Don’t Forget to Network! The Importance of Networking for All Positions – Even the State Department

By: McKenzie Roese, Career Services Ambassador

Trekking up the hill is never my favorite thing to do early in the morning, but my hike was worth it after attending Dean Rusk’s Teatime talk on the State Department application process. Not only did I enjoy a delicious breakfast courtesy of Dean Rusk, I also learned about the intricacies of the application process for the State Department. While the process may seem clear-cut and systematic, there are definitely nuances to application that you should know about before applying.

Stefanie Cook and Paul DiFiore, both members of the class of 2013, starred as the discussion leaders after their remarkable summer experiences with the State Department. Cook spent her summer in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in the US embassy. DiFiore explored the domestic front in the Central American Affairs Office in the Western Hemisphere Affairs Bureau, while also partaking in the Davidson in Washington program. Both did an excellent job informing students about the tedious, competitive, and often disappointing application process while also providing ample tips for the procedure. Their main point: Networking is everything.

In terms of networking’s wonders, Cook stressed the importance of reaching out to her political science advisor, Dr. Menkhaus, for providing an “in” to the Ethiopian bureau. Not only did Cook apply to the obscure, underappreciated Ethiopian bureau, but she also utilized her professor’s connection to the Ethiopian office to give her an edge above other candidates. Likewise, DiFiore reached out to a recent Davidson graduate working domestically in the State Department to help him stand out in the crowd. Reflecting back on his networking efforts, DiFiore honestly admits, “Even though I had a good resume and relevant experiences, there were lots of other grad school students who were way better qualified who were also applying. There always are. Having a contact was what got me in.”

Applying to obscure bureaus within the State Department and utilizing the power of the Davidson connection, both students stressed the importance of networking for landing their summer internships. Cook, reminiscing on her experience, recollected, “I got so engrained in the culture.” Luckily, she had the opportunity to immerse herself in Ethiopian culture, while DiFiore explored the domestic systems of D.C. bureaucracy, because they both reached out to the strong Davidson connection to help achieve their goals. Hopefully this will inspire you to reach out, for any position, to the Davidson community and alumni network when the time comes.

Research & Internship Opportunities in the Sciences

Includes: Neuropsychology, Psychology, Environmental Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Medicine, Public Health, Biochemistry, Engineering, and Computer Science

Undergraduate research opportunities offer you the chance to participate in exciting projects, working beside some of the most talented scientists in the field.  They also help you gain needed experience to get in to graduate school or to obtain the position you’re applying for after graduation.

Below are links to a wide range of scientific research opportunities. Some offer stipends, while others are unpaid.  Deadlines vary, but in general, the earlier you apply the better. You should also check with your professors when seeking research opportunities as many have openings available for Davidson students that are not advertised. Davidson professors will also know of colleagues looking for people to work in their labs.

Research Experiences for Undergraduates
This is the premier site for summer research positions in the sciences. REU sites are competitively selected by the National Science Foundation (NSF), so the positions tend to be of very high quality (and tend to pay well, also).

Grants and Research Opportunities on the Davidson College Biology site
List of opportunities listed on the Davidson College Biology Department website.  This is for all sciences, public health, etc.

American Psychological Association
Undergraduate research opportunities and internships in Neuroscience and Psychology.

RIT Co-op and Scientific Internship Listings
This list provides a wide range of short and long-term cooperative and internship listings in science and technology.

List of summer research/internship opportunities in the sciences
Provided by Grinnell College, but not affiliated with the college – open to students across the country, and in a variety of disciplines:  biologybiochemistrychemistrycomputer scienceengineeringenvironmental sciencemathematics,medicinephysics,

Biotech and Pharmaceutical
Biotechnology Industry Organization is a professional association designed to provide information and support for those in the biotechnology field.  Their website provides excellent information on specific fields, current research and career opportunities.

News and job opportunities for those interested in the biotech and pharmaceutical fields.

PhRMA’s mission is to conduct effective advocacy for public policies that encourage
discovery of important new medicines for patients by biopharmaceutical research companies. This webside provides a variety of resources on the field.

Environmental Studies
Environmental Studies: Greater Research Opportunities Undergraduate Fellowships
For undergraduate students in environmentally fields of  studies.

Environmental Science Institute
Funded by the National Science Foundation, this program is open to a national pool of undergraduate applicants and requires a ten-week commitment. Students create their own research project, participate in a research group, and present their work.

Mathematical Association of America
The MAA provides mathematicians with the best expository articles, engaging problems, and articles devoted to teaching collegiate mathematics. The MAA also provides research funding opportunities.

The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
International community of over 13,000 individual members. Almost 500 academic, manufacturing, research and development, service and consulting organizations, government, and military organizations worldwide are institutional members. The website has an excellent career-related section that lists internships and jobs within the field and provides career information and advice.

National Science Foundation
List of physics REU sites, both theoretical and experimental.

Public Health Opportunities
Johns Hopkins  – Funding/Internships Announcements
Compiled listing of public health related internships and research opportunities. Students do not need to be attending Johns Hopkins to apply.

The National Academies
The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute ofMedicine, and National Research Council are private, nonprofit institutions that provide expert advice on some of the most pressing challenges facing the nation and the world. for Science
Internships and fellowship opportunities in science.

Scientific-related opportunities compiled by Columbia University, Department ofBiological Studies
Biology, Biomedical, Minority, Ecology and Environmental Studies, Marine Biology Research Opportunities, Fellowships, Internships and Summer Courses. Programs are located in all geographic areas of the country.

Summer Undergraduate Research Program: Boston University
Ten-week undergraduate program for students interested in pursuing a career as a research scientist. Students are chosen from a national pool.

Preparing for the Democratic National Convention

By Alexa King, Career Services Ambassador

Jared Blakney ‘14 is a political science major from Raleigh, North Carolina. He worked as a digital media intern preparing for the Democratic National Convention, and also worked while the convention was going on in Charlotte. Jared talked with Alexa King ‘14, one our Career Services Ambassadors, to discuss his amazing internship experience.

What made you interested in joining the campaign?
Ever since 2008 I have been an Obama supporter, especially after canvassing for him during the primaries.

What were some of the daily tasks you had to do?
There was no typical day. I was in the communications department, but specifically worked with digital media. I developed content for the website and got to see the impact I was having on the convention almost instantly. When I posted an article online, I saw my name underneath it. Probably the coolest thing I got to do was follow Mayor Villaraigosa and Mayor Foxx ‘93 around and get pictures for the blog.

Do you feel you contributed personally to the Obama 2012 campaign?
Just being part of the energetic atmosphere that goes into a campaign, I felt like I was a part of something big. Putting blog articles online and being able to highlight certain delegates or local community members who were getting involved with the convention was really cool. I felt like I was able to put my mark on the convention.

What was one of the most valuable lessons that you learned from this experience?
Digital media is one of the most public medium[s] the convention has. Being thorough and diligent in my work was one of the greatest skills I picked up. If I made a little mistake millions of people could see it on the website.

What did you do Monday-Thursday at the convention?
My specific role was videographer. I filmed and took photographs of different caucus meetings. We were told mid-way through the summer that it was “all hands on deck” during the week of the convention; whatever had to get done to make the convention run smoothly, we had to be willing to do it.

Was this a good opportunity for you to network with other people interested in media?
Definitely. The staff was helpful and friendly; even senior staff said that if I had a question, just stop by. I made good connections, both for getting a job and for mentoring.

Do you plan on pursuing politics in the future, maybe working at the White House next summer if he [President Obama] wins reelection?
Maybe. My ultimate goal is to do something in business. But if politics turns out to be the route to go, then I’ll take it. I think it would be cool to work on another convention as an actual staff member.

Career Assessment Series

The Career Assessment Series helps with career and academic planning, whether you’re exploring options related to choosing a major, considering graduate schools, or fine tuning your job search. The inventories in the Series will provide you with information regarding your interests, personality type, values and skills, helpful in making better informed decisions regarding the choices you are trying to make.

Skills and Knowledge You Will Gain
1.  Understanding of the connection between aspects of yourself and careers.
2.  Understanding of how your interests can affect your choice of careers.
3.  Understanding of how majors may or may not be related to career choices.
4.  Understanding of your personality type and how it relates to your career choice.
5.  Understanding of work values and skills and their place in the career planning process.

Take One or Take Them All
You are not required to take all of the inventories in the Career Assessment Series. You may take them all, or choose only those of interest to you by signing up for each one individually. All assessments in the Series are presented in a group format by a Career Services Advisor.  The assessments include the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the Strong Interest Inventory (SII), SkillScan, and Focus 2.

Career Assessment Series 

Exploring Your Personality Type:
The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) can be a helpful tool in thinking about who you are and what you want to do after Davidson. Research indicates that many of the personality types have preferences for their choice of careers. Participants will need to take the MBTI assessment at least two hours prior to the workshop. Handouts and other resources will be provided for follow-up.

Further details provided upon registration. To register, contact Career Services at 704-894-2132, email, or stop by the Career Services office by 5:00 pm the day before the workshop.

MBTI Dates:
Oct 10, 2012, 4:30 – 5:30 pm, Union 313
Oct. 18, 2012, 7:00 – 8:00pm – Chambers Hance Auditorium
Oct 22, 2012, 4:30-5:30  pm, Chambers Hance Auditorium
Nov 6, 2012, 4:30 – 5:30 pm, Union 313
Nov 14 2012, 4:30 – 5:30 pm, Union 313

Exploring Your Career Interests:
The Strong Interest Inventory (SII)
Take the guesswork out of career planning with the Strong Interest Inventory®, an assessment that makes career decisions easier by providing detailed information on top interests, work preferences, and personal styles.  In this workshop, participants will receive a personalized printout of their Strong® results, an interpretive overview, and information on how to connect Strong® results with career opportunities. Participation requires completing a 30-minute SII assessment online prior to attending the workshop. Further details will be provided upon registration.

Note:  To register, contact Career Services at 704-894-2132, email, or stop by Career Services (414 Alvarez) to sign up by 5:00 pm the day before the workshop.  

SII Dates:
Oct. 23, 2012, 4:30-5:30 pm Union 313
Oct 29, 2012, 7:00 – 8:00 pm, Union 313
Nov 7, 2012, 4:30-5:30 , Chambers Hance Auditorium
Nov 15, 2012, 4:30-5:30, Union 313

Exploring Your Marketable Skills: SkillScan
The SkillScan assessment identifies transferable skills, which are essential when targeting appropriate career options.  The assessment features a system for integrating skill results with other traditional interests, values and personality inventories to provide a holistic picture of your career patterns. Participants will take the assessment as a group during the session.

Note:  All participants will take the assessment during the workshop. To register, call 704-894-2132, or come by Career Services, Monday-Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.  You need to register by 12:00 pm, the day of the workshop.

SkillScan Dates:
Oct 24, 2012, 4:30 – 5:30 pm, Chambers Computer Lab 3130
Nov 1, 2012, 4:30 – 5:30pm, Chambers Computer Lab 3130
Nov 8, 2012, 4:30 – 5:30 pm, Chambers Computer Lab 3130

Exploring Your Interests: Focus 2
Exploring possible majors and/or careers? Attend the FOCUS-2 workshop and develop an action plan of “next steps” toward selecting a major or career. Discover other resources to help you learn about career and major options. Go through all of the stages of career development with the Focus 2 program. Participants will take this assessment during the workshop.

Note:  All participants will take the assessment during the workshop. 
To register, call 704-894-2132, or come by Career Services, Monday-Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.  You need to register by 12:00 pm the day of the workshop.

Focus 2 Dates:
Oct 11, 2012, 4:30 – 5:30 pm, Chambers Computer Lab 3130
Oct 30, 2012, 4:30 – 5:30 pm, Chambers Computer Lab 3130
Nov 12, 2012, 4:30 – 5:30 pm, Chambers Computer Lab 3130

Capitalize on Information Sessions

By Brennan McCormick, Career Services Ambassador

With recruitment season in full swing for seniors seeking employment, the Union is bustling with employer information sessions. Although these sessions may seem dull and daunting, if approached correctly, they can be an important step towards landing a job offer. Here are some tips on how to best take advantage of employer information sessions:

Bring Something To Write On.
It may seem obvious, but students often come to information sessions empty-handed. There are three things you should be taking down over the course of the session:

  1. The contact information of the presenters.
  2. The application process timeline, and
  3. Two or three things that you like about the employer.

The contact information will allow you to reach out to the employer personally and network before your application is considered. If you receive an interview, you will inevitably be asked why you want to work for the company. Jotting down notes on what you like about the company during the session will help you answer those questions.

Talk To The Representatives Of The Company.
Before and after the session, chances are that representatives of the employer will be around to answer questions and offer perspective on the job. Talk to them. You will not be the only person applying for the position and if the employer can put a face to your resume, there’s a much greater chance that it is considered. Make a special effort to talk to the recruiting director, as they will ultimately be screening your resume.

Follow Up With The People You Meet.
This is particularly important for positions with a lengthy interview process. There is no one better to give you perspective on what to expect and how to prepare than someone who has successfully navigated the application process in the past few years. Many will be willing to do a mock interview, or at least point you in the direction of resources they found helpful when they were preparing. You’ll never know what they have to offer if you don’t reach out.

Working in Washington DC: The Ultimate Summer Getaway

By McKenzie Roese, Career Services Ambassador

While summertime is usually my time to kick back, relax, and enjoy a little sunshine by the beach, I decided to resist my normal summer routine: instead, I was going to enter the workforce. This past summer, I ventured away from my Minnesota home to explore our nation’s capital – Washington DC. Being a political science major, I wanted to be thrown into the heart of American politics during such an exciting time in US history: the presidential election season. To get the most out of my DC experience, I applied for the Davidson in Washington program where I took a US foreign policy seminar with a Davidson professor, Dr. Ortmayer, and worked full-time at an organization of my choosing.

Considering marketing and public policy have always been interests of mine, I decided to
work at the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) as their only undergraduate marketing and communications intern. CLINIC, a member-based non-profit organization, aims to help provide support to its nationwide affiliates in order to help provide the best legal assistance for low-income immigrants. Because immigration policy is such a diverse field, I worked with a wide-array of people during my time at CLINIC: law students, attorneys, marketing managers, and even accountants. In terms of my work, I performed social media research for immigration-related articles, trends, and legislation. I also created a marketing plan for CLINIC’s upcoming events by designing email-marketing strategies to increase sponsorship.

Working at CLINIC by day and discussing US foreign policy at night, I have to say the Davidson in Washington experience couldn’t have been more rewarding. Not only did I learn about marketing strategy for a nationwide non-profit, but I also lived three blocks away from the White House. Looking back on it, I have to admit having Obama as my neighbor definitely beats sitting by the beach all day long.

Memories of a Student

I just finished reviewing a senior’s resume.  She was unsure where to put the awards she received at the end of the year, and it’s no wonder.  The information on her resume would barely fit on one page.  Somehow, though, we managed to cut a few words here and there. Everything still fits on one page.

As I sit here looking at her resume, it suddenly hits me that I’ve known this student since she first came to Davidson four years ago.  I met her in one of the Davidson 101 classes that all first-year students are required to attend.  She was one of the students who came up afterwards and asked where our office was, and could she make an appointment to have her MBTI test interpreted?  That was the beginning of seeing her once or twice a month.  A lot of students are like that.  They start using our resources and services early, and by the time they graduate, we’ve gotten to know them personally.

This student did make that appointment, and later made another appointment to work on her resume, and then another appointment after that one to find out about an interest test – the Strong Interest Inventory – which she took to help get an idea of what to major in.  Whenever we had workshops she was interested in, I’d see her sitting in one of the chairs, notepad in hand, jotting down something she thought interesting. She was one of those students who considered her classes important, but also practical preparation for a job just as important, too.  When she studied abroad, she was also working on getting an internship by contacting alumni to network with.  She would email employers and alumni, and her networking paid off when she met and interned with an alumn who showed her what the field of advertising was about.  She was hooked.  Now this student has graduated and is heading to the “big apple” in a month to start her full-time job.

There are other students that we get to know like we have this student. They become so engaged in what we do that they become part of our office community. That’s what I think about when I think of the term “Davidson Community.” We get to know these students so well that they help us out with student representative activities that sometimes come up.  For example, sometimes they will help interview candidates, assist students with practicing case interviews, greet employers, or talk with other students about their experiences seeking internships or jobs in Davidson 101 sessions. Their names come up often among our staff.  And long after they graduate we still remember them, and talk about “the year that so-and-so” was here.

That’s what I’m thinking about as I look at this student’s resume. She won’t be here next year and I’ll miss her.  But that’s part of the job.  We get to know students so well that they become more than just a student to us. Sure, another student will come in the office and the same process will begin, but he or she won’t be like this student. (That person will be different, but in a good way.)  Still, she’ll stop by when she comes back for alumni events, along with our other students. She might even talk her company into hiring Davidson students. (The Davidson cycle.)

Anyway, I shake my head and put aside her resume.  It’s time to get back to work. The phone is ringing in my office letting me know there’s a student waiting with a resume for me to review.  Maybe a first-year trying to get a head-start? …

Iris Leung, Class of ’12, Talks About Her Internships and Job Search

Iris Leung
Major: History    Minor: Chinese
Davidson Class: May 2012

What internships have you had while you have been at Davidson?
During my freshman summer, I interned at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, assisting the museum’s Education Department in creating and leading interactive tours for summer camp visitors. I also translated their “Journey to the Stars” planetarium show from English to Chinese.  The following summer I taught English in Xian, China to kindergarteners using bilingual classroom exercises, drama performances, and songs.  During my junior summer, I interned with Emanate PR, a public relations firm that specializes in consumer, healthcare, and business communications. Not only did I create a business pitch proposal for a mock client, I also assisted in a product launch, blogged for the company website, and helped facilitate a social media contest for one of our products.

What are your plans after graduating this May?
After graduating in May, I will begin my first job as an Account Associate at Emanate PR—the public relations firm where I interned during my junior summer.

How did you find your internship?
To find my internship my junior year, I talked with my career counselor who suggested I use a variety of measures for seeking opportunities, such as LinkedIn and Alenda Links (our Davidson alumni networking system), as well as word of mouth.  She explained that by proactively demonstrating interest and seeking advice from alumni, professors, and even family friends, they could provide me with great tips on finding an internship. I connected with an alumna who recognized my great interest in the PR field and recommended me to the HR Director of the firm as an intern candidate, where I landed the internship and ultimately my full-time job.

What resources in Career Services have helped you the most?
Two resources that were helpful to me in Career Services were, first, the one-on-one sessions with career counselors who showed a genuine interest in helping students find not only jobs, but careers that match their passions and strengths. I did not know what I wanted to pursue when I first started my search, but after I listed my interests and  described my ideal workplace, my counselor helped me narrow down a list that allowed me to realize my dream job.

Second, the annual Etiquette Dinner was extremely useful. Since all Davidson students will undoubtedly have meetings or job interviews over meals in the future, this experience really helped me sharpen my table etiquette as well as the necessary communication skills for such stressful situations.

What other resource has helped you with internship searches?
A resource that helped me learn about opportunities is, surprisingly, Google. While students may know what they are capable of and interested in doing, many do not know what is available. When I wanted an internship that allowed me to interact with many people while constantly learning, I ran Internet searches seeking names of museums to get me started. I would never have been able to work at my favorite museum where it not for Google.

What advice do you have for fellow students?
If you know what you want, don’t be afraid to search online for something related, but more exciting. We’re Davidson students—the world is our oyster!

100 Internship Challenge a Success

This year, Career Services launched an exciting new initiative:  the 100 Internship Challenge.  Since fall semester, we have been hard at work seeking alumni, families and friends of Davidson willing to support our efforts in highlighting meaningful internship opportunities for Davidson students.  As of today, we are up to 116 internships, already past our goal!

As participants in the challenge, alumni, parents and friends of the college have highlighted and shared information with us about the internship program at an organization where they work (or with which they have a close relationship).  They are also doing one or more of the following:

  • Serving as a resource for students applying for the internship program at their organization (this could mean answering questions about their experience with the organization or reviewing a resume)
  • Taking an active role in facilitating Davidson student applications through the internship host’s selection process (this could include answering questions about Davidson and the high-quality education that students receive here)
  • Creating or helping to arrange an internship specifically for a Davidson student

Once we receive the information we need regarding the internship, we work to advertise the posting to students, collect applications, and stay in touch with our alumni or parent contact throughout the process.  In addition to continuing to add new internships, we are tracking our progress with the challenge regarding interviews, offers, and acceptances.  We look forward to reporting this summer regarding the overall success of the initiative.

If you have any questions about the 100 Internship Challenge or know someone who might like to participate, please contact Ashley Neff, Assistant Director for Internships, at  We may have passed our initial goal, but we will be accepting new internships for another couple of weeks!

Allied Health Field: Over 200 Careers to Choose From

The term Allied Health describes a group of health professions made up of as many as 200 health careers. There are 5 million allied health care providers in the U.S., who work in more than 80 different professions and represent approximately 60% of all health care provider.  This is just a drop in the bucket in terms of how many allied health care workers are needed to meet current and future healthcare needs in America.

When you work in allied health, you are involved (directly or indirectly) with patient health, and you are regarded as an expert in your field. Some allied health professionals practice independently; others work as part of a health care team, providing continual evaluation and assessment of patient needs. They also play a major role in informing the attending clinician of the patient’s progress and response to treatment.

The allied health professions fall into two broad categories: technicians (assistants) and therapists/technologists. Technicians are trained to perform procedures, and their education lasts less than two years. They are required to work under the supervision of technologists or therapists. This part of the allied health field includes physical therapy assistants, medical laboratory technicians, radiological technicians, occupational therapy assistants, recreation therapy assistants, and respiratory therapy technicians.

The educational process for therapists or technologists is more intensive and includes acquiring procedural skills. In addition, students of therapy/technology learn to evaluate patients, diagnose conditions, develop treatment plans, and understand the rationale behind various treatments in order to judge their appropriateness and potential side effects. Educational curricula teach students to evaluate patients’ responses to therapy and make appropriate decisions about continued treatment or modification of treatment plans.

For more information about Allied Health, see the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions Website. The U.S. Department of Labor has a whole section on allied health professions on its Career Voyages Website.  The Health Professions Network (HPN) publishes a feature on the “Allied Health Profession of the Month. Another online newsletter called includes “A Day in the Life” of professionals in various allied health careers.

To find an accredited allied health program, see the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs Website— which lists most, but not all, of the allied health fields. Some allied health programs are credentialed by another accrediting body. The American Association of Community Colleges also provides a list of schools that train students for allied health careers.

Additional Resources:
Check out the Health Professions Network (HPN) Facebook pageFacebook to stay up-to-date on trends in health care careers. offers good articles and commentary on healthcare, and is one of the top social media websites.

Source: Allied Health Group