Category: Student Stories

Ambition

Logan McMillan, first year Chemical Engineering student, impressed multiple companies at our recent career fair. Despite her lack of GPA and experience, DTE Energy and Toyota expressed serious interest in McMillan.

“Age is a limitation,” said McMillan. However, these companies were impressed by McMillan’s leadership roles and involvement in high school, as well as her involvement in the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and potential for success at Michigan Tech.

In the days leading up to the fall 2014 career fair, McMillan attended multiple preparative events on campus. She attended an info session on Sunday evening, where she learned more about DTE Energy and was ultimately invited to attend a SWE dinner with DTE Energy’s company representatives the following night. The dinner served as McMillan’s first “interview” a co-op position.

Tuesday, the day of the career fair, McMillan approached 30-40 companies total. She printed off resumes and a cover letter and set off confidently determined to, at the very least, gain experience talking to company representatives.

But McMillan did more than this – even as a first year student, she was ultimately offered a co-op position in  January 2015 with DTE Energy as an office assistant for machinery management. McMillan has also been in contact with a company representative from Toyota, who has expressed interest in her for a summer internship opportunity.

McMillan expressed her excitement for these upcoming experiences, and encourages all students regardless of class standing to attend career fair. “They’re interested in your leadership and your involvement, not just your GPA,” she said, “There’s no harm in attending the career fair, but if you don’t go, you’ll never know.”


Persistance

Shelby Marter, a second year Scientific and Technological Communication student, found unanticipated success after attending the fall 2014 career fair. Marter had previously attended career fair as a first year student, but found herself empty-handed due to her non-engineering major. “It doesn’t really apply to me as an STC major,” Marter said. “People told me (before attending career fair) that you have to basically create a position for yourself. You’re not going to fit within their criteria, so just go talk to people and figure something out.” And it worked.

Imagine going up to multiple company representatives at random, introducing yourself, and then receiving a blank stare after you state your major. It sounds disheartening, but as an STC major, this is many times the reality.

With this experience under her belt, Marter decided that this year she was going in more prepared. And because she researched the different companies who were specifically looking for STC students, she felt more confident going into the fall 2014 career fair.

Unfortunately, she had no luck with the first few companies because most were actually looking for programmers or had accidentally selected STC as a major they were interested in. Marter remained determined, however, and moved on to Marshfield Clinic.

Once again, she introduced herself and her major.  The company representative started to explain that even though they had stated that their company was looking for STC majors, he didn’t believe that the components of her major fit the criteria of their open positions.

Marter wasn’t willing to accept another defeat so easily, so she asked, “Are you sure? Because I looked at your website, and the available positions, and they sound like what I’m interested in for a career after graduation. Could you tell me more about the positions being offered? Then I can tell you if it’s a good fit or not.”

He explained that Marshfield was looking for someone to perform usability testing for their IT department. The STC major at Tech is heavily based in usability testing, so Marter explained that all the criteria he showed her were either things she had already learned or would learn at some point in the STC curriculum.

So, Marter took a dim situation, and found ways she could add value to the company. She essentially talked her way into an internship she would otherwise not have gotten if she hadn’t prepared and remained persistent.