#BulldogOnTheJob: Sarah

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: Sarah Novack
Major: Statistics and Actuarial Science
Minor: Economics
Grad Date: December 2014

Organization, Title, and brief Synopsis
I am a Peace Corps Volunteer. There are five branches of Peace Corps: Education, Health, Agriculture, Business Development, and Youth Development. We train for three months before being placed at a permanent site, where we will serve for two years. My primary assignment is Secondary Education for Math and Science. I am currently serving in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Zanizbar is a gorgeous island full of tropical beaches and spice farms. I teach math at the local secondary school. Along with my primary assignment, I have two secondary projects that occupy my time. I have an After School STEM CLUB (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). We have done many simple science projects to explain centripetal force, air pressure, and chemical reactions. Secondly, I teach a Community English Class. The high tourism rate makes English Speakers in high demand.


Opportunities and classes that led to this role.
Two influences from UMD helped me choose Peace Corps after Graduation. My sophomore year I took a class called Cultural Diversity. This class opened my eyes to different types of diversity not only throughout the United States, but also throughout the world. Our professor was born and raised in Kenya (neighbor to Tanzania). He gave us a unique perspective, which I have carried with me to Tanzania. He taught us that diversity is more than the color of your skin. It is your religion, gender identity, and socioeconomic class. When I wasn’t in studying, I spent a lot of my time volunteering. I was a tutor at the Harbor City International School, a Volunteer Admissions Tour Guide, and a Rockstar! My UMD experience as a whole and my desire to travel the world influenced my decision to join Peace Corps.



What do you wish you would have known before entering your role?
I wish I would have known that, just because there is a Job Title associated with your major, doesn’t mean you have to go into that profession. For many years, I wanted to be an Actuary. I was finishing up my degree in Actuarial Science, when I realized, that was the last thing I wanted to be. There are many things you can do with a college degree; you just have to find what you are passionate about. I started looking into other career options, and with the help of Career & Internship Services and a childhood dream, I decided to join the Peace Corps. People join Peace Corps for many reasons, and for me it has opened the door into international development.


Career Advice for people wishing to enter your field.
Every Peace Corps experience is unique. I would recommend anyone looking into Peace Corps to talk to a wide variety of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. Peace Corps will give you a ground view into a new world. I never would have thought I would wake up everyday and put on a hijab, but Peace Corps has given me this opportunity. Peace Corps Volunteers love talking about their experience. We love talking about cooking over our charcoal stoves, fetching water from a well, stumbling through our new language, and convincing the village you probably won’t be marring a local so you can stay. If you enjoy volunteering and working abroad, there is a place for you in Peace Corps!


You can follow along with Sarah’s Peace Corps adventure on her Blog and Facebook Page.

Read other #BulldogOnTheJob stories!

Photo Source: Sarah

#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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Career Planning for Science Majors

Updated: June 2020

Are you one of the many students on the UMD campus with a science major? Odds are, you are. Our campus offers a vast array of science majors ranging from Biology to Computer Science to Statistics to multiple Engineering majors. We’ve put together a few resources to help you through the career planning process. Included are: what you can do with your major, upcoming career fairs, and general job/intern/grad school search information.  Have fun working on your career plan!

Science Majors

Staffing Agencies – a great resource for finding a job. These agencies specialize in helping recent graduates in the sciences find jobs in their fields.

Job & Internship Fairs

Insight From Students About Their Chosen Majors

Of Possible Interest
Career Planning, Job Search, Internships – our blog posts on these topics
Planning Your Career
Love Your Major

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