#BulldogOnTheJob: Lauren

Editor’s Note: We’re trying something new this year. We are interviewing various UMD Alumni about how their experiences at UMD have impacted their professional lives. They will also be giving their advice for being successful out there in the real world.

Name: Lauren Atkinson
Major: Mathematics
Minor: English
Grad Date: May 2011

Organization: Anoka-Ramsey Community College
Title: Academic Support Center Coordinator
What you do: I coordinate all of the tutoring services for our largest tutoring center. This position provides leadership, direction, coordination, and supervision of daily operations within the Academic Support Center. I focus on developing and coordinating a peer tutoring/supplemental instruction program and provide support for academic disciplines.  I recruit, hire, train, oversee, and evaluate student tutors. My position supports the efforts to educate and advocate for diverse populations and create an environment of inclusiveness and respect for all people.

Atkinson Alumi Photo

What were the jobs, opportunities, and/or classes you had that led to your current role? 
I worked in the UMD Tutoring Center for three years as both a math and writing tutor. This opportunity gave me the skills to earn the Master Tutor Certificate from the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) which helped me land my first position as a Professional Math Tutor after college. I also completed the Kirby Leadership Certificate while attending UMD which allowed me to see the value in leadership and learn the skills to be an effective leader.

What were some of the lessons you learned while on-campus at UMD you’ve incorporated into your professional life?
Everyone has a story and has fought just as hard to be where they are as you have. I learned empathy through various roles at UMD and try and incorporate empathy into my role each day. The student workers I supervise need to feel supported, especially some of those students who have overcome a lot of barriers to even attend college. Through empathy, I can support my student workers, which in turn can help them support the students who visit our center for tutoring.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known prior to entering your role/field?
While GPA might matter for certain majors/career paths, for some of the more broad degrees, it matters much more to have experience on your resume (thankfully, I worked and volunteered while attending college, so I had experience to add to my resume)! Gain experience any way that you can. Work part-time, intern, volunteer, and then use these experiences to show a future employer what additional skills you learned outside of the classroom. Some of the best experiences might not have a direct correlation to your degree or career path, but can teach you additional leadership, management, or “soft” skills that you will need to showcase during an interview to help you stand out as a candidate for a job.

What career advice do you have for students wishing to enter your field?
Higher education is full of passion, but can be exhausting. There are many functional areas that require long hours, do not pay all that well, and make it hard to find a work-life balance. While exhausting, it is also very rewarding. If you are thinking of working in higher education, start thinking of obtaining an advanced degree. Many of our entry-level positions do not list an advanced degree, but with heavy competition to get into our field, you must have a Master’s degree or even a Ph.D. or Ed.D. to be granted an interview. Thankfully many advanced degree programs offer courses or entire programs online so you can try and get a foot in the door with an institution, while also working on an advanced degree.

Anything else you want to add about your time at UMD, or since, that greatly impacted where you are now?
Since leaving UMD I have obtained my Master of Science in Education degree from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with an emphasis in Student Affairs Administration. While I was able to obtain my entry level position because of my background in math and tutoring experience, in order to move up within the higher education system, I was forced to get an advanced degree to help my resume stand out. This is not always the case, but due to heavy competition, I was forced back to school. I am so thankful for the broad skills that UMD gave me because it did make a strong foundation when I started my Masters program. UMD also showed me that a career in higher education/student affairs was something that I actually wanted to do!

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Interested in Anoka-Ramsey Community College? You can check out their employment page for more information.

Introducing Disability Resources

By: Alissa

Hi there! Did you know Career & Internship Services and Disability Resources at UMD are collaborating this year to bring you tons of cool and new information around the topic of disability in the workplace? Well, now you know!!! I am so excited to be a guest author this upcoming school year and maybe be able to teach you a thing or two about this topic.😉 My name is Alissa Stainbrook and I am a Disability Specialist on campus working in the Office of Disability Resources. I am also a Licensed Social Worker and am just wrapping up the MSW program here at UMD. So I totally get what it’s like to be a student too….best of both worlds — working and education, am I right?!

Alissa in her office.

Our office is a pretty awesome place. We are located in the Multicultural Center on campus as we consider disability a part of diversity and want to spread the awareness to others as well. Our office is here to ensure access for students with disabilities. What do we do here in DR you may ask? Well, our office does the following: coordinate academic accommodations, provide a testing location for students who need accommodations, work with students to coordinate access to other on-campus resources, and offer guidance & support.

What does DR do

Another important question we get asked is who does our office work with? 

  • Our office serves any students with documented disabilities who need to arrange academic accommodations for their classes. This includes students who have ADHD; Mental Health Conditions; Autism Spectrum Disorder; Acquired Brain Injury; Physical, Sensory, or Learning Disabilities.
  • Our office works to educate the campus community about access and disability related issues. We also work closely with UMD faculty and staff members.

This year DR and C&IS are teaming up to bring you a pretty awesome series around Disability in the Workplace. There are a number of topics we want to cover including: disclosing disability – when, how, and why; differences between disabilities and what accommodations are reasonable; how to ask for accommodations; how to be a better advocate for yourself; what resources are available to you; mental health and well being in the workplace; and personal stories of students who have graduated who have disabilities and are now working.

We cannot wait to chat with you and are totally open to any suggestions of other topics around disability in the workplace and what you want to know!

It is going to be a great year, all!

Of Possible Interest:

Photo source: graphic 1

#BulldogOnTheJob: Cassie

Editor’s Note: We’re trying something new this year. We are interviewing various UMD Alumni about how their experiences at UMD have impacted their professional lives. They will also be giving their advice for being successful out there in the real world.

Name: Cassie Thielen
Major: Mathematics
Minor: Retail Marketing Analytics
Grad Year: December 2015

Cassie at the HanesBrands HQ in North Carolina.

Organization: HanesBrands, Inc
Title: Analytics Technologist I
What you do: In my role I pull data, clean it, and analyze seasonality/trends for the purpose of analyzing our promotional activity and its effectiveness.

What were the jobs, opportunities, and/or classes you had that led to your current role?
Being a part of the Retail Marketing Analytics Program (ReMAP) helped me get my current job. We completed several case studies in that program that really prepared me to be able to present effectively and analyze large sets of data in a smart way and not to be overwhelmed by it.

What were some of the lessons you learned while on-campus at UMD you’ve incorporated into your professional life?
I worked a lot with the Office for Students in Transition during my time at UMD and brought a lot of what I learned working in that office to my current position. I would teach incoming students about their transition from high school to college. Moving from college to the professional world is a different transition, but still an overall large transition. Since this is a transition you will go through some tough times before you really get settled into your role. I’ve learned to give everything more time in my position before I judge if I like it or not.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known prior to entering your role/field?
TIMELINES! I have the hardest time creating timelines for my projects because in college a timeline was GIVEN to you. A project in college had its check points with the professor and there was even a due date! So practice making your own timelines when you get the chance.

Cassie Quote

What career advice do you have for students wishing to enter your field?
There is a lot of data in my field. And that data isn’t going to be right all the time and there will be times where you will have to spend time investigating data and where it’s coming from. Double check your data before you really dive into an analysis! I didn’t do that once and I was RUSHING to get my analysis completed by the time I had to present it.

You also are new at this, it’s okay if you make mistakes. BUT learn from them!

Anything else you want to add about your time at UMD, or since, that greatly impacted where you are now?
My time at UMD was not solely focused on my studies. I was a good student but I also saw the benefit of making connections with staff and faculty. I made connections at UMD that have traveled into my professional career. I graduated UMD with a handful of strong mentors who I can ask all sorts of questions about my career, as well as my personal life. Grades are important but connections you make during your time at UMD also have a great impact.

Interested in HanesBrands? Check out their career page for opportunities.

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Starting the School Year

Happy first day of classes!

If you’re brand new to UMD, welcome! Not new? Welcome back! It’s been a little too quiet around here without you this summer. With the start of the school year, we thought it would be helpful to remind you of our services and upcoming events we have.

Contrary to popular belief, we work with students of all ages…not just juniors and seniors. Here’s a rundown of why you may want to stop by SCC 22 in the Wedge.

You are:

  • trying to figure out your major and/or minor (picking, changing, confirming, etc).
  • looking for an internship or job.
  • exploring career options for your major.
  • wanting to start your resume or have it reviewed.
  • getting ready for job fairs, interviews, and/or applying to professional or graduate school.
  • wondering what your options are for graduate school.
  • lost, and want to find your way (on-campus or in life).

We’re here for you!

Welcome CIS

Upcoming events to keep in mind:

  • Workshop schedule (first one is Sept 5th).
  • Sept 14: E-Fest Job & Internship Fair for science, engineering, and computer science majors.
  • Resume Drop-ins are every Tuesday and Wednesday, 2-4pm, in SCC 22, while classes are in session. Yep, they start on Tuesday!
  • LinkedIn/GoldPASS drop-ins are every Thursday, 2-4pm, in SCC 22, while classes are in session. They start on Thursday.
  • You can stop by to have your resume reviewed anytime we’re open, M-F 8-4:30pm.
  • Oct 6: Head of the Lakes Job & Internship Fair for everyone.
  • Employers will be interviewing on-campus. Check GoldPASS for the latest schedule.
  • Full event schedule.

Cool New Features for 2016-17

  • We are collaborating with Disability Resources both in-person and online. Our two offices are working together to bring you a workshop series to help address the unique challenges students may face related to disability and the job search. Starting next week we’ll be launching a year-long blog collaboration to address topics around disabilities in the workplace. We’re sooo excited about this collaboration.
  • #BulldogOnTheJob is a new blog series we’re launching this week. Every few weeks we’ll be featuring UMD alumni as they share their journeys and advice about life after UMD.

Feel free to check our office website for information on everything related to careers. Stay tuned to the blog awesome new topics from students, for students, coming your way!

Internships – Beyond Your Project

By: Kirsi

Intern beyond project

Source: Unsplash | Jeremy Thomas


Recording data from my summer Co-Op project.

At the beginning of the summer I wrote a post about how to make the most out of your summer career experience expanding on getting to know your workplace before you get there, setting goals related to your project and establishing good habits. These points focus primarily on you growing your career experience and your project assigned by your department. The organization where you are interning/ Co-Oping will likely host other students, be comprised of other departments and be one of several locations around the nation or even world. Connecting with these three aspects will help you grow more in your career and also help you stand out beyond your project’s success. In this post I will talk about connecting with fellow Coterns (slang for Co-Ops and interns), connecting with your organization and connecting with your organization’s locations around the world.


I present about tips on writing a resume. Photo by NASA Cotern.

Connect with Fellow Coterns

This summer I Co-Oped at NASA Johnson Space Center which hosted over 100 interns and over 25 Co-Ops. Johnson has a unique Cotern group that autonomously organizes itself into committees that are either professional development focused or social networking focused. Every other week these committees take turns presenting about NASA sports league competitions, filming times for the student video, upcoming lectures by NASA leaders and volunteering opportunities. Depending on your company’s size similar professional and social committees may exist, otherwise, you can start your own! This summer fellow Coterns and I hosted the Professional Development Committee. We held a workshop on resumes and cover letters, a workshop on LinkedIn and networking, and there were many Ted Talk viewings during lunch. To get an audience we bribed Coterns with lemonade, doughnuts, and cookies. If you are not confident in giving workshops on a professional development aspect inviting Coterns to view Ted Talks during lunch with discussion after is an awesome way to provide helpful content without being an expert.


Coffee with NASA Johnson Center and Deputy Directors. Photo by NASA.

Connect with the Organization

Randomly, I was selected among Coterns, employees, and NASA contractors to have coffee with Johnson Center Director Ellen Ochoa and Deputy Director Mark Geyer. Above I am pictured to the left of Ochoa in a red blazer and I look pretty serious writing notes. This was an awesome opportunity to learn about the Directors’ vision for NASA’s future, hear other departments’ concerns and represent Coterns by sharing a student point of view. There is no need to wait for an invitation to coffee to learn more about your organization. Keep an eye on when “All Hands” meetings are held (updates on department and organization wide progress), mission/ new product debriefs, and department open houses. Ask your mentor what other departments work on projects you may be interested in and ask about getting in touch with them. Ask a fellow Cotern about their department and ask them to give you a tour of their workplace in return for a tour of your lab/workspace. Ask and you shall receive.


Tram tour through NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility.

Connect with Other Organization Locations

NASA Johnson, although known for the Apollo 13 “Houston, we’ve had a problem“, is not the only NASA Center. I led a group of students in biweekly video chats with some of our sister NASA Centers – Glenn, Goddard, Kennedy, Langley, and Stennis. Connecting with the other locations of your organization is valuable because you are likely collaborating on different aspects of the same projects. Johnson Coterns traveled to New Orleans to meet with Stennis Coterns, tour their site, and tour the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility where Space Launch System is being built. Getting to know Coterns from other locations is an opportunity to meet students with similar interests, exposes you to other places you may like to intern next, and contributes to the cohesiveness of the whole organization. Consider taking a weekend trip to another location of your organization (like its headquarters) or host another group at your location. If a weekend trip is logistically not possible consider Skype meetings with sister location Coterns.


Fellow Co-Op Adam Bass presenting about networking.

While your project’s success should be the priority of your internship/ Co-Op making time for connecting with fellow Coterns, the organization and other locations can help you grow in your career.

Of Possible Interest

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All photos are Kirsi’s unless otherwise designated.

From Welcome Week to Commencement: Reflecting on My College Years

By: Katie

During my first week as a UMD student, I walked through a tunnel with my fellow incoming students, lined by upperclassmen orientation leaders, staff, and faculty cheering as we were welcomed to the UMD community. Just a couple months ago, I walked through a similar tunnel. Except this time, it was lined by faculty members dressed in commencement regalia while I was outfitted with my black robe and gold tassel. This time, I walked through that tunnel on my last day as a UMD student.

That wasn’t my last act as a member of the UMD community; I have still been working in the office over the summer. It also wasn’t my last day as a student, as I will be starting a graduate program this fall. But it was the last day of my four years as a UMD student, years which were filled with experiencing more change in myself than I could have possibly wrapped my mind around as a lost and intimidated freshman.

Katie tabling for C&IS at a Bulldog Friday Visit.
Katie tabling for C&IS at a Bulldog Friday Visit.

While at UMD, I spoke to a lecture hall’s worth of people, voluntarily, on several occasions. In high school, I couldn’t speak in front of a small class without my voice trembling. At UMD, I danced and yelled and acted a fool while wearing a bright t-shirt and flower headband, for a week, surrounded by hundreds of people. In high school, I did everything I could to disappear into my surroundings, and avoided attention at all costs. At UMD, I completed my psychology degree and got accepted into a counseling grad program. In high school, I had never taken a psychology class nor considered a profession in which I would be so closely involved with others.

I have a distinct and difficult memory of the day when I made the jump from my high school life to my college one. My parents and brothers had helped me move my things into my dorm and shop for dorm-friendly snacks and decor, and now all that was left was to say goodbye. Leading up to that day, I had been excited about being on my own. But when the moment came to stand on a new campus in a new city full of strangers while my family drove away, I hesitated. I tried feebly to say something that would keep them around a little longer, because I suddenly felt lost and alone, terrified of what my shy self would do when my support system left me.

I like to think of that moment when I look toward the day in the near future when I will be moving across the country to begin a new program at a new school in a state where I don’t know a soul. It’s a similar situation, yet this time, I’ll have four years of growth and strength to draw on. I started at UMD shy, timid, alone, and confused, but I’m leaving it open, confident, and capable.

Reflecting on all this, I can think of so many things I wish I could have told my college self throughout the past 4 years. In the absence of this opportunity, I’ll write my advice here, in the hopes that some other college student might benefit.

So, here’s what I can tell you. Know that you won’t be the same person as you move your tassel across your cap on commencement day as you were when you first walked on campus as an 18-year-old. Know that the changes that occur during that time in between are up to you, mostly. Know that your openness to new experiences, new people, and new ideas will become the foundation and the finishing touch on your college experience. Know that there will be things that happen to you, both good and bad, which will influence that experience just as much as the things you choose to do. Know that you don’t need to be in such a rush to figure it all out. It’ll happen somehow, perhaps without you even knowing it.

Most importantly, know that college is going to end one day, and after that, you are pushed out of the educational bubble you’ve lived in most of your life and will truly be responsible for the state of your existence. So before that day, take advantage of these years to focus on yourself.

Flip all the furniture around in the lounge of the dorm floor below yours (ahem..just kidding..I definitely never did that…). Stay up way too late hanging out with your friends even though you have a test at 8am the following day. I promise you, you’ll remember those late nights more than you’ll remember whatever grade you’ll get on that test. Take a ceramics class even though your parents are pushing you to be a doctor like the rest of the family. Embrace every crazy, fun, overwhelming, emotional, unforgettable moment.

If done right, your college years will be ones you’ll miss. I know I will.

Read Katie’s other posts

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Summer Internship

By: Lexi

As only the first month of my summer internship comes to an end, I have already learned so much. It took a while for my employers to let me actually dive into the beneficial learning that is specific to my internship and my major, but while I was waiting to be assigned task after task, I learned important lessons that can help anyone with an internship succeed.

Ask Questions
Most of the time, there is never a stupid question. Asking questions will make you seem eager to learn and insure that you do your job correctly, which will impress your superiors.

Be Proactive
There is almost always something you can do. If you are not officially assigned a task, make one for yourself. You could study their company, look at past projects, get to know the book collection or database, etc.

Finish work on time & do more than is expected
This is so important. Being prompt and exceeding your expectations will make you stand out, which will help you succeed in your internship.

Tips for Summer Internship

Ask for constructive criticism
Asking for feedback is one of the best ways to learn at an internship. It will help you in your future tasks as well because you will know what they are looking for. Just be prepared to take the criticism and use their advice to fix your work, do not ignore it.

Take it seriously & be eager to learn
You are here to learn, show your employers that you want to. The more eager you are, the more likely people are to teach you. Show up on time, bring your materials and be ready to work.

Take a to-do list that you cannot lose
You will be given assignment after assignment, write these down! Making a to-do list will help you remember everything that you need to get done and it will keep you organized and finishing your work on time. Just don’t lose it!

Watch for opportunities to show off & contribute your knowledge
You were hired for the internship for a reason, you obviously have knowledge. Impress your employers with what you already know, but always have an open mind to learn more. After all, that is what you are there for.

Don’t just follow directions.
Do more than just the directions. Think about what you are doing when you do it. Understand what they gave you and really take information away from it.

Build professional relationships with your coworkers
The saying, “it’s who you know” is true. Build relationships now to have those connections in the future. This will help you advance your career.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Lexi’s other posts

Photo source: Unsplash|Andrew Illarionov