Alumni Career Spotlight: Jonathan L.S. Castillo-Reminick

Jonathan L.S. Castillo-Reminick, DB 2009

Jonathan L.S. Castillo-Reminick graduated in 2009 with his Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering.  While a student at ERAU, Jonathan had a strong interest in working and living abroad.  After completing a self-created internship with MTU Aero Engines in Munich, Germany, he helped establish an engineering internship recruiting relationship between MTU and ERAU that continues today.  From his experience at MTU Aero Engines, he built a network of contacts that helped him to find career opportunities living and working abroad after graduation.

Tell us about your current position and how you obtained this opportunity.

I currently work as a Stress and Aerodynamics Engineer at Assystem Germany GmbH in Munich. They are an engineering subcontractor based in France (the name translating to “Ace System”), and the aerospace division in which I now work used to be subsidiary of MTU Aero Engines but became a part of Assystem in 2011.

After finishing my degree at ERAU, I arranged an internship at MTU Aero Engines in their Turbine Aerodynamics department. Because I had used a number of their published research papers in my Detail Design project, I was familiar with many of the technologies they were developing. Following that internship, I continued to work as a Student Employee, first directly at MTU, then as an External Employee through Assystem. After the project with MTU ended, I started working on Stress Analysis projects for Rolls-Royce Germany. There were numerous complications in writing my contracts along the way because of my visa status, but thanks to very helpful and flexible supervisors and the German immigration authorities, I’m now well on my way to earning residency.

How did your overseas internship prepare you for your current position?

My very first internship was during my studies at MTU. This contributed to opening up future opportunities in two critical ways: becoming intimately familiar with jet engines and learning German. My first internship was on the production floor, so English was a rarity, as was textbook German, because most spoke the strong Bavarian dialect. Thus I was forced to start speaking quickly. On a technical level, working on the production floor gave me insight into parts of the engine and their different manufacturing methods. Of course having already worked for the company, albeit in an unrelated position, was probably beneficial too.

Overseas positions require a Curriculum Vitae. Is there anything in particular students should highlight on this document?

CVs, in my experience, vary from country to country. The first thing to remember is to leave out the “Objective” line as seen on U.S. resumes. Education and relevant work experience should be on the front page–and yes–two pages is perfectly normal, even for entry-level applicants. When applying internationally, remember that education systems differ across the globe, so make sure you communicate how many years your degree takes and what the grades mean. For example: you might have a 3.8, but a 4.0 is failing in Germany!! Let them know 4.0 is the best attainable grade.

Also, don’t forget the meaning of “Curriculum Vitae”–Latin for “the course of life.” List relevant and also interesting things you have done or accomplished in life, such as living in different places, learning languages, hobbies, etc. Stays (not just vacations) abroad are especially seen in high regard, as is community service.

What were some of the challenges you faced moving outside the U.S. and adapting to your new position?

The most critical part of working overseas is also the most basic element: moving. Unless you plan on working within a few flying or driving hours of home or somewhere familiar, the act of uprooting your life can be hard and traumatic–not just for you, but also for loved ones and friends. Because I come from an international family, this was not a problem for me personally, but I have many friends for whom it was. I have seen how this is the single most challenging part of moving. Some made the move and stayed, some left after a year or two, and some never made it over once they realized the implications it would have. Consider this deeply and honestly.

Aside from that, there are the usual issues of the different stages of culture shock that people go through: language barriers, eating differently, and different perspectives on the world. I was confronted with all sorts of new things that are normal in Germany, but at best eccentric in the U.S. Some of it may sound ridiculous at first, but the most important thing is to keep an open mind and never stop asking “why?” – Why are so many Germans sporty? Why are they so concerned about sustainability when they’re already the most efficient country on the planet? Why are they so sensitive about their Nazi past? Why are they such big fans of U.S. culture but not of our politics?

Which brings me to the third most important part of living in a different culture: don’t be shy about your own! For example, don’t let people get you down about “bad American beer.” There are many wonderful beers in the U.S.  As an American, I have had to deal with all sorts of criticism from people that are dissatisfied with our foreign policy. Make it clear that they have a right to their opinion but that you don’t single handedly run the country. Every country has blemishes in its past, so don’t be afraid to stand up for the U.S.A.!

What advice do you have for students wanting to work/live abroad?

Looking  for work overseas is very similar to looking for work in the States. Research companies well and write directed and purposeful applications. Establish contact with someone at the company and follow up on that. Networks that are built internationally are very useful, because you never know who knows who and who might be important to you later. As you may have noticed, a healthy career usually needs a good deal of Vitamin C–Connections. Don’t know anyone at a company? Not a problem, contact their HR, see if they’re holding a seminar at a university, read up on their accomplishments and see if you catch a name.

Universities abroad also hold career fairs just like at ERAU, and nothing stops you from browsing websites. Find the website of a career fair in the country you’re interested in and see which companies operate there–you might be surprised! As English is the working language around the world and international students are everywhere, almost every site is also in English.

Back at home, be sure to turn over every rock, because you never know where a golden opportunity lies. Use all of the resources you have!

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Where’s the List?!?

by Adriana Hall & Valerie Kielmovitch

People love lists…they like making to-do lists, they watch David Letterman give a top ten list every night, and they find grocery lists to be useful.

What about a list of employers to target during a job search, employers who will hire you based on your specific circumstances?  That would be a great list to have!  We often have students ask Career Services for a list of employers who are hiring, but the truth is that you can make your own list.  Every job seeker should have a list of targeted companies to help guide him or her through the job search process.

Formulating your list of employers will take time and patience. To set you on the right track,  here are a few resources that we suggest you use to create your list.

  • EagleHire Network – career management system with a database in which companies and Career Services post both full-time and internship positions for Embry-Riddle students and alumni. Once logged in to EagleHire, you can conduct employer searches based on various criteria and identify companies that may be interested in your education, skills, and experience
  • CareerShift – job/internship search engine that can be accessed through the EagleHire Network; it is especially valuable for those searching based on geographical location. It also allows students and alumni to search company contact information and track their job search efforts
  • Company-specific Websites – search company career pages for opportunities
  • LinkedIn – professional networking site with job postings and groups to join. We recommend that you join the Embry-Riddle Career Services group along with those groups related to your field of study and interests
  • Networking – connect with those around you, including your fellow classmates
  • Industry/Career Expo – October 10, 2010 from 9am-4pm in the ICI Center (Check out the list of 2012 attendees)
  • Online Recruiting Events – Career Services hosts a Virtual Hiring Event in the spring, and you can take advantage of other groups offering online events
  • Professional Associations/Conferences – seek out associations to join and conferences to attend; many of the associations have job opportunity sections and lists of their industry members and conference attendees
  • On-Campus Visits – stay up-to-date on what employers will be on campus giving an information session and/or interviewing for open positions
  • Home Country – if you are a citizen of another country, conduct research about other countries’ bi-lateral agreements with your own country
  • Home Stateresearch companies in your home town/state. Again, CareerShift is a great resource for these efforts
  • Going Global – all students and alumni have access to this database through the EagleHire Network, which hosts an H1B section that summarizes a list of companies from the Department of Labor who have requested H1Bs in the past
  • Internet – there are many resources, but a good one to start with is myvisajobs.com, which discusses information about H1B visas, green cards and work visas and contains information on preparing for a job search in the U.S.
  • Faculty – talk to faculty; let them know your career aspirations and ask if they know of any companies that may be a match

Once your list is developed, you want to effectively use it to search for co-op/internship or full-time job opportunities.  Your list can guide you through many of the basic job search methods, including networking, researching, preparing, interviewing and more.  For research purposes, you can spend your time wisely learning about your top companies and their culture, developments and resume and interview preferences.  You can focus your networking efforts on people who are working at or have connections to your targeted companies.  Many of the more advanced company applicant tracking systems allow you to set up a job feed, so you automatically get a list of opportunities in your inbox.  Use the list throughout your search but be ready to adapt it based on your changing needs and priorities such as a new geographical preference or a new career goal.

Your targeted company list can be consistent, or it can constantly evolve.  There are many reasons to regularly re-evaluate your targeted company list, but the main, overreaching reason is that companies have changing needs just like you do.  Other reasons include new product development, different company focuses, varying government contracts and company regulations that change on a frequent basis.    For example, a company may advertise desirable jobs, but the organization may lose out on its bid to obtain a contract, which means that those job opportunities are no longer available.  In other scenarios, a company may advertise opportunities open to non-U.S. citizens, but the next day the opportunities may change due to restrictions imposed by various governing agencies.  It is imperative that you stay up-to-date on these developments, so you can revise your targeted company list based on real-time information.

Lists are part of everyone’s life, and many people rely on lists to help them through their professional and personal experiences.  For your job search experience, create your own targeted company list that enhances your abilities to conduct the search to your specifications…a list just for you.

Adriana Hall has a Bachelor of Arts in Languages (Spanish-English) from Colombia-South America and a Master of Science in Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  She has been with ERAU for 9 years. Adriana worked for the Department of State in Colombia at the United States Embassy before moving to the U.S.

Valerie Kielmovitch has been working as a Program Manager in the Career Services Office at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for nearly two years.  She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Central Florida and Master of Education specializing in Higher Education and Student Affairs at the University of South Carolina.  Valerie has a diverse background in the field of higher education from residence life to career services.

Alumni Career Spotlight: Debarati Ray

Debarati Ray, DB 2011

Debarati Ray received her Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Embry-Riddle in May 2011. As a student on a F-1 visa, Debarati knew she would face many challenges in her job search, and she was successful at landing a position as a Systems Engineer in Flight Management Systems, Commercial Systems with Rockwell Collins. Debarati shares her experience and advice.

As an international student, you knew the challenges to finding employment in the US. What did you do to overcome those challenges?

Finding a job is a stressful process for all students. For international students, the lack of opportunity can sometimes be disheartening and discouraging. My most important advice for international students is to remember the reason and purpose for traveling so far away from home. My reason for coming to ERAU was to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a successful Aerospace Engineer, and I worked very hard to accomplish that. If you work hard to shape yourself into an exceptional student in your field of study, it is hard for companies to turn you down. I got involved  and took up leadership positions in a lot of organizations like Sigma Gamma Tau, Omicron Delta Kappa, Order of Omega, Up ‘Til Dawn, Mentor in ERAU’s First Women’s Mentoring Program, Theta Phi Alpha to name a few.  I gained a lot of time management, organizational, communication and leadership abilities from these organizations. Leadership involvement and organizational skills are one of the key things that all employers keep an eye out for. They are looking for all-round, exceptional students and not just book smarts.

What would you say to an international candidate that would like to pursue employment in the US?

Other than getting involved on campus and acquiring leadership experience, actively search and apply for internships and co-ops. Don’t get discouraged if you do get rejection letters; keep on applying. You never know when a window of opportunity will open up for you. For international students, try and get internships at companies back home for when you go back for summer or winter breaks. Any experience is good experience and will not go to waste.  My sophomore year, I worked for 5 weeks as an intern at MSE Engineering Enterprises in Muscat, Oman. I learned how to electrically calibrate instruments and create verification certificates. I also had to observe and create a process flowchart of the calibration procedure. None of this had anything to do with my degree, but it still gave me the experience of working in a corporate environment. My junior year, I was lucky enough to get a semester-long co-op with the same company and team that I am working for presently. It gave me an insight to the structure of the company and its ways. I also realized that being a Systems Engineer was what I wanted to do.

If you cannot attain an internship or a co-op, ask your professors if you can help out with any research projects that they or the school are working on. This is a great way to gain experience as well. Don’t leave any stone unturned.

How has your Embry-Riddle degree opened doors for you?

I was told by a recruiter at my company that ERAU is one of the few schools where they hire new graduates without a master’s degree, as they are aware of our rigorous curriculum and all the hands on experience that we get.  We have a large ERAU base at our company, and it is great working with the alums on a daily basis. Pursuing and achieving a degree at ERAU means that you have the discipline to work under any condition. ERAU has a great name and reputation in the industry, and you have to live up to it every day.

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

Even after getting a job, don’t stop learning. Acquire mentors in your company in fields in which you are interested and want to learn about. Don’t close any doors.

Alumni Career Spotlight: Alexander Moerchel

Alexander Moerchel, DB 2004/2006Alexander Moerchel graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with both a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering in 2004 and a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering in 2006.  Next, he went to England to complete additional policy-related coursework.  While still in the UK, he joined Rolls-Royce and worked his way through their graduate trainee programme, and he was hired full-time as an engineer, contributing to the development of the engine powering the Airbus A380.  He also spent time on the aircraft performance team while at Rolls-Royce.  Last year, Alex returned to his native Germany to work for Lufthansa Technik where he now puts both his technical and business knowledge to work as a sales engineer.

You have had a wonderfully diverse educational and professional career so far, and your successes have taken you to many international locations.  Please tell us what you have accomplished since your time at Embry-Riddle. 

After graduating from ERAU with the MSc in Aerospace Engineering, I enrolled in a Master course on Technology Policy taught at the Judge Business School of the University of Cambridge. The motivation to do this stemmed from the idea of diversifying my thorough engineering background from ERAU with topics focused on the social impact of technology while not losing the technical connection.

After completing the programme, I joined the graduate trainee programme at Rolls-Royce plc in the UK. This programme gave me the opportunity to do several rotations in the company’s civil aerospace division. I was able to gather deep insight into the various stages of the engine life cycle, ranging from turbine design to aftermarket support. Among other things, this gave me the great opportunity to spend three months at the Rolls-Royce field support office in Hong Kong.

Once I completed the graduate trainee programme, I joined the development department for civil large aero engines. There, I became the focal point for the Trent 900 fan module, which is the engine powering the Airbus A380. In this role, I was especially able to develop a good understanding of how components are used by the engine and how they react to the various running conditions.

In 2010, I had the opportunity to join the aircraft performance team at Rolls-Royce. This allowed me to further diversify my technical experience by working on aircraft-engine system integration issues and conducting take-off performance calculations in support of sales campaigns.

During the middle of last year, I decided to move back to Germany. I left Rolls-Royce plc and joined Lufthansa Technik (LHT) in Hamburg for my current role as a sales engineer for aircraft component services. The main challenges for me in this new role are the increased focus on the economics behind commercial aviation, managing customer relations, and the cultural differences between working in Germany and the UK. To sum it up, it’s quite a different world at LHT, but it is exciting and keeps me on the steep bid of the learning curve.

What three traits or skills have made you the most successful in your career?

Knowing another language to a level that allowed me to use it both in a professional and social setting: the professional bit may be obvious, but from my experience, it’s the social part that makes the difference. Unfortunately, I found that this is also harder to learn due to all the idiomatic expressions that you find in every language. The best way to learn is to get out and interact with the native speakers.

Geographical mobility/flexibility: the meaning behind this is two-fold for me. It is good to be mobile and flexible when it comes to moving somewhere for a new job. It is, however, even better to be unbiased about the destination. For example, before I joined Rolls-Royce in Derby, I was a bit skeptical about moving to the English Midlands. What I didn’t know was that Derby is adjacent to the Peak District, which offers great opportunities for outdoor activities coupled with many traditional pubs.

The eagerness to continue diversifying my professional experiences: customer requirements on large engineering systems such as commercial aircraft become more and more challenging. Simultaneously, facing climate change and other socioeconomic issues, government regulations continue to become stricter. I believe that it is important for engineers in the future to be able to appreciate complexity and interrelations among sub-systems to be successful. The best way to ensure this is to collect a sensible set of different experiences.

What is the biggest highlight of your career so far?

One highlight that I spontaneously remembered when reading the question was standing in the inlet of a Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine mounted in one of the company’s test stands in Derby, UK. We were conducting inspections of the fan blades and tip clearances in-between two engine test runs, which meant that the engine was mounted about 20 feet up in the air.

When reading the question again, however, I have to say that as an aviation enthusiast it is always a highlight for me to go to one of the big hangars on the Lufthansa base and see a Boeing 747 and an Airbus A340 parked side-by-side. It reminds me of why I do what I do in my day-to-day job, which is something that can sometimes be forgotten, when things become a bit more stressful.

What helpful tips do you have for international students seeking opportunities abroad?

It is important to be flexible and open-minded. It makes life a lot easier when going to a foreign country for a new job. I also find it very beneficial to start out your professional career with a graduate trainee programme as opposed to joining as a direct entry. These programmes typically allow you to move around within the company, thus enabling you to understand the organisation as a whole. In addition, and maybe more importantly, you will start with a group of people of similar age, which allows you to quickly build a sizable network, which is very important in the long run.

In terms of citizenship and work permits, I think particularly engineering graduates shouldn’t face too many issues in Europe as long as the company of interest is not fully focused on defence and government projects. Many of the large European aerospace companies realise the shortage of young talent and are stepping up their recruitment efforts. Besides, many of these big players, including Rolls-Royce and LHT, have operations and customers all around the world, so there is a vested interest in diversifying the workforce. The best piece of advice here is to do some research into what projects and/or customers the company of interest has acquired recently and to correlate your own background and skills to that. Good sources of information are the company websites and industry specific periodicals.

Alumni Career Spotlight: Suzanne (Robinson) Kearns

Dr. Suzanne Robinson Kearns, DB 2000/2002

Dr. Suzanne Robinson Kearns, DB 2000/2002

Suzanne Kearns is a professor who teaches Commercial Aviation Management students at Western University in Ontario, Canada. She is also a licensed airplane and helicopter pilot. She holds a Helicopter Pilot college diploma along with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Science and a Master of Science degree in Human Factors and Systems Engineering both from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Additionally, Suzanne holds a Ph.D. in Education, specializing in Instructional Design for Online Learning. She has extensive experience as an instructional designer and is passionate about innovating human factors and aviation safety training.  She is the author of e-Learning in Aviation, a book published by Ashgate in 2010 and a new iPhone app called m-Safety.

What have you been doing since you graduated with your MS in Human Factors & Systems in 2002?

I graduated with my BS in Aeronautical Science in 2000 and my MS in Human Factors & Systems in 2002.  Shortly after graduating I was hired full-time as a professor at Western University, in their Commercial Aviation Management program, teaching human factors and aviation safety.  After I was hired I began my PhD in Education, with a specialization in Instructional Design for Online Learning, which I completed in 2007.

Since 2007, I have written two books: Canadian Aviation, which is a textbook for university students who are new to the aviation industry, and e-Learning in Aviation.  I have also published four academic journal articles in The Journal of Human Factors, The International Journal of Aviation Psychology, and The Collegiate Aviation Review.  My current project is the development of a smartphone app that delivers pilot safety training, called m-Safety, which will be on the Apple App Store mid-April.

I have been married to Michael Kearns since 2004 and have three children, Katelyn (6), Sam (4), and Andy (15 months).

What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?

The biggest highlight of my career so far has been the publication of my e-Learning in Aviation book.  This book was published by Ashgate, a highly respected publisher in the aviation industry.  With Ashgate, you have to submit a book proposal and sample chapter which is put through an external review before the publisher agrees to publish your book.  Then comes the hard part – you have to do all the research and writing, which took me about 9 months.

After the book was published, I made connections throughout the industry with people who had read the book and were interested in collaborating.  It’s quite the experience to have people approach you, after having read your book.

What advice do you have for students and graduates who are interested in teaching in a university setting?

Teaching in a university setting offers a lifestyle with unparalleled flexibility.  I always dreamed of being a pilot, as I started flying airplanes and helicopters when I was 15, yet it was not until I completed an internship near the end of my ERAU bachelor’s degree that I realized how challenging the lifestyle of a professional pilot can be (as you are away from home so much).

I did not dream of becoming a professor, but I am very glad that my path led me here.  As a professor, your workload is distributed 40% teaching, 40% research, and 20% service.  The teaching requires about 6 hours of lecturing a week, plus office hours and grading.  The fun part of the job is the research, as you get complete flexibility over what you decide to explore, and it’s something you can do from home.  My interests led me initially to e-learning and now to mobile learning, which I think has enormous potential to improve aviation safety.  The service component of my job includes running the admission process for our aviation program and sitting on several university and industry-level committees.

For students interested in teaching at the university level, the best advice I can give is to consider whether or not you are interested in research.  It’s not obvious from the outside, but a professor is expected to spend just as much time conducting research as teaching.  Universities place a very high value on academic publications, such as books and journal articles.  As a student, if you want to work in a University, the best thing you can do during your studies is to try and get one or two papers submitted to journals and published.  The saying in the academic world is ‘publish or perish’, which means that if you don’t conduct research and produce publications it’s unlikely you will survive in the academic world.

How have your Embry-Riddle degrees opened doors for you in the course of your career?

My ERAU degrees have opened up many doors in my career, beginning with the ability to get a Master’s degree.  What I mean is that in Canada, most pilot education is at the 2-year college level.  I am an example where it is hugely valuable to have a 4-year university degree in aviation, as it allows you to build upon that education.  In my case, it allowed me to get a Master’s degree and eventually a PhD.

Also, unlike other academic disciplines (such as history or calculus) there is a very “real-world” component to aviation research.  I need to stay on top industry-happenings and trends as well as the academic literature in my area.  Having a degree from Embry-Riddle has given me the foundation upon which to build my career.  I absolutely would not be where I am today without the education I received from ERAU.

International Students: Maneuvering Through a Job Search

by Adriana Hall

A job search requires countless hours, patience, dedication and a sense of action.  A job search for an international student requires the same sense of dedication, but there are some added maneuvers to implement into your search to emphasize your skills and accomplishments in this competitive job market.

One of the biggest challenges to finding employment as an international candidate is that many employers in the United States are required by law to hire only U.S. Citizens due to security.  Employers may also be reluctant to hire international candidates because the process can be both intimidating and overwhelming.  In addition, the current economic downturn produces even more competition among candidates for available positions.

The great news is that there are employers who are willing to hire foreign nationals who demonstrate during the recruiting process that they have not only the skills necessary to perform the job, but the personality to fit into the company.   International candidates also have skill sets that they can bring to the job search process to help them stand out from other applicants.

From demonstrating your skills to identifying your qualities, another important part of the job search process as an international applicant is to become familiar with U.S. immigration practices and procedures.  That way, it is easier to talk to employers about immigration policies, which can make the employer feel more confident in the entire process.

Here are some important tips to help international candidates through the job search process.

How do you stand out as an international candidate in this very competitive market?

  • Build a strong cover letter, resume/curriculum vitae (CV, if applying overseas).  The resume is the first impression an employer has of you; it is your own marketing tool
  • Maintain a strong GPA
  • Master the English language.  Enhance your communication skills by talking and speaking up in class, giving presentations, making friends, talking to Americans, taking communication courses, attending Career Services professional development presentations, joining and participating in on-campus organizations and reading newspapers and academic publications
  • Practice interviewing.  The first step to preparing for an interview is having an understanding of your values, skills, qualities and accomplishments  and being able to speak about them to a potential employer
  • Attend career fairs.  Meet recruiters and learn about various companies
  • Pursue internships and co-ops to open doors to possible full-time opportunities

How do you start navigating the job market in the U.S. and overseas?

  • Research companies in your career field that have multinational presences
  • Focus on occupations that most often sponsor international candidates
  • Look for opportunities in your own country
  • Become familiar with bilateral agreements that your country has in terms of employment with other countries
  • Network, Network, Network!  Contact friends, classmates, neighbors, family members, professors, alumni and community members and share your interest in obtaining employment with them.  Knowing the right people is more important than ever.  Alumni are a great resource. Consider creating an account on LinkedIn and actively using the system. You can find alumni from around the world that are in your area of interest and expertise and establish a connection

What skills can you emphasize during any job search interaction?

  • Language skills
  • Ability to adapt to new environments
  • Multi-cultural experiences
  • Global perspective
  • Plus, all your  technical skills, attributes and accomplishments

Job seekers often have the same sense of dedication and commitment to their job searches.  As international candidates seeking employment in the United States, it is important that your job search includes a focus on the hiring process knowledge and an emphasis on skills that differentiate you from other candidates. Use these recommendations to maneuver through the job search process and land a position.

Additional Resources

Adriana Hall has a Bachelor of Arts in Languages (Spanish-English) from Colombia-South America and a Master of Science in Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  She has been with ERAU for 9 years. Adriana worked for the Department of State in Colombia at the United States Embassy before moving to the U.S. ��� mr �(�� Career Services.

Alumni Career Spotlight: Natalia Kozyura

This week we are spotlighting Natalia Kozyura, a 2004 graduate of the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science program at the Daytona Beach campus. Natalia worked closely with Career Services during her time as a student, completing an internship with Northwestern Mutual Financial Network and often participating in Career Services related activities and events.

Natalia Kozyura, DB 2004

Natalia is now a Program Manager for Microsoft Corporation, where she has worked for the last three and a half years. Natalia was instrumental in bringing the company’s attention to the great candidates that Embry-Riddle has to offer. Last year, Microsoft came to campus for an information session and this year, they are attending the Industry/Career Expo for the first time. We sincerely appreciate Natalia’s dedication to the university and it is great to be working with her as an employer.

What are you working on right now within your position at Microsoft?

I am currently working on Xbox and Kinect. I am a program manager for video and music applications on Xbox. I’ve been working on these products for the last three years and it has been a lot of fun to work on the first version of the app, as well as be part of the team shipping the first version of Kinect. As a program manager, I work closely with developers, testers, designers, business and marketing teams. We define what features will make customers happy and then build them.

You actively participate in the on-campus recruiting at Embry-Riddle for Microsoft. What qualities do the candidates who stand out the most possess?

In college recruiting I am looking for:

  • Engineering degree, preferably in Computer Science or Computer Engineering
  • Relevant internship/work experience
  • Programming projects (both class and independent)
  • Strong GPA
  • Leadership skills: class leadership, community involvement, athletics, club/group leadership

What career advice can you share with international students and alumni seeking work in the United States?

I would recommend choosing a technical degree that is in demand in the United States; examples would be Aerospace Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and other engineering degrees. From my experience it’s harder for international students to find companies that are willing to sponsor H1B visas with more general degrees.

Start early looking for a job, ideally a year before graduating. Networking is very important. Get in touch with alumni in companies that hire ERAU students, attend industry conferences, and don’t rely on job websites in your search. One thing to keep in mind is that you most likely will be rejected a number of times before you land a great job.  It is just part of the process. Some people are lucky in finding a job quickly, but most of us will have to put time and effort into it. Try to enjoy the process and don’t take it personally.

What are your plans for the future?

In near future, I am interested in moving to Europe to work for a few years. Long-term, I would like to launch a tech startup and see how it goes.

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