The date for the Spring 2017 Career Fair has been set. It will be held on the Michigan Technological University campus on Wednesday, February 22, 2017.
We’ve all seen the scene in the movie where someone grabs a napkin and a pencil and begins sketching wildly. The scene changes and voilà! — a fully functioning product is working perfectly through the magic of film editing.
To help counteract decreasing student attendance at informational sessions, we created a new model for student engagement this past Fall. These interactive events were called “Industry Days.” Student response was positive. Students and company representatives that participated both helped each other learn more about each other. Company representatives were more than generous with their time and life experiences to help students prepare for their upcoming careers.
As we reviewed the success of these events, one of the challenges we noticed was companies that are in the Consumer Products space don’t neatly fit the “Industry” model that we had created. We use these products every day, but the skills needed to create them don’t exist in a single course taken in school.
As Thomas Edison so famously stated “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” Nowhere is this more evident than with consumer products. Market research is difficult work requiring detailed knowledge of consumer needs, wants, and behaviors. With an understanding of what consumers think they want, the product innovator needs to blend new technology, existing technology, and design to create a product that consumers may not know that they need!
In April, our students will get a chance to participate in an exciting new event. During a 24 hour period, student teams will have a chance to showcase their creativity, innovation, intuition, and presentation skills. “Consumer Products Day” will challenge students to start with a box of disparate parts and combine them into something great. The highlight will be live presentations in front of a panel of judges and an audience.
In less than a month, there will be a short video of the event. In fact, it will be just like the movies!
For all the details, please visit: http://www.mtu.edu/career/careerfest/students/industry/consumer-products-day/
John was creative and hard-working college student. His was majoring in computer engineering which is where he found his gift at coding. His interests spanned outside the classroom to rock climbing and other outdoor adventures. This well-rounded creative genius faced one daunting obstacle, the vast amounts of reading associated with demanding, tech-heavy majors. John visualized text differently than others, a situation he saw not as a disability but as another challenge to face.
Dyslexia is associated with difficulties in learning to read, having problems spelling words and some slowness in processing symbolic information. It is a source of anxiety and frustration for many whose learning is based heavily on acquiring knowledge through reading. Neuroscientists have found that the left hemisphere of your brain is the home of our language processing. The right hemisphere is known to be the home of our creativity. Recent research has tied problem-solving and creative thought processes used by engineers and scientists to this right hemisphere. Most adults will have a larger left hemisphere compared to the right. Researchers have found that dyslexic’s possess a larger right hemisphere, providing fertile ground for creativity and problem solving.
Some of our greatest leaders in industry and the arts were known to be dyslexic. John Lennon and Cher shared the gift of the musician. Each day we experience the creative genius of two other dyslexics, Steven Spielberg who brought us E.T. and Saving Private Ryan and Walt Disney who brought us on so many animated journeys starting with Mickey Mouse and then created Disney World theme parks to enjoy them in person. Great artists in history struggled with this disorder including Pablo Picasso and Leonardo Da Vinci leading up to present day Andy Warhol and Ansel Adams. Notables in American history with dyslexia include George Washington, Ben Franklin, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Henry Ford.
A disability is often described as a limitation. What is not discussed is the gift that is associated with it. A recent study found that over 35 percent of successful entrepreneurs were diagnosed with dyslexia. The study found they quickly developed perseverance and tenacity to overcome this reading challenge. We now also know that they had a gift of a larger right hemisphere of their brain, providing them with creative tools to see the world a bit differently, allowing them to solve problems in a unique way others could not.
Many employers classify those with dyslexia as possessing a disability. They should be viewing it as a gift. The grade point average of a student challenged with dyslexia is not an accurate measure of their gifts of persistence, tenacity, and creativity. If we use history as our teacher, these individuals are the hidden gems that see the world through a different lens and will bring unique and creative answers to the problems we will face in the future.
Michigan Tech students are invited on an all-expense paid trip to Chicago to visit ArcelorMittal’s largest U.S. steelmaking facility.
We know the best way to learn about career possibilities is to experience it first-hand. ArcelorMittal is a valued corporate partner with Michigan Tech, and they have a strong tradition of hiring Michigan Tech students. ArcelorMittal is the world’s leading steel and mining company. It is the leading steel supplier to all major markets, including automotive and construction.
Depart: Thursday, March 17, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.
Return: Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 6:30 pm
Travel by motor coach. During the trip, you will experience tours of Steelmaking, the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, and some great Chicago Deep-Dish pizza! Accommodations with the Ramada Hammond Hotel and Conference Center in Hammond, IN. All travel, accommodations and meals are paid.
You must pre-register at: http://goo.gl/forms/IqMxN6qnmu
If you were to ask recruiters what skills they need in each of their new good recruits the list would include: life-long learners, good communicators, able to work in diverse groups, and adaptable to new situations. If you were to ask what additional skills great recruits have they would include: perseverance, tenacious, resilient, passionate, and dedicated. The experiences of student athletes provides them the opportunity to move from good to great.
John Standeford played football and basketball for Monrovia High School, a town of 1,200 outside of Indianapolis. This 6’4’’, 168 lbs. wide-received was offered a chance to play for Purdue University by Coach Joe Tiller, going from playing for a team of 22 players to one of 105 with a much higher level of skill per player. He made the most of his experience through hard work, graduating in 2004 while holding the Big Ten’s all-time career receptions record with 266 catches. The skills he gained were put on display in his professional football career.
Drafted and signed by the Washington Redskins, he was soon traded to the Indianapolis Colts, playing for then Coach Tony Dungy. John played on the practice squad, focusing on outworking his peers. He took on his coaches mantra of ‘no excuses, no explanation’, a theme that can be associated with Nike’s Just Do It! During the 2007 season John was moved up to the active roster, a day he celebrated with dinner out with his wife. The next day Coach Dungy called him in to his office, telling him he needed to be sent back down to the practice squad due to injuries in other positions. John could have packed his bag and walked out, but he responded with an elevated effort.
With four remaining games in the 2007 regular season, John’s agent was contacted by the Detroit Lions with an offer to play for them. Coach Dungy could have responded by releasing John, but instead called him into his office. Dungy shared his thoughts of admiration he had for John, enduring when John was asked to play a role he didn’t enjoy, John chose to show up each day, putting forth his maximum effort while supporting his teammates in the process. This coach believed in integrity, faith, and hard work, then offering John a spot on the active roster for the remainder of the season. The Colts made the playoffs that year, with Peyton Manning having a career year at quarterback and John stayed on the active roster as the Indianapolis Colts went on to win the Super Bowl.
The next year, John Standeford, with a Super Bowl ring on his finger, moved on to play for the Detroit Lions. In the final game of the season, John went on to have a career high 6 receptions against all-pro defender Al Harris of the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Unfortunately, he would be another name on the wall in the NFL Hall of Fame, this time being a member of a team that went winless on the season.
John Standeford was a small town boy who was carried to success in his career through his perseverance, tenacity, resilience, passion, and dedication. Today’s recruiters are looking for those with the determination to succeed, who are willing to show up and persevere whether they are on a team of 22 or 105. Recruiters should not overlook student-athletes as they fill their rosters to build their success-oriented corporate teams.
It was the sound of a whistle blowing from a surrounding factory that became the lightbulb moment leading to cooperative education as we know it today. Cooperative Education has a rich 100-plus year history, with its U.S. roots beginning at the University of Cincinnati thanks to the diligent work of Herman Schneider, an educator dedicated to engineering education. The idea came after his extensive conversations with schools along the east coast as he searched to identify what engineers were missing in their education.
Cooperative education is one model, and I would argue the most valuable, of work-integrated learning. Schneider knew that an engineering curriculum was not complete without students practicing their skills in an authentic setting. Co-ops provide just that. As students on our campus prepare for the upcoming spring career fair, they may not know Herman Schneider, nor the actual age of cooperative education, but they are well aware that having co-op experience as evidence of their professional development will be highly valued by the recruiters.
The interesting part comes when we begin to ask why. While it is easy to argue that students are better prepared for the workplace as a result of a co-op, research has not focused on the learning that causes the student to return as a different version of themselves. Exactly what do students learn while on a co-op? And how do they learn? What factors are important in their learning? A co-op is a collaboration between the student, the employer, and the university, so all should be committed to ensuring a quality experience – as Herman Schneider envisioned. Michigan Tech is committed to do our part, and we look forward to our co-op collaborations. If you have not previously participated in the co-op program, contact me to find out how Michigan Tech might may be a great match with your company – and the whistle blowing moments will live on.
Kirsti Arko – Assistant Director for Experiential Learning and Career Development
Students love to interact with their peers. I had a chance to observe this in action during some events held here on campus. Career Services organized an event for students to share their experiences from their Experiential Education (Co-op or Internship) with students 1 or 2 years behind them. To facilitate the discussion, students described what they learned while out working. Afterwards, students displayed posters sharing their work experiences.
Giving students a chance to network with each other changes the entire dynamics of the conversation. The style of the questions was dramatically different than the typical Career Fair interaction. These conversations were more informal, more relaxed, and more conversational. Why the big difference? Students were talking to their peers? Students on both sides of the table were were excited to learn, excited to share, and willing to “tell the truth” from their experiences.
What was most amazing to me was that after 3 or 6 or 8 months working for a company, our students were able to articulate the work culture and environment at their company. They were just as passionate about the company they worked for as a seasoned member of the recruiting team.
This is an event that is easy to over-think or over-complicate. Essentially, we invited students to make posters and asked them to share with their colleagues. The rest of the interactions were unscripted and some of the most educational programming we have available to our students.
For pictures from the event, check out our Flickr page.
Here are some links to the local news stories that ran about Medical Careers Week. It was a great week for Career Education.
Channel 10 (ABC): http://abc10up.com/med-students-speak-with-medical-device-pros/
As a 3-year-old what they “want to be when they grow up” and they immediately shout out “Astronaut!” or “Ballerina!” or “Fireman!” These occupations usually include recognizable costumes, books, an animated TV show, and action figures.
Very few of us grow up to become what we wanted to be at such a young age. We are influenced by friends, family, peers, educators, and managers we encounter throughout our formative years. There can be external pressure applied throughout the process. Parents focus on their son or daughter graduating with a job. Students feel pressure to get out into the “real world.” Higher Education collects, analyzes, and scrutinizes “first destination” data.
Careers are definitely not straight lines drawn from college graduation to retirement.
What if you worked tirelessly toward a career with the full knowledge that it would only last a few years? Last week, I was fortunate enough to meet two extremely humble, hard-working, and honest people. These athletes had success at the highest level of their sports and now have moved on to more “traditional” jobs.
John Standeford (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Standeford) and Zach McClellan (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zach_McClellan) visited the Michigan Tech campus to share the story of their life journey. John (NFL) and Zach (MLB) spent years on buses, in the weight room, being cut/traded, and sacrificing portions of their bodies and lives to pursue a dream. They knew full well the dream was difficult to achieve and would have a short duration.
To me, these are the most important things they shared with us:
- Be Coachable – There are many people along the way that will give you suggestions for improvements. You must be able to listen to them and incorporate their feedback into your actions. You may not always agree, but they have your best interests in mind.
- Attention To Detail – Why does it matter if your jersey is tucked in? Because every detail matters and being sloppy on lots of small details can result in bigger problems later.
- Honor your commitments – You are only as good as your reputation or your word. It is your responsibility to give maximum effort every single play, every single day, and throughout your career.
- Be Present – Showing up is the easy part. If the day is long or starts early, be alert, focused and dedicated on the task at hand.
In 1920, a little-known author Arnold Munk wrote a book titled The Little Engine That Could which then began being sold door to door through the My Book House series. The book’s story line centered on a little railroad steam engine who attempted to pull a long train over a high mountain. The little engine agrees to attempt this challenging feat using the mantra “I think I can, I think I can”. It eventually succeeds due to the faith in its abilities to achieve this goal.
Fast-forward to 1971 when a then obscure researcher named Albert Bandura began to study the role that a person’s belief in their ability to achieve any goal, known as self-efficacy. The question is how do we build this belief in our abilities? Bandura identified four significant sources of these efficacy expectations: performance accomplishments, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion, and emotional arousal. These are valuable lessons to use as students transition from college to career and beyond.
Vicarious experience is the idea that if you see someone else completing a job-related challenge, you gain the confidence that you can also accomplish such a challenge. It is the monkey see, monkey can do idea in its most basic form. Verbal persuasion often comes in the way of encouraging words or actions. This is the easiest to implement and as such is often thought to have the least value, but used correctly with sincerity is can play a key role in developing efficacy. Emotional arousal is often associated with anxiety which can debilitate performance. Developing coping skills to deal with stressful situations helps limit this performance detractor.
Bandura found that performance accomplishments were the most impactful in building an individual’s personal efficacy. In my doctoral research with freshmen college students I found this most often manifests itself in earning grades on tests or projects. Students also gained this sense of accomplishment in performing community service or in service learning programs where they aid others while achieving a personal or academic goal.
A student’s participation in internships and co-ops has been shown to have a significant impact on their self-efficacy. This career self-efficacy has been aided by structured company support during these employment opportunities. Companies use of mentors, self-produced seminars that help develop 21st century career skills, weekly performance review sessions, and assigned projects with a series of specific timely outcomes are just a few programs whose product is increased self-efficacy of those involved.
Arnold Monks story of this little engine that could symbolizes the importance that efficacy plays in creating an environment of possibility and a can do attitude in each current and future employee. The belief that a goal can be achieved is the most vital component necessary for achieving success in ones endeavors. As colleges and universities look to retool their curriculums to produce a prepared and engaged intellectual product that can succeed in industry, they should ensure that this process focuses on increasing the level of self-efficacy of each future graduate. Each student must believe they can!