MELISSA BAZLEY: Good afternoon. My name's Melissa Bazley. I'm the associate director of the Engineering Career Center. We were expecting a full house. We had heard that more engineering families were coming for this event for like family weekend than any other college so I'm like, oh no, the room is going to be packed. But looks like it's going to be more of an intimate experience. There's fewer than we thought but that is perfectly fine. I think we probably all feel a little bit more comfortable in here.
Before we get started, it would be helpful to know class years. So if your student is a first year student, can you raise your hand? Second year student? All right. Third year? Any juniors? Families of seniors? OK. Great.
It's always helpful to know who's in the room. I know definitely families of sophomores didn't get as much interaction last year so we're so glad you're here. I'm so glad we can be in person. Last year, I talked to so many students on the phone. And I would say, OK, tell me about your testing. How's it going? How do you feel about it?
I never had a single student say their COVID testing was a burden. Every single student said I'm glad to do the testing. I appreciate the testing. I'm so grateful for the testing. And I'm just super proud of our students and what they've done in the last year and a half to keep our community healthy. So I'm really grateful that we can be here in person all together today.
So our agenda for today is we are going to talk briefly about what is career readiness, what are the skills that employers are looking for from college graduates, and then we have an excellent panel of folks from the College of Engineering who are going to talk about various programs that we have in the College of Engineering that help students develop and practice their career readiness skills. All right.
First, career readiness is a foundation for career success. NACE is the National Association of Colleges and Employers. And it's comprised of 10,000 university career services professionals and 3,500 university recruiters, talent acquisition partners, and employers.
So these are all people who work with college students, know college students, interview college students, and hire college students. And NACE has identified eight key competencies that college students college graduates need to have in order to hit the ground running in the workplace and manage their careers over the course of their lives.
The eight career readiness competencies that NACE has identified are career and self-development, communication, critical thinking, equity and inclusion, leadership, professionalism, teamwork, and technology. When students are interviewing for positions, they will get asked a variety of interview questions. But a lot of these questions ultimately come down to these competencies.
You can boil the questions down to the company is particularly interested in this skill set or that skill set. I often get questions probably most commonly about equity and inclusion and then professionalism. What does that really mean or what behaviors does NACE mean when they talk about those as skill sets that are important?
When we talk about equity and inclusion, employers want to know that students are comfortable working in diverse groups, that they can communicate effectively with people who have different backgrounds than them, that they are open to diverse perspectives, that they're adaptable, that perhaps they're willing to relocate to a new location and work within that culture or that country to get the work done or work with both in-person and virtually with people who are all over the world. Also that new graduates are able to work in groups and ensure that all voices are heard in the work that they're doing.
Professionalism is another one that we get a lot of questions about. And professionalism can really vary across industries. I have students that will say to me, OK, what should I wear in the first day of my internship? Right. And it's going to depend. If you're at a large tech company, it might be OK to wear a t-shirt and jeans. If you're working at an investment banking firm, it's going to look different in terms of what the dress expectations are.
So from NACE's perspective, it's really important that you understand the professional and ethical expectations of a given field or industry, but certainly there are behaviors related to professionalism that go across the board of various fields in industries like being on time, being reliable, following through on what you say you're going to do, making sure you get your deliverables delivered on time, as an example. If you run into issues, are you communicating and working with your team so that they know that maybe that deliverable is not going to be on time?
And I think that example really highlights that these competencies aren't standalone. They all work together. Right there with that professionalism example, we see teamwork coming into play. We see communication coming into play. So they're certainly eight competencies but they're also competencies that successful new graduates will use in tandem.
What is really interesting to me is to stop, step back, and say, what do we say is what are the learning outcomes? What do we say when someone graduates from Cornell Engineering that they're able to do?
The College has identified six learning outcomes that our students are able to perform when they graduate. These are they have the ability to apply their technical and engineering knowledge, their general knowledge, to a wide variety of fields, careers, industries, and graduate programs; that they can perform in a modern diverse working environment; that they can communicate effectively with their colleagues and with the general public; that they can lead design processes that take into consideration how these designs are going to impact society, people, and the environment; that they can model, analyze, and solve complex problems.
There's that critical thinking right there; that they can identify contemporary global issues and recognize how their professional and ethical responsibilities will help them contribute to solving challenges that we face in the world; and that they can engage in self-directed learning and professional development. So the learning outcomes for our program were based on what we know Cornell engineers-- what we want know and want Cornell engineers to be able to do when they graduate.
NACE's career competencies were identified by recruiting and career professionals who are saying these are what we need new college graduates to be able to do. And to me there's such a significant overlap in both of these. That I feel very confident that our students are prepared to hit the ground running when they graduate.
So how do we do this? In the College of Engineering, we have a wide variety of programs that are integrated with our students' academic experience. Project teams, research, communication, entrepreneurship, study abroad, our Engineering Career Center-- all these programs help support students develop and practice career readiness competencies. Our panelists today will talk about their programs and how they help students practice these skills.
At the Engineering Career Center, we help students find opportunities, process those experiences-- I did this experience. This is how I felt. This was what I was really good at. This was maybe what I didn't like. This is maybe what I don't want to do-- and then make decisions about those experiences and what they want to do next in their careers.
And then for families, what you can do to be really helpful is to encourage your students to take advantage of the Engineering Career Center. Be aware of these programs.
It's super hard, as you may know from your own experiences. We have so much information flying at us. Students are getting tons of emails, tons of texts, tons of information screaming at them. And it's hard for us to always get their attention to let them know about some of the great opportunities that are available.
But it's also important to recognize that students don't have to do all of these programs. They might pick one of these programs and be able to practice the competencies more like practice all the competencies. As an example, leadership is a NACE competency. We also have a leadership program. And you'll hear from Erica Dawson who's here today to talk about her programs.
I'm sure if Erica maps out her leadership curriculum with the NACE competencies, it's not just leadership. It's teamwork. It's equity and inclusion. It's communication. It's critical thinking skills. I bet they all overlap in what the students are experiencing in the leadership programs. So the programs are very multidimensional and students are able to practice a lot of the career competencies in each of these programs.
But the other thing to remember is this is just the College of Engineering. And our students' work, and experience, and volunteer, and do so many other experiences outside of the College of Engineering. But for today, we're just focusing on specific programs related to the College of Engineering.
So now I'm going to hand it over to the engineering communications program and let them introduce themselves and their program.
TRACI NATHANS-KELLY: [INAUDIBLE] Do you have a clicker?
MELISSA BAZLEY: I sure do.
TRACI NATHANS-KELLY: Awesome.
MELISSA BAZLEY: Here you go, Traci.
TRACI NATHANS-KELLY: Just checking my microphone here. Thanks, everybody, for being around. My name is Traci Nathans-Kelly. And I'm the associate director of the engineering communications program.
This is Dr. Wang. She just joined us this year. And we're so happy to have her. We stole her away from Michigan so we're lucky to have her around helping us broaden our program and really bringing some richness to that experience. Did you want to say anything more?
HUA WANG: Yes. My name is Hua Wang, and I teach Engineering Communication. Both my teaching and the research focuses on technical and professional communication in a cross-cultural communication, helping students to understand how to be an effective communicator and empowering them to be a successful leader in the future. So that it is my job. Thank you.
TRACI NATHANS-KELLY: OK, so we have a unique position here, in that, the four of us in the program-- Rick Evans is the Director. Like I said, I'm the Associate Director. And Dr. Wang and Dr. Hutchison are both Senior Lecturers. We all do the same stuff.
Sometimes Rick has to do more. But one of our mandates is to help all undergraduates attain their Engineering Communication requirement. This is really important. Get this on your radar, all of the students. Parents, help them out. In order to graduate, you need to fulfill the Engineering Communication requirement, and that can be done by taking an ENGRC course. It can also be done by taking an ENGRC partner course.
So for example, we partner with Games Design over in Computer Science. We've partnered with Civil Engineering, and with Applied Engineering Physics, and all kinds of other classes, where that communication requirement can be fulfilled in partnership with us embedded inside of that course. It's really a great thing. There are other ways to attain the engineering communication requirement. In all, there's about six different ways, right now, to do that work.
It can be done at any time. Most of the time, due to curricular pressures, and scheduling, and all this, and internships, we end up seeing seniors. And so if you can't get your ENGRC requirement done until you're a senior, it's OK. That's normal. [LAUGHS] Though feel free, at any time, to come talk to us, and we will certainly help you map out a plan.
We do really want to emphasize communication for engineering work happens at every moment and at every turn. So you can be in your teams. You can be in a class. You can be working alone. You can be doing a Zoom conference. This is engineering and technical communication. This is the work that we do, because engineering doesn't happen in a vacuum.
You can be as brilliant as you want, but if you can't communicate your ideas to the outside, even to your own boss, those ideas are going to die. So it is essential that we pull in all of these pieces, including all of the pieces from our other programs here, in order to get this full package of professional work for you students. So really embrace that. Get involved in the project teams. Do the leadership thing. Walk yourself over to the Career Center, because all of it is absolutely essential.
Right now, I just want to say we have a really neat study going on that Allison, Dr. Hutchison, is doing. We scraped, from two major employer sites, almost 6,000 job ads in the engineering fields, 26 job categories, 22 job titles-- I always mix up those numbers-- and the word "communicate," let alone anything to do with "teams," or "collaboration," or "work with others," "present," "navigate," any of those other words that basically mean communication.
What we are finding is that almost every job ad mentions it. The lowest were the financial analysts, but still at 50%, job ads saying "required skill." And the most were quantitative analysts. Everything in between their too. Civil engineering, it's a high percentage. They're saying "required skill, good communication skills."
So what we're saying, get out there. Get in those project teams. Do those competitions. Do hackathons. Get involved. Don't just do the engineering communication requirement, right? Take on everything and use it as part of this portfolio of experiences that you're coming to in the end.
I love these pictures, because as I was pulling them up for engineering competitions, I know that half of these people, they've been through my class. I'm like, oh, look. [LAUGHS] It's really great to see them winning and doing the things that they're at. We have information, with our emails on them and everything. So if you have any questions, you can certainly ask us afterwards, and we're glad to help in any way. We all set?
HUA WANG: [INAUDIBLE] some handouts.
TRACI NATHANS-KELLY: Good. I'm going to hand this over now to Lisa. Oh, you've got your own.
LISA SCHNEIDER-BENTLEY: Yeah, yes.
MELISSA BAZLEY: Do you want to give Lisa the clicker?
LISA SCHNEIDER-BENTLEY: I think I just have one slide.
MELISSA BAZLEY: It's OK.
LISA SCHNEIDER-BENTLEY: Yeah.
LISA SCHNEIDER-BENTLEY: There we go, yeah. Hi, everyone. My name is Lisa Schneider-Bentley. I'm the director of Engineering learning initiatives, and my slides aren't quite as exciting as the last series. I just want to give you an intro overview of our programs, and then I will certainly welcome your questions.
But we are a unique collection of programs, really focused on enhancing the learning environment in the College by helping to create learning communities for students and learning experiences so they can extend beyond what they're doing in the classroom to work with their peers on deepening their understandings and also having some opportunities to apply their knowledge in research groups.
So a few of these are-- the majority of our programs really use a pure education model, which is used broadly across the College and increasingly in recent years. And it's very strong, both in terms of having slightly older peers to work with first and second-year students to be that facilitator of group learning, and also they can serve as a mentor when students see an older peer progressing through the engineering curriculum.
So for instance, our Academic Excellence Workshops program, these are supplementary, one-credit courses that students have the opportunity to take along with their first and second-year core courses in the engineering curriculum. And these one-credit courses meet for two hours a week they are facilitated by two upper level undergraduates, who are recruited and trained by us to facilitate a group learning environment, where students are problem-solving together.
And the goal is for them to enhance their understanding of the core course concepts, but also to engage in this learning community, where they're not focused on their own individual performance as much as they are understanding the concepts and helping each other to understand by talking through what they're learning and having those opportunities created.
So similar to that, we have an Engineering Math Workshops program, Tutors on Call program. The tutoring is a one-on-one experience, as opposed to the group learning, but all of them have the benefit not only for the learners who are in those programs, taking advantage of the learning support, but also for the students who are in those roles.
So the Academic Excellence Workshops facilitators, the tutors, the Engineering Math Workshops have what we call course assistants. They're all getting trained, and they're developing their skills as teachers, but also as group facilitators of these group learning experiences, as mentors, as leaders, as communicators.
We also do training and development of teaching assistants in the college both from PhD through master's, M.Eng, and undergraduate level. And similar to that, the undergraduate TAs have training to also communicate, lead, have professionalism in the classroom. And all of these, obviously correspond to the skills that we've just talked about for career readiness, and those opportunities are varied, as you can see. So for students to take advantage of those, it's a great benefit for them and for their peers.
And the other program that I want to highlight is our Undergraduate Research Grants program. And this is a little bit different, where students have opportunities to apply their learning by engaging in academic research-- so engaging in the teamwork that's present within a research program, where they're being mentored by faculty, and by grad students, and working in teams, applying their conceptual knowledge to the discovery of new knowledge.
So we can talk more about that if you have questions, but we have a grants program where students can apply for support to engage in those opportunities. Questions now? Do we have time for a question? Yup?
LISA SCHNEIDER-BENTLEY: It's up to the moderator?
MELISSA BAZLEY: Let's make sure we get through all the programs first.
LISA SCHNEIDER-BENTLEY: Sure. Yeah, OK, so those are a brief highlight, and we'll take questions later.
LAUREN STULGIS: Thank you so much. I think I similarly just have one slide. So here we go. I'm going to come out here. Here we go. I am Lauren Stulgis. I am the Swanson Director of our Student Project Teams program.
And the only thing that I put on my slide was information where you can go to learn more, just our website and our Instagram page, because I would rather just talk to you for a few minutes and just share a little bit about how the Project Team's program is structured and just pull out some of the highlights for you as we think about how the experience on a project team prepares the students from a career readiness perspective.
So in our program, currently, we have 31 teams, almost 1,300 students that participate. About 70% of those students come from the College of Engineering, and they come from every single one of our 14 majors. The remaining almost 30% come from the other undergraduate schools and colleges at Cornell. So the students are working on very diverse and very multidisciplinary teams, but all working together towards a similar or a shared project goal and set of outcomes.
And so right away, they get into a situation where they're working with students who are not only from other backgrounds, other cultures, lots of different demographics going on, but they're working with a very diverse range of students from other academic parts of the University.
They're also working with students-- if you join a team as a freshman, you're on a team that goes all the way up to seniors and, in many cases, even some of our professional master's students. So they're getting that opportunity of having the mentorship and a lot of that near peer teaching and relationships that they get to build on those teams.
Across those 31 teams, they're working on a huge variety of different projects. They are designing, building, they're working with community partners, they're building apps, they're doing machine learning. We could spend the rest of the night talking about all the cool stuff they're doing. But they're able to find something that they are really excited and really passionate about working on and then do that in a team-based setting, where they are really running the show. We give them a lot of autonomy, a lot of ownership, and agency within this setting.
So we have a big strong safety net underneath them. We make sure that they're working safely and appropriately and following all the right policies, but the students are making very real decisions about the project management and the budgeting. They're talking, oftentimes, of doing some of their own fundraising, doing some of their own marketing and outreach.
And so they're really getting this very rich experience not just on the technical side of things-- which, again, we could spend a very long time talking about the technical experiences they're having-- but also this very team and sort of business-based setting to achieve goals and deliverables, typically on an annual basis. Most of our teams are very aligned with the academic year in the goals and deliverables that they do have.
Depending on our students' interests, they also have the opportunity within these teams to get exposed to a really broad spectrum of aspects of the particular system that they're working on. So for example, if we have students that are working on a design-and-build team they're going to have the chance to work on the design portion of that.
They're going to have the opportunity to do some of the fabrication, manufacturing, and building. They're going to be involved in testing, analyzing, validating. And so they're getting to see a wide range of, what does this kind of work really entail, and decide what are they really good at, what are they really like.
And I know, from talking to our students, that really does help them make some of the decisions about what kind of internship and, eventually, what kind of career do they want to pursue. I am happy to answer any questions, but I'm going to turn it over to my next colleague from Diversity Programs in Engineering.
SPEAKER: Hello. I'm representing Diversity Programs in Engineering. Our office has a portfolio of programs to support the academic, professional, social, and community development of students who are historically underrepresented in engineering and other STEM careers. We not only serve undergraduate students, but we also have programs for high school students, graduate students, and we also do faculty development.
Some of what we're doing in professional development, as you can see here, we have a long list. We have programs like Master Your Future, where we collaborate with other partners on campus to present career readiness workshops. So that might be something like preparing for the career fair or what are you doing next summer and the upcoming summer. As you might know, students right now are currently planning on their summer plans, their internships, their research opportunities.
We also have, for undergraduate students, corporate-sponsored development opportunities. One of those that we started last year and we're continuing this year is that GE Dare to Lead program for about 30 undergraduate and graduate students. So students partner with our corporate-- students connect with our corporate partners at GE for a three-session program throughout the academic year. Last year, they also worked on many projects, things like sustainability, diversity, and inclusion at GE, the aerospace aspect. And they had the chance to present and work together in small teams.
We also sponsor 10 different student organizations. These include the Society of Women Engineers, SHPE, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers. These are organizations that have national footprints and have external conferences. So our students run these organizations.
Like Lauren mentioned, they fundraise for their organizations. They connect to employers. They manage small teams. They market. They do the marketing and social media for their student groups. And they are putting on events and programming.
And they're really contributing to the student life here at Cornell, supporting students who are underrepresented and creating a community for them. So I really want to emphasize that, as part of the leadership development, they're working in diverse groups, they're challenging themselves, they're mentoring each other, and they're connecting with their peers.
We also have some other events to connect with our alumni, such as our Lunch and Learn program. So both new career and established alumni come back to Cornell to talk about their experiences, and we have a variety. So anything from tech to patent law, we've had in the past. And we do have research programs as well.
So this is similar to what Lisa a spoke about earlier, getting students involved in research and preparing for graduate school. So this is our LSAMP program that supports students who are underrepresented minorities for graduate school through grants to do full time research over the summer or during the academic year as well.
I'd be happy to answer any questions about Diversity Programs in Engineering. I think one thing that I didn't mention is that we also offer opportunities for students to get involved with our outreach program. So that gives students the opportunity to maybe have a short-term summer job, and they really get a sense of working in teams, planning, and applying some of what they're learning in classrooms and giving back. I'll turn it over to Erica, who--
MELISSA BAZLEY: Thanks, [INAUDIBLE].
ERICA DAWSON: Oh, I do have a slide. [LAUGHTER] Thanks. I was going to say, my slide got caught up in the supply chain and isn't here. But Melissa knew I didn't prepare one and made one for me, so thank you. My name is Erica Dawson. I'm the Nancy and Bob Selander Executive Director of Engineering Leadership Programs. My life's mission is to grow courageous leaders, and that's what I'm doing here with your students at Cornell.
I'm a Cornellian myself. My PhD is in Social Psychology, from the big, rusty building right next to the Statler. I don't know if you've seen it. There's actually now a coffee shop there called Rusty's. My background in social psychology encompassed research in judgment and decision-making, social status, and eventually, leadership.
So when I left here, I was at Yale for 10 years on the faculty of the School of Management there. I've been on Schools of Management faculty at Cornell, UCSD, and did some work with MIT as well, which is my way of saying, I've mostly worked with MBA students before I landed here in the College of Engineering. And boy, was that an eye-opener.
In the process of sort of coming back to Cornell and starting founding this Leadership Program, I got to experience what it's like for people who don't engineers to actually learn about engineers. Our Cornell engineers are so much more multifaceted, I think, than people realize, right? We have some just amazing students here to work with. And in the Leadership Program, our job is to meet students where they are and to help develop them as team members and leaders during their time here at Cornell.
And because our students are so diverse, we don't just have one program. So I'm the Director of the Engineering Leadership Program. In reality, it's many programs. We have a lot of different initiatives going on to serve students with different interests, at different developmental stages of readiness for leadership development and teamwork development, and with different goals.
I can say some themes throughout all of our programs are that they're all built around what we call the four pillars of effective leadership. So they show up in all of our different programs. Those pillars are, first, knowledge. So engineering leaders need to have strong, technical knowledge, right? You can't be a leader if you don't know your stuff.
But it also means knowledge about leadership and teamwork that's research-based, empirically based. We don't teach fads in our program. You're not going to find our stuff in the latest airport book about leadership. With our social science background, it really is stuff that we know works and can stand behind. So knowledge is one pillar.
Our second pillar is insight. We deeply prioritize the capacity for self-reflection, for understanding your own motives, values, goals, strengths, and so on, and how to understand that about others, right-- so how to work with diverse others. So insight is our second pillar. Our third pillar is experience. We're an experiential learning program, and you're not going to find a leadership theory course in our curriculum, right? Students come in and they'll learn the theory, but they learn it by doing it, practicing it, reflecting on it.
And then our last pillar, our fourth pillar, is courage. We believe in courage as a behavior and as a characteristic of leaders that's necessary to solve our world's biggest problems. And when I compare the capabilities of an average MBA with the capabilities of an average Cornell engineer, my money's on the engineers. And very often, what they're lacking are those collaborative skills, those leadership skills, that belief in their own voice to go out and do great things. And so that's why we're here.
I won't go into details about the programs for freshmen, sophomores, and upperclassmen. But if you have specific questions about how your students might get involved with our program, we can answer that in the Q&A, OK? I guess one thing I do want to make clear to you, just because we run into this a lot. This is a career sort of seminar. We're not primarily, in the Leadership Program, about careers.
So sometimes we'll get students who ask, how can I get an internship, basically? Our perspective is more, how can you become the kind of person who gets an internship that has purpose and meaning for you, all right? So there's a bigger question wrapped up in that. Yes, we can get them there, but our primary focus is not managerial skills or, instrumentally, career-focused. It's about professional and personal development. All right, thanks.
NATE COOK: Thanks, Erica. My name is Nate Cook, and I do a bunch of different things at Cornell. I teach in the College of Engineering. I teach in the Business School of the Johnson School. And I'm also a practicing attorney.
But within the College of Engineering, the program that I direct is the Kessler Fellows program. And the Kessler Fellows program is all about entrepreneurship. And we have a large entrepreneurship team at Cornell University that works across the colleges and units to help people sort of realize their dreams.
And what's so exciting about the Kessler Fellows program is that it's really about allowing students the opportunity to create their own reality. And so for these folks that are wanting to get into the program, they're interested in entrepreneurship, and they often have a background in engineering. The program is historically been in engineering and was at one time closed and only open to engineering, but now it's open to the whole University.
With that said, probably 80% or more of the applicants are engineering students. And so we take these engineering students that have significant background in sort of core technical skills, but they want exposure to the business world because they think that's going to help them in achieving what they're really looking for in life.
And so what's unique about this program is that it's not just about trying to find an internship it's about trying to find an opportunity in a company that they're excited about, a startup that's in an industry or a particular area of interest that is going to benefit the students. And so what happens is that they get involved in entrepreneurship programs, they take some entrepreneurship courses, so they have some sort of substantive background to think about what next steps look like.
And then they take the engineering skills that they've been honing while they're at the College of Engineering, and they're going out and they're saying, OK, how do I marry that up with sort of business skills? How do I think about how I would raise capital, how I would commercialize technology? What are these other skills that I wouldn't necessarily get in an academic environment that are really going to further my background, whether it be career, or job, or anything else?
And many of these students have an interest in entrepreneurship, and they may end up going to work for a company or they may end up going to start their own company. And I'm kind of agnostic on which of those outcomes happens. I can be supportive of either, in part because whether they want to start their own company-- and at Cornell, we have an on-campus incubator and accelerator called eLab, which I'm one of the instructors for, and we can facilitate that process, or they want to get exposure to other startups that are sort of out there in the universe.
And luckily, across my team of almost 70 people, we touch base with hundreds of startups every year. We have funding for them. We have competitions for them. I probably am involved in 20 or more entrepreneurship programs across the College. And so what's exciting for me is to take these undergraduate students and say, how can I introduce them to all the various things that are going on there so that we can kind of convene an entrepreneurship community and then involve them in the projects that they're excited about?
So when students come to me they say, I'm really excited about sustainability, or this type of engineering, or that type of project, I can say, oh, not only do I have other fellow entrepreneurs in residence that have the chemical engineering background you're looking at, because you wanted to get into this particular thing-- or we've worked with 10 startups that are in that space. Maybe you want to get involved in more life sciences. We can introduce you to the McGovern Center. We can take you here, we can take you there.
But it's all coming back to this notion of people have things that they want to achieve in life. How do we give them the skills and the support so that they can really create their own reality and take a hold of what they want to achieve in life? And so it's a great program.
And the best part of the program, for me, is that after they complete a summer internship, which is fully funded by the sort of generosity of Andy Kessler-- they go and they work with a company for 12 weeks, and they're working sort side-by-side with the startup founders of that company. So it's not limited to just an internship, where they might be in the corner working on programs as a sign. No, this is really about, how do I learn sort of key business skills that can be beneficial?
And then after that happens and they've had 12 weeks of that sort of immersive, experiential learning, then they come back in the fall, and they're able to share sort of the stories with us as to what transpired during that period. And in many cases, it's super transformational. It's the kind of thing where they couldn't believe what they got out of it, and it changed their whole perspective on sort of what they want to do in life and what the next chapter is.
And for me, that's super exciting, because you're able to sort of couple this strong, academic core background and couple that and marry that to these other core sets of skills that they learn from actually doing things in the real world. And together, you marry the two, and it makes the person stronger and more prepared to sort of head into the future.
And so I was super excited to see all these sophomore parents involved, because that means that you can all go back and talk to your students about how they might be interested in applying for the Kessler Fellows program in the fall of their junior year. Because they enroll in the program as juniors, and then in the summer between their junior and senior year is when they would go work for a startup.
But it's a super great program. Anybody who's interested in entrepreneurship, I would love to connect with them. I've got a lot of programs to talk about. I collaborate with these folks here. And if entrepreneurship is something that is exciting for the students, love to meet them, love to get them involved, and happy to take any questions that you have. Thanks.
MELISSA BAZLEY: Thanks, Nate. All right, thank you, panelists. I know that was a lot of information. And also thank you for working with a slightly awkward space right here. So we want to open it up for Q&A. We've talked a lot. What questions do you have? Feel free if you want to raise your hand. I'll repeat your question out to make sure the whole group can hear. I know it's hard with the masks. You've been waiting so patiently.
AUDIENCE: I have a daughter who is a mechanical engineer second year student, and she's in a project team and loves it. And she had an opportunity in high school to get turned on from research because she worked with a college Professor and loves that, but then she might like that too. And now she's running out of time to get involved in research.
And I was just asking, what is a typical Cornell Engineering major that can handle research, and project team, and course load. As a parent, I don't want her to lose the balance of everything by doing too much. What is the typical student, and what kind of advice would you have?
MELISSA BAZLEY: So it sounds like the question is you have a sophomore who's on a project team. They're also interested in research. They've got all their coursework. How much can a typical student handle, in terms of their load? That's about it? Anybody want to take that?
LAUREN STULGIS: [INAUDIBLE]
MELISSA BAZLEY: [LAUGHS]
LISA SCHNEIDER-BENTLEY: Sure. Hi. I'll speak to that just a little bit. And part of that is it does seem like students want to do everything, and there's a lot to do. So I don't think she's running out of time. She's a sophomore, you said, so there's time.
But if she is interested in research, she should really start exploring, if she hasn't yet, what's happening in the different faculty research programs, where do her interests align, and really start intentionally thinking about that to target multiple possibilities of who she might want to do research with. Because it takes some time to get to creating that connection that's going to be a good fit.
So that's an initial piece, before you jump in and start doing it. And do you want to speak a little bit to the-- because I know, yeah, students spend a lot of time on the project teams sometimes.
LAUREN STULGIS: They do. They do. I'm glad to hear that she's enjoying her project team experience. So I guess I sort of have two comments, but I'm going to start before either of those with just reiterating what Lisa already said, which is, yes, there's a ton, and no, she's not running out of time. So I know it feels that way in both regards, but please help--
AUDIENCE: I meant more time in the day, 24 hours.
LAUREN STULGIS: Right. OK, well, yes, we all have that same constraint. So two comments on that. I actually do know a number of students that are on project teams and also do research. And one of the ways that this can be really synergistic for them is if they are doing research deeper into a facet of their project team work.
So I have some mechanical engineering students, for example, who are doing research with a mechanical engineering faculty member, and they're going really deep into the fluid dynamics aspect of one particular part of their project build that they're working on. And so they're still involved in the project team. Their research for the faculty member is kind of aligned in that way.
I will say one of the things I often talk to our project team students about is part-- [LAUGHS] and this is the hard part for them. Part of what they're really practicing and learning, which can feel sort of painful sometimes, is having to prioritize, and having to respect the fact that we all have 24 hours in the day, and figuring out what sort of like work life balance they want. Those are skills that they're going to need and priorities are going to have to set throughout their life.
And if research is something she really wants to try, I would encourage her to think about how to fit that in, even if it means leaning back, working less on the team, or taking less credits on the team, stepping away from the team for a little while to try that new experience. We definitely have lots of project team students who go off on co-op or they go and do research for the summer and add that into their experience to try that out as well.
ERICA DAWSON: Can I add something too?
LAUREN STULGIS: Yes, definitely.
ERICA DAWSON: I just wanted to add something from the Leadership program perspective, because I think this is a really nice illustration of how closely a lot of these programs are aligned, and integrated, and work together. One of the things that we offer in Leadership program is coaching for students.
And very often, it's around these questions, because it's not about work life balance, per se. It's about how, in my life, am I making choices that allow me to reach my goals in a way that's also not going to require me to sleep just four hours a night, which many of our students do. And it's not serving them.
So in the Leadership program, we also offer coaching, and that's a lot of the issues that students come to us with. It's not about time management. It's about getting in touch with my sense of purpose, my goals, and then working with a coach that I can structure a way forward on those. And that's a life and a leadership skill.
And so that's a way that, when we have students dealing with these issues, it's not just sort of, oh, manage your time better. There's some fundamental questions underneath that. And so I would also say, yeah, coaching might be a way to get some clarity on where people want to be spending their time and their energy as well.
TRACI NATHANS-KELLY: Thank you, [INAUDIBLE]. I'll add one more quick thing. In Mechanical, they'll take a class called 4272. It's in your senior year, and that will fulfill-- at least, it does today-- their Engineering Communication requirements. But for a lot of other majors, they don't have that capstone requirement that does double duty for them.
So those students who are in project teams, or who are in leadership, or who do research experiences with professors, please reach out to us before you do those things, because we might be able to make that work very likely. We will be able to make that work for the Engineering Communication requirement, again, distilling time spent, right? And double dipping, if you will, really making the most of those moments, can help them out a lot with the time management part of it.
MELISSA BAZLEY: Did you want to add something, Lisa? Oh, there's a hand back here.
AUDIENCE: So our son is a sophomore. And maybe [INAUDIBLE] ideas, no clue what he wants to do or [INAUDIBLE] I think he's lost. So he has a scientific academic advisor. Would the advisors provide-- this is a first that I've heard of these programs. So do you have any data on awareness and level of participation by students in all these opportunities? How do they become exposed to those?
MELISSA BAZLEY: So I think most students find out about these experiences through orientation and then their engineering 1050 class in the fall of their first year. But I think we also have to recognize just fall, the first year, for students, there's a lot coming at them. And then, of course, last fall was really unusual for a student who started last fall. I have been meeting, lately, with a good number of sophomores who feel kind of similarly.
And I think what I like to have is students come in-- and I think, with us, they're pretty comfortable saying, I don't know what I'm doing, right? They won't say it to their peers. They will not-- in many cases, they're not going to show that vulnerability. But they'll come in and say, I don't know what I'm doing, right?
And I like to get students thinking about their goals, what they're interested in. And so we'll take steps, right? Let's take some steps. Here's some action steps. Let's set an accountability check-in. So you're going to come back in two weeks and tell me how x went or whatever time frame feels comfortable for them.
And what I'm seeing is a lot of students just need that structure of coming in and talking with someone. OK, I'm going to go do that, I'm going to come back, we're going to talk about how that went, and then go from there. So from the Engineering Career Center perspective, I would really encourage the student to come visit us, and we can start that process.
And I think when they start to feel, like, I've got this person that I know I can check back in with, I've got a teammate here, it starts to feel much more-- it's not always more clear, but it starts to feel like there's a structure that they can work with, and engineers love that structure.
AUDIENCE: Your department is where they should start [INAUDIBLE]?
MELISSA BAZLEY: Yeah, I would encourage a student to start with our office. And--
AUDIENCE: What was your name, again? I'm sorry.
MELISSA BAZLEY: Oh, my name's Melissa Bazley. I work at the Engineering Career Center, yeah. But I welcome my colleagues, if anyone has anything to add. Go ahead.
ERICA DAWSON: I can make a quick plug. It won't help you right now, but it is a program we're growing called the Engineering Compass program. And this will be available starting in next fall, so it's available to freshmen and sophomores to help solve exactly this problem.
And it is a one-semester class that pairs our engineering students in the class with faculty coach mentors and with peer coach mentors. And we ask these kinds of questions. What should I and can I be doing while I'm here at Cornell? They get coaching as part of this.
And the end product is not a career path plan-- I defer to Melissa's excellent department on that-- but rather, a plan for their four years at Cornell. How can I structure and make good choices to get me where I want to go, while I'm enjoying my time here at Cornell? And so that's something. We're a little in a growth stage right now in my program, but that'll be something that'll be available in the fall to sophomores and, in the spring, every year to freshmen, starting next year.
MELISSA BAZLEY: I thank you for mentioning that, Erica, because I should have mentioned, as well, our department teaches a spring class. It's called Engineering 2350, Career Development in Engineering. Great class. It's offered in the spring. And right now is just about pre-enroll time, when students are picking their classes for the spring semester. And we do have one section of that course that is taught-- well, we have two that are taught in-person, and we have one section that is taught online asynchronously.
But the things I want to emphasize about that is asynchronous doesn't mean it's non-interactive, and asynchronous doesn't mean that it's just watching recorded lectures. So it's a class where students get meaningful interaction with each other and get to work through the same topics as the students in the in-person course.
And we found, last, year that it was a great benefit to have that, because students have such busy schedules that having an asynchronous section of the course allowed more people to participate. So that would also be an excellent option for the spring. Sure.
AUDIENCE: Hi, yeah, so I have a question about research, two-part question. So one is in terms of identifying research opportunities and how [INAUDIBLE] students might go about that, what platforms they have for that.
And then, also, if they do sort of like an intense summer research of nine to 10 week program, how does that place them, in terms of doing that instead of an internship, and then they decide they don't want to pursue research, and they're really behind sort of-- have they lost ground because they haven't been able to do the internship and they chose to do a research program instead?
MELISSA BAZLEY: OK, so two parts to this question. One is, where do students find research experiences. And then the second is, if my student chooses to do a summer research experience, does that put them behind, perhaps, in pursuing an industry position later on? So Lisa, do you want to start, and I'll support as needed?
LISA SCHNEIDER-BENTLEY: Sure. So really, what we advise students, when they want to start exploring looking for research position, is to-- all of the Department web pages have research pages organized by broad research areas. And so it's a really great way. You can go on you can see all the faculty research groups in that area, click down into those. You can see the different projects. You can see the people.
So the student really-- we recommend that the students spend some time going through those, seeing what resonates. They're not expected to understand it all, you know? They're just starting out here. But they really want to identify not just one, because it's not a given that any one group will have a position available at the time that student is ready, but multiple that they can see a match with their skills and interests.
And then what they need to do-- and this is sometimes the hard part for students-- is to really go and meet that faculty member. So email, and if they don't get a response right away, email again. If they don't get a response right away, find out the office hours and go to the office hours or stop by the lab. There's a persistence factor, which is important and also is convincing to faculty members.
If there's a student who's really following up, who's really coming prepared, who has looked into what's available to learn about their research and can articulate why they're interested in that, that sometimes can convince faculty members to create a position for that student, even if they might have not felt like they had space when they just got an email. So that's part of it, that exploration piece. And what else did I want to say about that?
MELISSA BAZLEY: The internship.
LISA SCHNEIDER-BENTLEY: Oh, right, so whether it's a wasted time. There's so much learning and skill building that can happen if a student embarks into a research experience in a group. Obviously, there's a lot of technical knowledge just about doing research and how that works, and there's networking among all the members of that research group.
Sometimes a very valuable outcome of trying research as the student finds out they're really not that interested in it. That's a valuable outcome, because obviously, students are here to explore and figure out the directions that they want to take. So in terms of internship versus a research experience, they could probably earn more money taking an internship, but it really is going to depend. Like Erica was talking about, what are the higher level kind of purposes and goals that students can identify for themselves?
MELISSA BAZLEY: And I would say, a research lab is not a workplace. It's a workplace. You have coworkers. You're doing work. You have to learn how to work with this team and follow the protocols of the lab, do the technical work, solve problems. You use the same career competencies in a lab. And some students will love it, and some students will end up pursuing research and development for their careers. Other students will say, I want to go to graduate schools. Other students will say, well, that, was fun but now I want an internship.
And so a part of it is students being able to, again, identify those competencies that they used that they can use in another work setting. So we encourage students, in our office, to try to get two or three hands on experiences over the course of four years, right? So research is a perfectly valuable experience to have. Traci, you wanted to say something, I think?
TRACI NATHANS-KELLY: You said it.
MELISSA BAZLEY: Oh, OK. All right. Oh, sure. Nate?
NATE COOK: I was just going to say, it's not mutually exclusive either. It's not like it's only research or only internship, because a lot of times, those two areas cross over. Many faculty members are involved in startups and commercialization that is both inside of the school and outside of the school.
And depending on what the student's interested in, they may be end up finding research that's on campus that could be super cool, they might find research in a private company outside a campus, or they may even find that there's some crossover because there's either faculty or students that are involved in the company and involved in research or the research or the company you know was a spin out of a lab at Cornell. And those things continue.
And so for whatever it's worth, I would say that the whole notion of losing time or, somehow, a semester goes by and you can't make it up, the students that are coming out of Cornell are so prepared and have so many things going for them that that's, like, the last thing that I would be worried about, because they can pick up at any time and kind of reliance on what they did and run with it.
But I think, more than anything else, it's a question of finding out what sort of aligns between the student in terms of what they want to do, and the industry, and the place that they want to be and then finding the opportunities that line up with that.
And there can be hundreds different ways of looking at it, and you're not only limited to campus to have things that are kind of a crossover between the working world and the research world. I see those two is hand-in-glove all the time. So for whatever it's worth, if that makes sense for that particular student in that particular industry or whatever, it's certainly worth looking at.
MELISSA BAZLEY: Sure.
AUDIENCE: So I was [INAUDIBLE] freshman, and he's been pursuing [INAUDIBLE] program. So my question is, as a professional, what kind of [INAUDIBLE]
MELISSA BAZLEY: So the question is, your son is are freshmen interested in entrepreneurship, and how might he get involved right now?
NATE COOK: Can I take this one first, and then you guys--
MELISSA BAZLEY: It's all you.
NATE COOK: So come down and talk to me afterwards. I'll make sure you get a card. The first thing we need to do is make sure that they're tied into the listserv, where like the regular communications are going out from the eShip at Cornell.
And then depending on what programs they're in, we have separate email communications for all those things. So if they're interested in clean energy, I have a place for them to go. If they're interested in clean tech, and ag tech, and that kind of stuff, I have a place to go. If they're interested in aeronautical engineering, we can talk about that.
So a lot of it is finding out sort of where they're core interested and then getting them part of the folks that are doing that stuff. When I talked about sort of the importance of convening the entrepreneurship community, that's something where if they're interested in entrepreneurship, they need to get tied into the various things that are going on around campus that are related to that. And it's been really frustrating for me during the pandemic, because we stopped having sort of the monthly networking events that were really good for that. I'm hopeful that all that's going to get started off in the near future.
But what happens is that when members of different parts of the community kind of come together-- and this is what is so unbelievably special about Cornell-- is that there's more top-10 schools at Cornell than almost any other place I can think of. And so you have engineers that are cross-pollinating with other schools and other colleges. And from that, there's just a wide variety of things that emerge.
And so if your son or daughter is interested in entrepreneurship, I'd love to connect with them to figure out what particular area they're interested in so we can make sure that they get connected to folks that are in that area. And so please come down afterwards, and we'll talk, and we'll make sure that we make that happen.
MELISSA BAZLEY: All right, so I just started to pass around some handouts. The handouts are the information that's on this slide. These are some resources that we have available to connect students with. So these are things please point your student to. And then on the back of that same page, you'll see some resources for you as families if you would like to be more information or more connected with the College. I think we have time for maybe one more question.
AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] So you mentioned about the [INAUDIBLE] program may be able to provide some coaching for students that have [INAUDIBLE] prioritizing [INAUDIBLE] making the critical decisions. Is that a course or is that [INAUDIBLE] individual coaching session [INAUDIBLE]?
ERICA DAWSON: Sure. So the question was, I mentioned coaching as a possible avenue for helping students get clarity on various things that they're encountering here, and what's the format of that? Is it a class or what? No, it's not a class. It is one-on-one coaching that we provide. We're currently able to provide that. We're able to meet most of the demand that we have. There are some indicators that coaching would be useful for a student.
So they need to come to us with the capacity for self-reflection, obviously, the time to dedicate to coaching. It usually happens on a schedule of one 45-minute session every other week or every three weeks for about two months. The nice thing about coaching is it can be a very effective short-term intervention, right? But we really look for coaching readiness that the student has some ownership over the situation that they're in and some capacity to partner with us.
So coaching is not advising. It's not teaching. It's not giving direction or mentoring. Coaching is the art of inquiry, asking questions, deep listening, and helping students get clear on where they're getting stuck and develop strategies for getting through that. It's a very developmental tool. So it's not about remediation-- we're going to fix anything in you.
It's really like, you're in an exciting place. We're going to help you find direction for yourself. So sometimes students come, and they just don't have some of what we know indicates good coaching outcomes, including the drive to be coached, the ability to take ownership over their own direction, and to be partners in that. Assuming that that's there, then, yeah, we can set up one on one coaching sessions and help students get clear on what they want to get out of those sessions and drive toward that with them. You're welcome.
MELISSA BAZLEY: Thank you. So I'm very mindful that I'm standing between you and your dinner. So I'd like to thank our panelists for their insights today. Thank you, panelists.
I'd like to thank you families for supporting your students through our program and, again, for raising such amazing young people that we get to work with every day. Thank you.
And I hope you have a great Halloween weekend here in Ithaca.
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This session is for the families of students in their second through fourth year of study. Developing a satisfying career plan for life after graduation requires engagement and participation in professional development opportunities during college. We will discuss the career readiness competencies employers desire in new hires and ways students can develop these skills in the College of Engineering. Representatives from a variety of college offices will be available at this panel discussion of their programs and offerings.