Level the Playing Field Prepares STEM Students for Career Success
September 14, 2021
What inspired you to join Level the Playing Field last year?
I was interested in applying to Level the Playing Field due to their focus on professional development, networking, internship placement and community outreach. I was excited to participate in learning about professionalism from people working in various industries and connecting with my peers.
What kinds of things did your cohort do during the academic year?
Our cohort participated in weekly mentor meetings and extracurricular professional development workshops throughout the week during the fall semester. In the spring semester, we all enrolled in a course that encapsulated a combination of professional development workshops along with guest speakers that shared stories of their experiences in their industry and answer any questions we had. We were able to complete a few projects throughout the year, such as creating our brand website and hosting a lecture at a local Durham high school that covered topics we had been focusing on during class.
Please share a little bit about your summer internship at Carbon. What kind of work did you do, and what did you learn from that experience?
During my time at Carbon, I worked on various aspects of Carbon’s back-end, front-end and networking side of software engineering to develop a feature to impact Carbon’s client UI/UX experience while minimizing the changes happening behind the scenes. My technical skills grew as I learned about web frameworks like Ruby on Rails, while also getting to know other important aspects of Carbon such as work culture. I learned how crucial it is to be a fast learner and to communicate well with your team in order to be successful in industry.
How do you feel that you have grown during your time with LTPF?
I learned that the small details have a big impact on your professional career. From resume reviews to developing a LinkedIn account and personal website to making connections through networking, I learned how to tie it all together in order to have a competitive advantage in the professional world. I learned what recruiters look for when reviewing an applicant and specific aspects of company work culture I should look into when considering a potential employer. LTPF has changed my outlook on professionalism, and I feel more adequately prepared for life after graduation due to this program.
What advice do you have for the next cohort of LTPF students?
Take advantage of the networking aspect of this program as much as you can! Whenever there are guest speakers that say you can reach out to them with any questions or just to talk, they mean it. You should strive to connect with as many people as you can, because you never know where that connection can lead. There is a lot of emphasis on the “what you know” aspect of college throughout exams and grades, but this program teaches you the value of “who you know” and the importance of developing strong networking skills.