How Activities and Involvement Enhance Your Career
This week’s blog features two engineering students who have taken advantage of campus involvement to increase their skills and experiences. Emily Weidman is finishing her last semester in Environmental Engineering and has internship experience with Delaware County, Logan County, and Honda Transmission Manufacturing. Julia Reedy is an Industrial & Systems Engineering major graduating in December of 2020. She has internship experience with GE Aviation, Jergens Inc., Anheuser-Busch, WillowWood Global LLC., and Cree Inc.
What led you to get involved on campus?
Emily: I am the Vice President of the Engineering Society of Professional Excellence (ESPE). I got involved in ESPE because I wanted to meet like-minded students who were focused on developing professional skills during their undergraduate career. In addition, I knew ESPE could help me connect with campus recruiters and alum working in various industries.
Julia: I am involved on campus with ESPE, IISE, Engineering Ambassadors, SWE, the Engineering Expo, and OSU’s Alpine Ski and Snowboard Team. I joined SWE at the beginning of my first semester at OSU to meet other female engineers and make friends within the college of engineering. I started volunteering where I could and my involvement within SWE kept growing. From there I joined other organizations that were interesting and fun for me. After 4.5 years at Ohio State my campus involvement is pretty vast.
How have your campus leadership experiences been used to answer interview questions?
Emily: Most interviewers ask about on campus involvement and leadership experience. Talking about my experience as Vice President of ESPE gives me the opportunity to talk about my skills in event planning, organization, coordinating with other people, and my ongoing commitment to professional development.
Julia: Being on a board or committee of a student organization, typically a year-long commitment, allows for far more leadership development than a 3-4 month internship or co-op. I use my experience as one of the 2019 Engineering Expo Coordinators to answer most, if not all, interview questions about leadership. That may seem daunting for a new student, but I built up to that position from a volunteer for multiple years to Committee Chair to finally, Coordinator. Find a student organization about which you are passionate and just start getting involved however you can.
What skill(s) has campus involvement helped you develop?
Julia: Public speaking is a skill that campus involvement has helped me to improve immensely. As an Engineering Ambassador, I give tours to prospective students and talk in front of groups of 30 people several times a month. I have also had the opportunity to be a part of several student panels in which I speak in front of about 300 students/parents. The sheer practice in public speaking has taken the stress out of presentations, for class and during internships.
Do you have any suggestions for students looking to get involved with most events being virtual?
Emily: Being involved with a student organization is advantageous when looking for employment, and it is a good way for students to feel more connected to their campus community. The most important thing for students to remember when looking to get involved is to attend virtual events and participate! Many student organizations are struggling with low attendance so now is the perfect time to go to these club meetings, turn your camera on, and introduce yourself.
Julia: Just because events are held virtually doesn’t mean they aren’t useful; make an effort to attend them. If you are tired of sitting at your desk after a day of class, try changing up the scenery. Move to the kitchen, the couch, or even a bench outside. One perk of virtual events is that you can do them anywhere.
If you are interested in getting involved, start by discovering student organizations through the Ohio State Office of Student Life HERE. You can reach out to the organization’s primary leader, organizational email, or review their website for more information.
“You have to be involved to evolve.” – Glen Plake