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Alexandra Koch, a University of Dallas Politics and German double major, has been named a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. In the fall of 2019, she will travel to Germany to teach English for a ten month assignment.
“Seeing the legacy of Fulbrighters at UD, especially in the German Department,” partly inspired Koch to apply for the prestigious scholarship the first time she visited the University of Dallas. “I distinctly remember meeting a Fulbright recipient and thinking that maybe could be me one day.”
Koch said she is foremost excited to become an ambassador of the United States and member of the local community. Her project for the Fulbright’s grant proposal focuses on community service, such as volunteering with the church and getting involved at the local level. “I hope to be a caring community member and a good representative of the US to show that there are more to Americans that the international media might present,” she said. Koch is also looking forward to the opportunity to reach a higher level of fluency in the German language.
Koch had an impressive resume to strengthen her application to the scholarship. Besides international work and study abroad experience in Germany and Rome, Koch is also very involved in the UD community. She is a part of the UD Senate, the German club president, a German language tutor, and part of a mentoring program. She also mentioned that taking a language pedagogy class prepared her for the challenge of teaching a foreign language abroad and strengthened her application.
Koch expressed that “receiving the Fulbright could open doors in the future and help provide clarity about my interest in foreign service and international affairs.”
For anyone considering applying for the Fulbright, Koch suggested applying and meeting with professors and advisors as early as possible because it is a very lengthy process.
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“Being in a professional environment and sharing your own research is a grounding experience. It’s so cool to see so many people interested in the same thing you are, and an awesome feeling to be somewhere where everyone is just as excited as you are about your research.”
This is how John Paul Dieffenthaller described attending and presenting at the Reef Futures Conference in December 2018 in Key Largo, Florida. Dieffenthaller, a senior biology major, presented a coral restoration project, an ongoing research project he and several others have been working on in the University of Dallas biology department.
Explaining that fifty percent of the world’s coral is dead, Dieffenthaller advocated that this decline is not something to be ignored. “The coral reef is so important, because it has many uses: medicine, food, and an essential part in marine life.” Dieffenthaller started doing research with Dr. Deanna Soper of UD’s biology department last summer. He and his co-researchers are looking at how to restore the coral reef’s former state through microfragmentation, a process used to accelerate coral growth, and are collecting data for a biochemical explanation for the success of this process.
On December 14, 2018, Dieffenthaller attended the Reef Futures Conference presented by the Reef Restoration Consortium. His poster presentation focused on the Hippo Growth Pathway in Orbicella faveolata, or a mountainous star coral, a critically-endangered species.
As he had never presented before to that big of an audience, Dieffenthaller expressed that he hadn’t known what to expect from the experience. “It was amazing. Seeing that this subject is being investigated worldwide, making those connections, and getting to talk with coral reef experts taught me so many different things. It helped provide direction on where to take our project in the future.”
Dieffenthaller said that the perspective gained in the conference altered his group’s project in subtle ways. “We are looking at why microfragmentation works on a more specific, molecular level, rather than taking the broader perspective and measures like most approaches, like planting more coral.”
In terms of advice for those attending or considering attending a scientific conference, Dieffenthaller mentioned that it is very important to prepare in advance, and avoid last-minute preparation. If worried about how your research will be received and how much interest it will attract, he encouraged, “Don’t worry about people not being interested, because people will want to inquire. It felt natural, and after, you realize you’ve learned a lot.”
Dieffenthaller’s future plans include pursuing a Master’s degree in Education in order to teach biology and keep advocating for coral restoration.
“Whatever you do in the professional world, it is important to have a strong work ethic and have strong mentality. I learned that taking advantage of every opportunity and networking is so, so important.”
This is what Katie Macaulay, a senior economics major, came to realize during her internship with Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Bellevue, Washington in the summer of 2018.
Having heard great things about the Enterprise internship program, Macaulay pro-actively connected to a recruiter in addition to applying online. In preparation for the extensive interview process and knowing that they were looking for hardworking people who were excited about Enterprise, she learned all she could about the company.
“It is so important to know why you want to work at a company before an interview. I organized reasons beforehand on why I wanted to work there specifically and spent time in the preparation.” Macaulay noted that her interviewer was impressed by how much prior research she had obviously done. “He could tell I cared about wanting it and knowing it.”
Enterprise Rent-A-Car has a structured internship program that includes shadowing, a week of training in daily operations, networking, and talks. “It was a very structured and well-organized program, because they were really supportive and provided great mentors.”
Macaulay and her fellow interns were also responsible for a very hands-on project over the summer. She worked in inside sales, looking at how to boost sales on damage waivers. She set clear goals for herself and, at the end of the summer, presented to Enterprise area managers and Regional VPs for western Washington on her project.
“Higher-ups want to see how you interact with others and how you incorporate things within the job. If you take the tasks they give you seriously, they will notice and admire you. The more comfortable I got in my position, the more managers pushed me.” Over the summer, Macaulay earned managerial trust and was given more complex tasks, such as going to outside sales or marketing.
One aspect Macaulay had not expected was how much she appreciated the people and the structure of Enterprise: “I didn’t know internal structure would be so important and apparent in everyday operations. The company really takes care of their employees and develops amazing customer loyalty. It made a huge impression on me that they would do anything for their customers, instead of just chasing profits.”
An internship can change your professional aspects or aspirations. At the end of the internship, Enterprise extended a post-graduation job offer to Macaulay, which she accepted.
Macaulay expressed how much she had been able to take in from this experience. “You learn a lot from a very successful company. It was very much an entrepreneurial experience, because I was able to witness their exponential growth, long term decisions, and a successful business model.”
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15 Pieces Of The Best Career Advice Successful Business Leaders Ever Received
OPCD’s annual Job Fair is on Thursday, February 7, from 4:00- 6:00pm in the SB Hall Multipurpose Room. Some careful preparation can help you make a lasting impression and could lead to a great summer internship or even a full-time position after graduation.
Here are some things recruiters will notice:
Do your research and come prepared to talk to the companies that most interest you, but it’s not necessary to be an expert on every company.
Work on your “elevator pitch.” It should include your name, your major, your expected graduation date, and your career goals.
While talking with a recruiter, give some insight into what you hope to do and highlight one or two key pieces of your resume.
A few more tips from the OPCD Career Counselors:
Be prepared to talk about not only what experience you have, but also what you hope to do in the future.
Thoughtful questions about an employer’s business will make a good impression.
Practice your elevator pitch, but don’t memorize it. You want to come across as personable and confident. If this kind of activity is outside your comfort zone, practice with a friend.
Bring extra copies of your resume in a padfolio or a plain folder.
Try not to be nervous about talking to employers. They will be there to meet you, and they want to hear about you.
The job fair is a great opportunity- don’t miss it!
To view a list of employers who will be present at the job fair, click here.
University of Dallas students apply annually to a multitude of prestigious post-graduation scholarships and fellowships. One such UD student, Kelsey Reese, a junior business major, is applying for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship.
The Truman Scholarship is a highly competitive federal scholarship, granted to college juniors who are pursuing a graduate education and demonstrate leadership potential and a commitment to public service. Applicants create their application around a particular social issue that they want to make a contribution to and write a policy proposal on how they plan to do so.
Reese’s project centers on the prevention of domestic child sex trafficking. She plans to pursue this project through either a law degree or peace studies, in order “to get the tools I need to be able to solve these problems and then implement them in the community.”
She is focusing on the importance of preventative measures, by looking at how to stop the demand of child sex trafficking on both a local and national level. She aspires to raise awareness, stating, “Anything you can do to make the community more aware of it, instead of just putting on Band-Aids, is important. People think trafficking is a global issue, but it is happening in their own backyard, just ten miles away.”
Reese already has an Associates of Arts Degree in fashion design from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. Having a unique story and unique skill set, Reese is striving to find the right balance between her business and fashion degrees. She hopes to someday create a business that will play a significant part in the anti-trafficking movement.
Reese has demonstrated her commitment to her mission in multiple ways. In the summer of 2018, she was involved in Freedom and Fashion, a Los Angeles-based organization dedicated to the “reidentification and reimpowerment of sex trafficking survivors through fashion.” She mentored trafficking victims in the designing of a 19 piece collection for the Freedom and Fashion Show. “I guided them and polished their designs, and then I drafted the patterns, sewed the garments and fit the models.”
Through this experience, Reese was “grateful to be able to use the creative side of her brain but also be very helpful to the girls. Art can be hard to relate to after trauma but we found that art can express things beyond words. The clothing held way deeper meanings than could be imagined. It was amazing to be a part of.”
She is also involved in the local community through Traffick911, an organization which works with community centers in Dallas that deal with anti-trafficking.
Reese found inspiration to work against trafficking while volunteering in the Philippines, where she first encountered the toll of human trafficking. “I saw it happening it front of me, and this is where the spark of frustration grew that I couldn’t do anything. It was heartbreaking to see and have to walk away from the situation, so I want to do good from my experience.”
The Truman Scholarship application is due January 31, and applicants will find out in February if they are selected for an interview. Reese is set to graduate from University of Dallas in December 2019.
Every summer, University of Dallas students spread all over the world to gain experience through internships and jobs. In the summer of 2018, Elisa Ron, a senior and double major in politics and economics, had the opportunity to intern at the Liberal Democrat Headquarters in London.
Ron interned as a policy researcher in the policy unit of the Headquarters. Her tasks involved reading, researching, and summarizing academic reports and government reviews. Her major project of the summer on immigration policy entailed researching and drafting a project on race equality issues in Britain.
Ron reflected that working with Liberal Democrats, the UK’s third party, was interesting because it is a smaller operation and isn’t as prominent as the other two major parties. “The smaller office and smaller team meant there was so more responsibility. It allowed interns the chance to do things they wouldn’t normally do.” Ron also mentioned that she hadn’t expected to be taken as seriously as she was. Being an American, she didn’t know how she would be received, but she appreciated being seen as a colleague there.
Ron also reflected on what it means to become involved in the political sphere as an intern. “You aren’t there to express your opinions; you’re there to do your work. It is easy to become involved in the partisanship and the polarization, especially in politics, but you shouldn’t. You want to be known for what you contributed, not what you say.”
One of Ron’s favorite aspects of the internship was the chance to go abroad, and she spoke on the uniqueness of being an international intern. “It was really good experience, the kind of experience I wouldn’t have gotten in the United States. Working abroad is totally different ball game than studying abroad. You have to navigate a different world culture, and make an effort.” Integrating herself as an American put a different twist on the internship experience, she said, because she learned how to interact with people that she never thought she’d interact with.
Ron discovered this opportunity when researching for an international internship, and the Hansard Society helped her get placement at the Liberal Democrat Headquarters. Strengthening her application was a strong GPA, letters of recommendation, experience abroad in the UD Rome Program, work experience as a tutor, and her expressed interest in the city of London.
While interning in London, Ron also took the opportunity to study at the London School of Economics as part of her program, taking classes in British Parliamentary Politics.
Saying she would highly recommend this internship to anyone considering a political or international position, she encouraged, “Don’t let finances get in the way. I was nervous about the cost, but I made it work because in the long run, it’ll really benefit in so many ways.”
She also cautioned, “Be aware of cultural surroundings, and don’t be afraid to apply to a prestigious position. I never thought I would have this opportunity in London. You never know, so just give it a try.”
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