by Morgan Latten
As a freshman, the idea of interacting with employers at the Career Expo was extremely intimidating because I feared that with my lack of knowledge and experience I would only embarrass myself. I decided that I would take the easy way out by waiting a few years until I was more comfortable and felt that I was desirable enough to be hired as an intern. I ended up applying to be a Career Expo Ambassador through Student Employment because it was the perfect cure for my lack of confidence; the position would allow me to interact with the employers, by assisting in their presentations and helping them out during the day of the Expo, without the pressure of having to market myself. After being notified that I got the position, I learned about, and began utilizing, the resources that Career Services offers to improve students’ skills for pursuing internships and full-time positions.
During the Career Expo, I facilitated Information Sessions for several companies. After a particular Session, the employers told me that I had made a wonderful impression on them, and they gave me their contact information; while their company was focused primarily on business, another part of the company was more engineering-based. Surprised that in that short amount of time I was able to attract the attention of the employers, I immediately understood the importance of not underestimating myself.
This year, as a sophomore, I attended the Career Expo with the confidence I’d built up as a result of the Ambassador position. I wasn’t necessarily looking to participate in any internships; my goal was simply to speak with a few employers, explore different options and then to pursue a specific opportunity in my junior year. As I was leaving, the employers that I’d made contact with last year remembered me by name and requested my contact information. I handed them my résumé, with the intentions of providing them with the information they had requested, and they ended up placing it in the pool for interviews the following day. To my surprise, I received a phone call from the engineering-based division of the company requesting an interview; several weeks later, I was notified that I had received a six-month internship position. Though I did not have a perfect GPA, amazing project experience, or extensive leadership positions, I was recommended by the employers that I’d met a year prior, and now I have a wonderful opportunity to expand my knowledge and gain pivotal hands-on experience.
Morgan Latten is a sophomore in the Engineering Physics program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach campus. She works on campus as a tutor and technical director in the Writing Center.