The Paper Science & Engineering program at NC State is well known for their superior professional development efforts. Rather than students beginning the hunt for co-ops and internships when they are upperclassmen, the process is kicked off before the freshman year even begins. It is required that all freshman start working on their resume before they begin classes, thus ensuring they are prepared to jump right into the whirlwind of events that September brings.
Job Opportunties Plentiful with 27 Companies
Over the past few months, students in the PSE department have been hard at work networking and interviewing with the plethora of companies that come to visit, all while diligently maintaining their academics and extracurriculars. This past August/September, twenty seven companies came to interview for either a full-time, co-op, or summer internship position. Many of these companies also host “pre-nights”. Pre-nights are information sessions hosted by the company presenting on their business and expectations of their employees. There is always a dinner provided, something a college student always welcomes. AJ Ward, a junior in the PSE program, has been attending pre-nights since his freshman year. He finds them to be a “great opportunity to hear about a variety of companies available solely in the paper industry.”
As a freshman instantly exposed to such a wide variety of opportunities, the process can easily become overwhelming. We try to make it as welcoming as possible for the students. While the pre-nights are a great casual medium to learn about companies, we afford our students with even more opportunities through the Paper Industry Career Fair, Pulp and Paper Foundation events, and mock interviews. This year, 25 companies attended the Paper Science Career Fair. The day after the career fair was the Pulp and Paper Foundation Meeting, which hosts a full day of events where students and industry representatives can network. Both events allow students to intereact with industry professionals and learn more about their jobs and companies on a personal level.
Mock interviews, as scarey as they are, prepare students for the real world, and are an opportunity to sharpen and refine skills that can open the door for what we all wish for one day . . . a permanent job. Perhaps benefiting the most from these mock interviews are the freshman. This year both International Paper and WestRock hosted mock interviews for the freshman, and provided detailed feedback. Daniel Lucas, a freshman in PSE, completed a mock interview with International Paper, which he said “made him feel much more prepared and confident for the formal interviewing process.” He has already accepted a co-op for next fall.
In the Forest Biomaterials Department, we are so grateful for all the support that the industry provides. Having opportunities for real work experience as early as freshman year is invaluable. This would not be possible without the diligent efforts of our faculty, staff and the supporting companies who put so much effort toward organizing these events.
By guest blogger: Allison Hellwig