Expo Success Story: Morgan Latten

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.

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Alumni Career Spotlight: Stephen Boyce

Stephen Boyce, ERAU-DB, EP

Stephen Boyce, DB 2011

Stephen Boyce graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics from the Daytona Beach campus in May 2011. As a student, Stephen completed internships with IMP Aerospace and HINZ, a Rockwell Automation Company.

Soon after graduation, Stephen was hired by Schlumberger as a Maintenance Engineer Trainee, serving as a key link between the field maintenance organization and the Engineering & Manufacturing centers to help improve equipment design reliability and maintainability. After ten months in this role, Stephen moved up to a Field Engineer position and is currently in training to become a Technical Sales Engineer.

Can you tell us about your company?

Schlumberger (pronounced Shlum-Ber-Jay) is the leading oilfield services provider, trusted to deliver superior results and improved performance for oil and gas companies around the world. We are the world’s largest oilfield services company employing 120,000 people. Schlumberger was founded in France in 1927 and now operates in around 85 countries around the world. Our 2011 revenue was $40 billion, and thus far in 2012, we are enjoying continued financial and technological growth. I work in the Artificial Lift Segment, where we focus on the installation, deployment, startup and commissioning of Electric Submersible Pumps. These ESP’s provide the lift necessary to produce oil to surface with enough pressure to reach a surface facility for transport. The company hires freshly graduated engineers, mid career professionals and prospective employees from several different training backgrounds. Generally Schlumberger hires hardworking, team-oriented people who love to travel and accomplish goals.

What factors went in to your decision to select your place of employment?

It is actually an interesting story how I first heard of Schlumberger. I was at a friend’s cottage on summer vacation when an old friend asked me about my plans after graduation. He mentioned that he had worked as a contractor for Schlumberger and began telling me the stories of his travels to dozens of countries around the world in his 20 years with the company. He gave me the direct recruiting contact, I submitted an application and the rest is history. Schlumberger was an attractive employer to me for several reasons. First and foremost, the company is a performance based company. Basically that means that your promotion within the company lies directly in your performance and motivation. My decision was also based on the opportunity to be given mobile status. This means that while I am based in Canada, I can be sent to any of the Schlumberger locations worldwide depending on field activity and training requirements. The training is what sets Schlumberger apart from its competitors. This attracted me to the company, and I have been fortunate to travel to Paris, France, as well as Abu Dhabi, UAE, and Houston, Texas, to our main Artificial Lift training locations. Schlumberger offers excellent work-life balance including time off allowing opportunities to see parts of the world I would have never expected. The benefits, relocation and compensation at Schlumberger are among the best I’ve seen and played a large factor in my employment selection. The relocation process from Florida was handled by Schlumberger which made my transition seamless. Schlumberger promotes healthy growth of employee investments through Retirement Savings Plans, Deferred Profit Sharing and flexible stock options. Fitness is promoted within Schlumberger as well, as we are allocated funds each year for gym memberships and physical activity. The diversity at Schlumberger is unbelievable. Since taking the job, I have met people from every continent, and in a way it reminds me of my time at Embry-Riddle. Ultimately, the level of professionalism and endless opportunities to move up attracted me to Schlumberger as well.

For your job with your current employer, what was the interview process like and how did you prepare? 

After I submitted an application on the Schlumberger Career Portal online, I received an email a few days later requesting a phone interview. I spoke with their recruiter in Houston for about 40 minutes on the phone. We discussed my job interests, combed through my resume and internship experience as well as personal goals, skills and proficiencies. Within a few days, I was called by the national recruiter to travel to Canada for a 3-day technical interview and location visit. During this process I was introduced to several location managers as well as some of the current employees. The technical portion consisted of 4-5 recruiters and managers as well as 10-12 prospective employees for the position I currently have. On the 3rd evening, I was given a verbal offer that was followed by an official offer letter about a week later.

I prepared for the interview by researching the company extensively and using the ERAU career services resources as much as I could. We had several mock interview sessions with the questions getting more difficult each time. We also scrutinized my resume together before submitting it online.

Do you have any interview advice after going through that experience?

I recommend that students utilize Career Services as much as possible. They helped me with resume optimization, interview preparation and overall confidence. The more you prepare, the more confident you will be in yourself, and ultimately you can put your best foot forward. Cater your resume specifically to the job you are applying to, since employers can spot a generic mass resume from miles away. Be sure to establish your added value to the company during the interview process. Remind your recruiter that you are interested by following up with a phone call and email. A recruiter sees hundreds of resumes a week – the more times your name goes across their desk the better.

What doors have been opened for you from all of your hard work at your current employer and during school?

I couldn’t have predicted the opportunities that have come up so far with Schlumberger. Since joining the company in August 2011, I have been promoted from a Maintenance Engineer Trainee to a Field Engineer and now a Technical Sales Engineer in training. As part of the Maintenance program, I had the opportunity to travel to Paris for a 6-week instruction on Electric Submersible Pump Application Engineering and was approved for travel to Switzerland, Italy, Belgium and the Canary Islands, Spain. Following the recommendation of my instructor in Paris, I was transferred into the Sales program which includes customer relationship management, client development and overall revenue generation for Schlumberger through enterprise selling. While in Houston, I was in charge of populating a sales opportunity worth $5,000,000. Lately I am also tasked with application engineering designs, where I develop an equipment string to produce oil based on downhole reservoir pressure, temperature, flow rates and operating conditions. The most recent promotion features a temporary work term in Abu Dhabi where I will engineer equipment designs for aggressive well conditions as well as develop commercial proposals that will be used to submit to clients in future bids. Following the work term in Abu Dhabi, the manager of our Singapore facility has offered me the opportunity to travel to Singapore, observe how things operate in that facility and monitor for improvements at our home location in Canada.

My long term goals with Schlumberger include managing an international sales account and establishing a company-wide program that enables our engineers to submit quotes seamlessly allowing streamlined transition between Schlumberger and the client. This is an area within the company with great potential for improvement and would allow Schlumberger to flourish economically and increase the distance between us and our competitors.

Intern/Co-op Spotlight: Adam Naids

Adam Naids, Sr, BS EP

Adam Naids is our very first Going Places Intern/Co-op Spotlight. He is a senior, working on an undergraduate degree in Engineering Physics. He has topped off his outstanding academic record with a multi-semester co-op with the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX.  Check out the  NASA is Not Cancelled video, featuring Adam, at the end of his interview. You can find this video and more on ReelNASA’s YouTube channel.

How did you land the internship and how did you navigate the process?

The road to actually getting this internship was a long one. I first found out about the program while searching the internet for internships my freshman year of college. Even though I had very little engineering experience, I applied just to get my name out there and see what I could do to make my application better the next time around. I did not get the internship that first summer but I continued to apply for each session they offered. Finally, after applying four times I finally got called for an interview and got the job.

If I can give some advice to people looking for internships or co-ops it would be to not give up. Keep applying and don’t get discouraged. Also, don’t be afraid to apply for a Spring or Fall offering even if it delays your graduation. These experiences are extremely valuable and will make you a much better candidate to get a job once you graduate. In my case it is taking me five and half years to graduate with my Bachelor’s degree, but I will have completed 4 internship tours. Additionally there are a lot less people that apply for internships or co-ops during the school year than do in the summer. So you have a much better chance of getting accepted for offerings during those times.

To explore internship opportunities I would definitely recommend using Career Services. Their EagleHire system was extremely valuable in finding internship opportunities. They also offer many great classes that teach you how to get an internship. You learn how to dress, how to interview, how to make a great resume, and many more. They were a great resource for me and I am grateful for all of their help.

What have you done and what are you doing on your internship?

Throughout my internships and co-ops at NASA I have had the opportunity to be a part of many amazing projects. My first internship I worked on a reduced gravity simulator. This crane-like system has been designed to simulate the microgravity environment in space, the gravity on the Moon and on Mars. It is currently being used to train astronauts to work in microgravity and will be used in the future to train astronauts to walk on planetary bodies like the Moon and Mars. During my time working on this project I helped design a new generation of the system itself, developed and performed tests to mitigate a problem in the system, and supported human and robotic testing.

My second internship I worked on the Space Exploration Vehicle. This vehicle is being designed to enable mobility at destinations beyond Low Earth Orbit. It will be able to maneuver around an asteroid and even drive across other planetary surfaces like the Moon and Mars. When people talk about spaceships they talk about vehicles like this, and I was very fortunate to get to work on this. During this internship tour I helped assemble the vehicle, personally designed the side windows and integrated them and numerous other components on the vehicle. It was very hands on and I spent many hours in the machine shop. This was truly an amazing experience.

Currently I am working on the International Space Station (ISS) Program. My specific group is responsible for training people to become Flight Controllers. These flight controllers are responsible for the Electrical Power and External Thermal Control System on the ISS. Throughout my time here I have learned about the process it takes to be a flight controller and have developed a huge appreciation for what they do. I have gained immense knowledge in systems engineering and learned so much about the ISS and how magnificent it really is. Additionally, I developed lessons to teach flight controllers in training how to communicate in Mission Control.

As an intern here at NASA we are very fortunate to have many distinguished speakers come and talk to us. Some of the people I have heard speak are NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Chris Ferguson and Sandy Magnus of the Final Space Shuttle Crew, Duane Ross the head of astronaut selection, Gene Kranz, Jim Lovell and Fred Haise of the Apollo 13 crew, and many more. In addition to these lectures we get to go on tours of the NASA facilities. The most interesting tour I have had so far was of the Lunar Rock Curation Facility. It is in this facility that all of the moon rocks brought back from the Apollo missions are stored. Getting that close to these national treasures was such an awesome experience. Another exciting event that we set up was our Apollo night. At this event we watch the movie Apollo 13 in the historical Mission Control Center that the Apollo missions were flown out of with Gene Kranz, the Flight Director during that time. He gives his personal account of the Apollo 13 mission and then we watched the movie. It was one of the most fun nights I have had while here.

What opportunities are available for students at NASA, post-shuttle?

Even though the Space Shuttle Program has ended there are still plenty of opportunities at NASA and their contracting companies as well. NASA is preparing to take humans beyond Low Earth Orbit for the first time since the days of Apollo. There is a lot of work that needs to be done before we can proceed with this endeavor, and that work is going on now. Currently NASA is developing the Orion Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) that will carry humans to these far off destinations. They are also building a brand new heavy lift rocket called the Space Launch System (SLS) that will launch the Orion capsule into space. Additionally, much research is being put into how to explore an asteroid. NASA is currently planning to take humans to an asteroid for the first time in history. This is a difficult mission and there is a lot of work going on trying to figure out how to do this. Even more exciting is that NASA’s long term goal is to land humans on Mars. There is a lot of research and development going on to enable this mission to be successful. These are just a few of the bigger projects going on at NASA that co-ops and interns have the opportunity to work on. It is a great time to be at NASA because the future is bright. History will be made and you can be a part of it.

What advice do you have for students seeking an internship?

When looking for internships that interest you, have an open mind. Almost nobody gets to do their dream job as an internship. So when you are searching for available programs, apply to openings even if you don’t think you will enjoy it. Having an internship doing something you don’t like doing is better than not having an internship at all. That will allow you to get your foot in the door and open up more opportunities in the future. Furthermore, you may end up liking something you never thought you would. In my case I was placed to work with Flight Controllers and see the process they go through to train. I never thought of myself as a flight controller in a million years. However, after being here and seeing what they get to do, it is something I would highly consider if I were to be offered a job here. To sum up, I would say be open minded, try new things, and do the best job you can at the tasks you are given. Doing that will open up opportunities for you to pursue your dream job.

Internships and Co-ops are the best thing you can do for your career while in college. They enable you to put the knowledge you learn in a classroom immediately to use on real world applications. It allows you to figure out exactly what you like and don’t like doing. And even though you may not be assigned the most exciting tasks in the world, everything you do is important to your growth as an individual and for your career. I cannot emphasize enough how imperative it is to do some kind of internship or co-op during college. And it is important to remember that these opportunities will not just come to you. You need to actively go out there and search for them. Search the internet, talk to friends, and use Career Services. There are many avenues to take to be successful; you just have to find the right one. I hope that sharing my experiences with you motivates you to get out there and apply. I have had the greatest times of my life during my internships and co-ops and I want others to have that same experience.

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