2013 Expo Success Story: Daniel Castrillo

Daniel Castrillo is currently a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering at Embry-Riddle Daniel CastrilloAeronautical University and recently begin a co-op rotation with Gulfstream.

Below is his first-hand experience at the Industry/Career Expo 2013 held in Daytona Beach, FL.

I walked into the 2013 Career Expo week not expecting much; little did I know that by the time that week ended I would have set up my future with the world’s largest leading business aviation company. I had prepared weeks in advance for the events to come that week. In order to properly prepare myself, I attended as many of the Career Services events as my schedule allowed. Getting to know the Career Services staff is very helpful in preparing for the Career Expo due to their wealth in knowledge of obtaining a job at the career expo. Luckily for me, I had Sandi Ohman and Lisa Kollar as my UNIV 101 professors during my first semester at Riddle, and I will never forget how they inspired me to work hard for my dreams and obtain a co-op.

My first introduction to Gulfstream came in the fall of 2011 when they came on campus for the 2011 Career Expo, I immediately fell in love with the company and after sitting through their information session I decided to go up and talk to the Campus Relations Consultant, Cassie Batayias. After talking for a few minutes she invited me to interview with her and her team the next day. Although I could not receive an offer since I had just started as a freshman, it was an opportunity for me to network with some professional engineers and get familiar with Gulfstream’s interviewing process. The following fall of 2012 I applied for the Co-Op position with Gulfstream, I attended the Meet and Greet event they held on campus but mostly kept to myself and then attended the information session. I interviewed the next day with two of Gulfstream’s engineers for the position. Unfortunately I did not get the position and I was heartbroken. Being rejected from your dream job hurts and I almost didn’t bother applying the next year. Fortunately I decided not to give up on my dreams and applied again for the position the following year. I attended the Meet and Greet event that Gulfstream held in the Fall of 2013 and this time I tried to talk to everyone from Gulfstream that I could. I believe it is important to show them your face and engage them in an intelligent conversation so they can put your face to your name later on when they’re deciding who gets the job. I then attended the information session and stayed after to talk to Mrs. Batayias to once again introduce myself and converse with her.

The next day was the interview and I made sure to dress my absolute best. It is crucial to come into the interview with plenty of resumes, a list of intelligent questions to ask the interviewers, a notepad, and a pen. To help myself stand out from the other students being interviewed, I brought thank you cards but did not fill them out till after the interview. After the interview was over, I sat down in a chair and wrote out my thank you cards, placing personal thoughts and ideas that stemmed from the interview. Make sure to thank the person for interviewing you and try to sell yourself in the card by repeating your strengths and what you can bring to the table for them. After finishing with the interview, it was time to wait. I attended the Industry/Career Ex[p the next day and went up to the Gulfstream booth to show my face one last time so that they could remember me, I talked to a few more people and left. After 3 of the longest weeks of my life, I was called by Mrs. Batayias with an offer to take my talents to Gulfstream. It was honestly one of the happiest moments of my life because with the Co-Op position there is a 95% chance of obtaining a full-time position with Gulfstream as soon as I graduate.  Not only because of that but because of all the exciting work I will get to be doing here at Gulfstream.

Overall I recommend preparing weeks in advance before the career expo, and talking to and listening to what the career services staff has to say. It was Sandi Ohman’s idea to use the thank you cards and I honestly believe they played a big role in obtaining the position. The best thing you can do is to make yourself stand out from the rest of the competition by any means possible.

 

 

 

Co-op/Intern Spotlight: Christoffer Laulund

Christoffer Laulund, ERAU

Christoffer Laulund, Senior, AE

Christoffer Laulund is a senior in the Aerospace Engineering program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Daytona Beach campus. As an international student, Christoffer had additional hurdles to cross in order to obtain an internship. However, through a stellar academic record,  perseverance and networking, he landed an internship this summer as an Engineering Intern with Gulfstream Aerospace in Savannah, GA.

As an International student, you know there are many challenges in finding internship opportunities in the U.S. What steps did you take to overcome these hurdles?

As an international student, the odds are even more heavily stacked against you in the quest for an internship than if a student has the “US person” status. This is the case, not necessarily because international students are less sought after, but simply because many companies, often due to federal regulations, are restricted to employ US person status employees. Nevertheless, it is not at all impossible to land an internship, even the internship you always wanted.

I have always admired Gulfstream and their airplanes, and if I had to choose one company to work for that I knew accepted international students, Gulfstream would be the one. To overcome the seemingly impossibly large obstacle of getting hired, I used the resources available to me: my knowledge, my contacts, EagleHire, and company hiring websites.

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

Through the use of the already mentioned resources, I finally got a call from Gulfstream. They had actually declined my online applications, but that does (apparently) not mean there is no way of getting the job. I had provided one of my contacts, whom I knew was in contact with Gulfstream on a regular basis, with my resume, and she forwarded it to the recruitment team at Gulfstream. There were no guarantees of course, but ultimately that resume, printed on paper and handed from person to person the old fashioned way, got me the internship I am currently doing. The recruitment team at Gulfstream had forwarded my resume to one of the hiring managers who in turn liked it and asked that they call me and offer me the job…just like that. Of course, hard work has to be put in regardless of which path one aims to take to get an internship or a job. My contact thought highly of me and had no qualms recommending me. My resume was strong thanks to good grades and other experiences. And last but not least, I kept pursuing what I wanted.

What advice do you have for students seeking an internship?

Oftentimes it can seem like an insurmountable feat to be given the opportunity to show off your skills to an employer and gain the experience that is so valuable and useful further down the line. However, when you are just about to snap the laptop shut in frustration over filling out one more form and uploading one more cover letter, remember that there are other ways of approaching the problem. I am not saying that you should not fill out that one additional form; on the contrary, I am merely saying that going about it in another way and using the people and recourses around you can get you very far. It can even get you all the way. In addition, it can motivate you to push through with just one more application. In the end, there is only one that really matters.

What do you expect to learn from your upcoming experience?

While at Gulfstream, I expect to learn about how the company conducts their engineering operations and how engineering outside the classroom and away from the books is done. I expect to develop my critical thinking skills and to become better at asking pertinent questions. Additionally I expect to learn one or two engineering software packages in more depth. The experience is also likely to expose me to a variety of different teams and ways of working, which will teach me about approaching problems in several ways and how to modify the approach as one works through the problem. Oh, and I expect to have fun!

What motivated you to apply to Gulfstream Corporation?

Gulfstream has been on the top of my list of employers ever since I learned that they accept international students. They make the most beautiful, most advanced airplanes in the world and cater to a niche market full of exciting individuals. With such a product line and high prestige, I relished the opportunity of becoming a part of the team that delivered these products. Making even the smallest impact on any of these aircraft would be thrilling. I had also heard nothing but good or great things about working for them from other interns or co-ops that I know from school. Every single one said that the company treated them very well and that they thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

What is one piece of career advice you would like to share?

My experience over that past two years tells me that hard work will be rewarded. Sooner or later an opportunity for you to grab will present itself; it is your responsibility to put yourself in the position to reach out and get it. Although the hard work is important to get to the right position, networking can be equally or more important. Get to know people. Additionally, be approachable and likeable. No one wants to work with people they cannot communicate with or cannot stand the sight of.

Therefore, work hard, talk, network, and connect.

Finally, I would like to give another somewhat intangible advice.  I believe the most important thing in one’s career is to find a line of work that excites you. Enjoy going to work every day, be challenged and relish the challenges that are presented. One can do good work regardless of what state of mind one is in, but great work can only be done if a person is excited about what he or she is doing.  In line with the above, my career advice is: don’t work, play. Find something you are passionate about or really love doing and pursue it. Life will become a playground, and you will be the king/queen.

Co-op/Intern Spotlight: Brian Smith

Brian Smith, Senior, BS AE

Brian Smith, a senior in the Aerospace Engineering program, still has two months left until graduation, but already has a full-time job offer thanks to his rotational four-semester stint as an Engineering Co-op at Gulfstream Aerospace. With over a year of experience working in various areas (Powerplant/Environmental Control Systems, Advanced Composites Technology, Structural Testing, Stress Analysis) within the company, he also has a sense of what he wants to do with his Embry-Riddle education. When Brian isn’t in Savannah, he works both in the Career Services Office as a Student Assistant and as a Teaching Assistant/Peer Mentor in the Department of Freshman Engineering at Embry-Riddle.

Tell us about your co-op experience at Gulfstream.

My experience started at the Industry/Career Expo during my freshman year, where I found Gulfstream at their booth winding down on the second day.  I grabbed the requisite freebie (a Rubik’s cube), and asked them what they did.  I heard about their products and their co-op program, and he told me to apply back the following year, which I did and landed the job.

When I got there, nearly everything was taken care of for me.  Lodging, work schedule, orientation, etc.  They told me where to go the first morning, gave me a map to get to the check-in, and walked me through the location with the rest of the first-time co-ops and got me situated in my office.  And every semester for me was as smooth as can be.

My semesters were spread across 4 different departments, each of which made me feel as an integral member of the team. They went to great lengths to give me meaningful work and left me to do independent work while doing their best to be available as a resource for help.

However, as each department (ECS & Powerplant/Adv. Composites/Structural Test/FEM & Stress Analysis) knew that I had experience in prior semesters, my responsibilities grew.  I was looked to and referenced to incoming co-ops as a resource for information in the co-op world and expected to be more competent as my job tasks became more in depth and directly affected tasks of the full time engineers.  The point of mentioning this is how with this company, and most of the others I’ve heard tell of, utilize their co-ops as critical members of their project teams. You should expect to have responsibility and a direct effect on your company.

In what ways has your co-op experience impacted your college experience?

College has become both easier and more difficult.  Easier in that with first-hand knowledge of aircraft and manufacturing methods in the real world, you can understand some of the things a professor says that would normally pass over your head.  It also makes it easier to organize and run class projects, as the experience you gain in teamwork in the workforce very easily translates to classroom leadership.

However, it can become difficult in that some things you learn in school are in no way relevant to the actual work you will likely do outside of school.  This is a true fact, and though some people will object vehemently to this, in my experience it is 100% true.  However, keeping the mindset where you’re “learning to learn” can help get you through those harder classes.

On the whole, there is nothing better to help your college career than a co-op. Confining yourself to a classroom is a quick way to a sheltered outlook, and nothing is more unappealing to a company than someone who is a drone and cannot think; they have computer programs for that.

What would you say to students who are on the fence about doing a co-op or internship?

I would say definitely make space in your college plan to do at least one internship if possible.  It can be fit into a summer, and the experience you gain far outweighs any cost you may incur; you’ll likely be paid.  There are no genuine reasons I can think of to not do one. At worst, you find out if the actual job is something you won’t enjoy and move on before burying yourself under a completed degree.  At best, you lay the foundations for your dream job and have security in your final semesters knowing your future is secured all while being more knowledgeable in class and likely a bit richer.  It’s a no brainer.

Is there anything that you would do differently if you had it to do all over again?

I would have done more to learn about the physics of aircraft and structure than looking like the noob that I did at first.  A bit of eagerness and more independent study on aircraft physics would have gone a long way.  It places you a bit behind the curve of where full time engineers are, but it’s possible to catch up.

Go in enthusiastic, be open to new ideas and be prepared to swallow your pride.  No matter how smart or clever you think you are, there is someone you will work with that will blow you away.  Be prepared to accept other ideas and have yours shot down, and don’t take anything personally.  It is the bottom line that is cared about most, not feelings.  But by meeting this different perspective head on and embracing it, you will go a lot further both professionally and socially.

Conference and Event Preparation: A Student’s Perspective

by Krystel Parra

Going to a career-related conference can be intimidating at first. You are surrounded by the industry’s elite and many potential employers. So how do you act in this type of situation?

As a student, the first conference I attended was Women in Aviation. Before the conference, I made sure that I had the right attire with me and was dressed appropriately. I wore what I would wear for a job interview, which ultimately gave me confidence. I had business cards with me just in case.  When I arrived, I was shocked that there were so many people who loved aviation just like I do. Women in Aviation hosted seminars, receptions, banquets, and booths showcasing various aviation-related companies. Initially it was hard to decide where to go and when since everything was happening at the same time. I made a schedule of events by prioritizing which was of most importance to me; that way, I didn’t miss anything that was related to my career and passion.

Next I made my way along the booths and made sure I talked to every company. I introduced myself and told them what I was looking for: an internship or co-op in Aviation Safety. Normally, they would direct me to the right person and give me their business cards. I would then proceed to give them my business card just so they would remember me and put a face with my qualifications. After I left their booth, I wrote a short description of what we talked about on the back of the business card. I was able to email everyone and remind them who I was, what we talked about and thanked them for their time. I also asked if there were any positions available and to please let me know. Besides good etiquette, emailing potential employers allowed them to remember me after the conference was over.

Additionally, during the conference we had many dining events where we were seated with people we had never met. Because we were seated with strangers, it gave us the opportunity to network during the meals. For example, while attending the last banquet, I sat next to a recruiter who had worked for numerous companies. She said that she loved to help people get jobs by letting them know for what the companies were looking. Throughout the night she gave me a few tips on how to land my dream job. This was what she said to me:

  • Do not be intimidated by the recruiters. They are happy to help you because they are looking for people who are compatible for the job.
  • People in higher positions are normally more open to students because they themselves have reached success and are willing to help others.
  • Join LinkedIn and talk to people online who are in your career. You may one day meet them in person, and you already have previous discussions on which you can build to help you stand out.
  • Have an updated resume and business cards. The business card will allow the employer to remember you after you left. So as a student, make sure the business card provides your name, contact information, major, graduation date, and internship experience. Your business card should be like a mini-resume.
  • Join nationally recognized organizations that are related to your field of study, such as Women in Aviation.

At the end of the dinner, she had enjoyed our conversation so much that she promised to introduce me to Gulfstream, a company for which she recruits. Talking to the recruiter gave me insight into the perspective of recruiters and what they were looking for in candidates. I started to implement these techniques.  Already, my connections have broadened.

I realize that every conference is an opportunity to meet great people who share the same interest and have connections that may help me get started on my career; therefore, it is always best to put your best foot forward because, as the saying goes, “it’s not what you know, but who you know.”

Krystel Parra is a an undergraduate student in the Safety Science program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. She works as a student assistant in the Career Services Office and is currently interning with Larsen Motorsports as a Safety Specialist Intern. Krystel also serves as an ambassador for the Embry-Riddle Women’s Ambassador Program.

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