Meet Kiara

Kiara headshot

Name: Kiara
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Major(s): Pre-Business
Year in school: 1st Year, Freshman
When I started working at UMD Career & Internship Services: Started in the Fall of 2019 as a front desk student assistant
Favorite place in Duluth: Chester Park
Favorite hobby: Figure skating

Best career advice I’ve received: The best piece of advice I’ve received is to be more mindful of the commitments you make to prevent feeling overwhelmed with the stress of saying yes to too many things.  Along with this, it’s important to know the difference between stepping outside of your comfort zone which creates growth versus committing to things that will cause you unnecessary stress and anxiety. -Ilfenesh Hadera

Piece of career advice you have for other students: Pursue your passions with a positive mindset and view your mistakes as learning opportunities.

Stay tuned for more posts from Kiara!

When Good Things Have to End

By: Kirsi

Way back in January 2016 I started my work study position as a Peer Educator in UMD’s Career and Internship Services (C&IS). The semester before, I was looking for a work study position that would give me a break from my technical work and saw a Tweet about the Peer Educator position. Seven semesters, four years, and 2000+ resumes later, I am wrapping up my time as a Peer this semester. I have completed a lot, learned a lot, and shaped my future while working in C&IS.

Kirsi & Ellen filming for Love Your Major.

What I Did
One of my greatest weaknesses is making assumptions. I assumed that all I would do as a Peer Educator is review resumes and do homework when there was no resumes to review. Reality check, there is almost always resumes to be reviewed; dropped off, submitted on GoldPASS, collected from classes, or brought by students during drop-ins. If there was not a resume to review, C&IS puts Peers to work on projects – to advance the office’s mission, to grow your strengths, and match your interests. 

My favorite project I worked on as a Peer was implementing, “Love Your Major,” a retention initiative made possible by a grant from Strategic Enrollment Management. I challenged fellow students with the question, “Should I choose, change, or embrace my major?” The goal of Love Your Major was to encourage students to think about their major over the summer, so they could hit the ground running in the fall. The target audience was all returning students who would start their sophomore year fall 2017. Students received information about how to choose, change or embrace their major by mail, email, and social media. I hosted weekly interactive Facebook Live events. I interviewed fellow peer educators on how they choose their majors, described how Career & Internship Services can help students pick their major, hosted Q&As with career counselors, and gave an office tour of Career & Internship Services. It was extremely fun to mix web design with social media, with career outreach.

C&IS carefully collects data on where UMD alumni work six months to a year after graduation. I have edited, modified, and updated almost every webpage related to that data to insure that the public has the most accurate information. Learning about where alumni from each major go after graduating was interesting and I encourage everyone to take a look at that data.

letterboard down on table with letters everywhere
Sometimes, things have to get knocked down & put back together.

What I Learned
During my first year as a STEM major, I held a toxic elitist view on what majors are and are not meaningful. After working with Peers of other majors, learning about what alumni from other majors do after graduating, and hearing goals from students of other majors my mind was opened and changed. It was fascinating to learn the goals of each collegiate unit on campus, learn about each major, and hear about students’ career aspirations during resume reviews. I am thankful for how fun, cool, and supportive all of the fellow Peers I have worked with are! Enjoyment in office and extracurricularly. 

I had a morale break down one semester not far from graduation. I wanted to drop one of my majors, petition out of engineering senior design, overload a semester with classes, move to Arizona, and work at Taco Bell. I am not exaggerating, this is simply what I wanted, and I was serious about it. Fortunately, the C&IS work environment of being submerged in a sea of counselors snuffs out crises quickly. I am completing both majors (in less than three weeks), staying in Duluth until I do, and had an extremely positive senior design experience. I am thankful for C&IS’ supportive senior staff!

2019 calendar on wall
Counting down to graduation.

What I’m Doing Next
Early this winter I will be working full-time at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. This has been a multi-year long journey and still feels unreal. Our Peer supervisor suggests that working at NASA will feel real once I have been their longer than my longest Co-Op stint. In the far future I can see myself continuing my career in space exploration, becoming a K-5 teacher, and/or intentionally working at Taco Bell. I am confident about my future because of all of the love and support C&IS has shared with me.

Read Kirsi’s other posts

Photo source: Kirsi

Meet Gao

Gao headshot

Name: Gao
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Major(s): Exercise Science and Communication Sciences and Disorders
Minor: Early Childhood Studies
Year in school: 3rd
When I  started working at UMD Career & Internship Services: September 2019
Favorite place in Duluth: Enger Park
Favorite hobby: Reading horror/thriller books and watching documentaries. 

Best career advice I’ve received: 
The best career advice I have been given is simply to invest. Invest your time and energy in researching and understanding what you want to do for the rest of your life. You have so much time and ability to do whatever comes your way, make use of the resources and support systems at your hand. Sometimes you will have to fight for the things that you want, but you may not know where to go or how to do it, so take the time to find where your foundation is and invest in that firm structure to build for your future goals and careers. Apply for that internship, scholarship, part-time job, and continuously seek what you have been looking for. 

Piece of career advice you have for other students:
ASK QUESTIONS! When you are stuck or don’t know where to go, how to fix a problem, or how to make it to your next goal, ask! Don’t let the problem simmer or your foundation crumble. You are in school, you have the opportunity to learn more about what your future might hold, so utilize the people and the resources that are there for you. Especially in college. Students pay thousands of dollars to go to college, USE IT. You pay for these resources and supplemental aspects of success, don’t forget about those little things. As much as the “big things” are important, so are the little steps in stepping towards your bigger goals. 

Meet Stephanie

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Name: Stephanie
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Major(s): Chemical Engineering
Year in school: 3rd Year, Junior
When I started working at UMD Career & Internship Services: Started in Fall 2019 as Multicultural Outreach
Favorite place in Duluth: Canal Park after sundown & Bentleyville during Christmas time!
Favorite hobby: Playing the ukulele

Best career advice I’ve received: 
Choose a career where you feel you will impact the world in your own ways.

Piece of career advice you have for other students:
No matter what career you choose, be happy with it and continue to change the world for the better, big or small!

Meet Sophia

Sophia headshot

Name: Sophia
Major: Psychology
Minor: Early Childhood Studies
Year in school: Sophomore
When I started working at UMD Career & Internship Services: September 2018
Favorite place in Duluth: Lil’ Angie’s and Park Point
Favorite hobby: I love to do crafting and watch Grey’s Anatomy

Best career advice I’ve received: Find a career that makes you feel accomplished and happy.

Piece of career advice you have for other students: There is no shame in wanting to change your major or even your entire career path when you get older. Being miserable in a field that you have to be in constantly can be detrimental to you. Find something that makes you happy and stick with it.

Meet Kendra

Kendra Headshot


Name: Kendra
Major: Psychology
Minor: Early Childhood Studies
Year in school: Freshman
When I started working at UMD Career & Internship Services: Fall 2018

Favorite place in Duluth: This is an extremely tough question to answer because I have not been to all of the places in Duluth that are on my bucket list. I have been to many different places, but have so many more places to go see and explore. Currently, my favorite place in Duluth is the top of Enger Tower. Anyone who has been will agree that the view is absolutely breathtaking. It is a pretty basic choice, but I figure you can’t go wrong with a view like that. My friends and I have made many trips up to the tower and I take all of my visitors there so they can experience it, too.

Favorite hobby:
When I have free time, which is rare, I enjoy doing anything with my friends or just relaxing and watching TV or YouTube. I love watching vlogs on YouTube and my absolute favorite vlogger is Abby Asselin. I have also recently started binge watching One Tree Hill again, but it consumes me so I have to be careful to only watch an episode or two at a time. I have seen the entire series twice, but it is amazing how much I forgot about the show.

Best career advice I’ve received:
I have always been one to get super worried and nervous about making decisions. Because of this, my mom has always advised me not to be too anxious about choosing a career path. She tells me that whatever I am supposed to do will come to me, so stressing about it really is not worth it. Being a freshman, this advice is great for me because I am just in the beginning stages of my career journey.

Piece of career advice you have for other students:
Talk to important people in your life about your plans for the future. Although your path is ultimately up to you, hearing another’s opinion about what strengths and qualities they see in you and how those would fit into a certain field can be extremely helpful. Your families, close friends, teachers, or even employers might see something in you that you do not see in yourself, which might open the door for a whole range of different possibilities.

Meet Taylor

Taylor headshot

Name: Taylor
Major: Communication
Minor: Marketing
Year in school: Freshman
When I started working at C&IS: September 2018

Favorite place in Duluth: While my time at UMD has been short-lived, my favorite place I’ve visited so far is Leif Erikson Park. I first visited during Duluth’s autumn when the leaves were changing colors, it wasn’t too chilly or too hot, and the sky was bright blue. It’s a great place for a walk, see the Aerial Lift Bridge from afar, Lake Superior, and is a hotspot for PokemonGo.

Favorite hobby: When I’m not working or doing homework, I find much of my time is spent belly-achingly laughing with my friends, bingeing T.V. shows and documentaries, leisurely reading books, and going to the gym.

Best career advice I’ve received: “Good things don’t come easy, you’ve gotta work hard for bigger and better things. Don’t be a quitter!” -My mom

Piece of career advice I have for other students: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It can be a little nerve-wracking and hard to admit, but sometimes all you need is a little guidance from someone experienced.

Meet Amanda

Amanda headshot

My name is Amanda and I am a sophomore this year with a Marketing major. This is my first semester working with Career and Internship Services as a Peer Educator.

I can’t possibly pick one favorite place in Duluth, so I guess I will share a few. On a warm summer day I love visiting the Portland Malt Shop and walking along the Lake Walk or going through the shops in the Fitgers building. I have the best memories in these areas from when my family vacationed here when I was a child. My hobbies include traveling and exploring new places, trying coffee shops and restaurants, and hiking. A few of my newfound favorites in Duluth include Va Bene and Amity Coffee.

The best career advice that I have received was from my dad when I began my search for an internship, he stated: “all that matters is that you surround yourself with good people, work hard, have fun, and be a good communicator with all.” This laundry list of items is something that I carry with me as I go through my day-to-day life. My piece of advice for other students would be to remember that every single person you meet or experience you have is an opportunity to grow career-wise, as well as personally. Don’t be afraid to meet new people. You never know where a new connection will take you.

Stay tuned for Amanda’s posts!

Meet Rachel

Rachel headshot

Hi all!  My name is Rachel, and I’m just joining the blog here. I’m a junior pursuing a double major in Organizational Management and Writing Studies.

I started working at UMD Career & Internship Services in fall of 2017. I began as an Alumni Caller contacting past graduates to see where life had taken them since graduation. There are so many interesting aspects to that job, but I’m also really excited to be stepping into my new role as a Peer Educator!

I’m from a very rural small town, so I love finding new places outdoors that not many other people visit. I love being right on the lake, but I also enjoy driving high up in the hills and seeing the whole city from above.  

My favorite hobby by far is making music. I love to play the piano and sing, and I also play the flute.

My mom has shaped my career choices the most. She has advised me to pick something I’m passionate about and have strengths in but to also consider the practical implications of a job. She has always emphasized balance; every job will have positive and negative aspects, and you need to be able to handle both. My mom’s perspective helps me realize that no job is perfect; it’s important to take all aspects into consideration as well as your priorities, and make the best choices you can.

A piece of advice I would offer when it comes to your career (and life as a whole) is a quote from Rumi: “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” You won’t love every aspect of your job, but don’t allow the small hindrances to make you lose sight of your grander purpose.

I hope you all enjoyed learning a little about me, and I look forward to the blog posts to come!

Meet Paying

Paying headshot

Name: Paying
Major(s): English
Minor(s): Digital Writing, Literature, and Design
Year in school: Junior
When I started working at UMD Career & Internship Services: August 2018

Favorite place in Duluth: The first few places that first popped up to mind were the usual Canal Park, Enger Tower, and other touristy areas, however, I love the ‘hidden gems’ and places that may be overlooked. Due to the memories made and how amazing the views are, I’d have to say the cliff at the First United Methodist Church and a cliff off to the side of the road on the way to Enger tower which overlooks the city lights at night!

Favorite hobby: Hands down it’s got to be sports. Although I am a very lazy person, when it comes to sports I become very energized due to my competitive nature. I enjoy playing volleyball, flag football, and soccer!

Best career advice I’ve received: “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” – Marc Anthony

Piece of career advice you have for other students: Don’t be afraid to explore who you are more as a person. Whether you have chosen a career path already or not, knowing what your passions are will show you if you’ve chosen the right path for yourself or if you need to go down a different one.