a position can alleviate some of these stressors and avoid such stagnation. Here are steps to follow in order to speak with alumni who can offer career guidance and tips for the application process.

1 – Determine the city, or cities, that both appeal to you and are relevant to the industry that you would like to enter. For me, this meant either New York City or Boston—personally, because I am from the Northeast and miss it during the school year, and professionally, because these cities offer a multitude of marketing and sales opportunities.

2 – Research companies that share a culture similar to yours and that will fulfill your career goals. Glassdoor, Instagram, Twitter, and the company’s homepage, can illuminate the culture of the company and provide insight into employees work ethic and success. I desired a company with an intense work ethic yet a healthy balance of self-care. By scouring the Internet, I determined which companies in New York City and Boston aligned with these desires.

3 – Exploit DCAN and LinkedIn to determine alumni who work in or around your ideal cities. In the search bar on LinkedIn’s homepage, search the company. Then, filter the search by selecting “1st” and “2nd.” Scroll down to “Schools” and select “Davidson College,” or whichever school by which you would like to filter. Either message the alumnus/a through LinkedIn or use college resources to figure out his or her email address.

4 – Send a respectful, inquisitive message/email in which you ask if they would have any time to discuss their career and future steps that you could take to enter the industry. For example, below is the email that I drafted and sent:

Hi xxx,

 My name is Kate McNaughton and I am a xxx at Davidson College with an interest in the financial services industry. I came across your profile on LinkedIn and decided to reach out. I am eager to learn about your experiences and the steps you might recommend a Davidson student take to break into the industry. It’s always fascinating to learn how Davidson graduates are able to apply their liberal arts education to a more traditional, business-focused setting.

I recognize that you are extremely busy, thus I appreciate any time you may be able to offer for a phone conversation in the next few weeks. Undoubtedly, my schedule is more flexible than yours, so please let me know when works for you and I can finagle mine. Thank you!

 All my best,

Kate McNaughton

Davidson College ‘18

5 – Engage in either a phone or Skype conversation. Do not start the conversation by demanding information on internships offered by the company. Naturally progress into this part of the conversation. Typically, if the conversation were not going well, I could pick up on the cues. In these cases, neither the alumnus/a nor I would venture into internship territory.

6 – More than likely, even if the interview goes splendidly well, it will be necessary to apply through pre-set channels. Hopefully, though, the alumnus/a will recommend the recruiters to pay attention to your resume and application materials. In my experience, if I connected with an alumnus/a before applying to a position, chances drastically increased that I would make it to the first round.

Connecting with alumni is a smart way to alleviate stress and avoid unproductive stagnation. These individuals feel a bond with students at their alma mater, thus they would like to help in any possible way. But remember, alumni will likely only help if you are respectful and seem genuinely interested in their career path and industry.

 

Kate McNaughton ’18