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Industry road trips offer a glimpse of career options

August 6, 2018
Nvidia staff give a presentation to Rochester students as part of a career exploration tourArjun Dutt '00, director of inception at Nvidia in Santa Clara, California, gives a presentation to University students. (Photo courtesy of the Greene Center)

Each year, University students visit major cities across the country for networking sessions in real-life working environments. They tour companies and network with alumni in various fields at Amazon, on Capitol Hill, on Wall Street, and at other locations.

The trips are sponsored by the Gwen M. Greene Center for Career Education and Connections, and their impact is powerful, says Joe Testani, assistant dean and executive director of the Greene Center.

“Students are seeing what the real world looks like,” Testani says. “It can be jarring and illuminating.”

The center is preparing for another series of road trips in the 2018–19 academic year, and students are urged to apply:

  • Finance (New York City): October 15 –16, for sophomores interested in exploring finance opportunities. Applications are due by September 14.
  • Biotech (Boston): October 15 –16, for sophomores, juniors, and seniors interested in exploring biotech and health care opportunities. Applications due September 14.
  • Entrepreneurship (New York City): October 15-16 for juniors, seniors, and TEAM students interested in exploring startup opportunities. Applications are due by September 14.
  • Tech (Silicon Valley): January 9-11 for sophomores interested in exploring technological fields. Applications are due by late November.
  • Law/policy/social good (Washington, DC): January 9-11 for sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Applications are due by late November.

Future trips in other cities are being considered.

lab staffer with students in a clean room

University students prepare to go into a “clean room” at KLA-Tencor. (Photo courtesy of the Greene Center)

May Wai ’20 was one of 21 students who visited Silicon Valley companies in northern California last January, meeting with University alumni working at companies such as Google, Twitter, and Mulesoft. The computer science and business double major says the interactions were invaluable.

“There’s a 180-degree difference between hearing alumni talk on campus and going on trips like this,” Wai says. “Sometimes you need to see it for yourself.”

Noah Chartier ’20, a mechanical engineering major from Dighton, Massachusetts, secured an internship interview with KLA-Tencor, a global capital equipment company, by speaking with KLA director of product support Kevin Mille ’04. Chartier says the experience “helped me understand the kind of work they do and how companies like this operate.”

students assembled in front of Google HQ

Students visit Google HQ in Mountain View, California. (Photo courtesy of the Greene Center)

That same week, 18 University students visited Washington, DC. They toured Capitol Hill, political think tanks, law firms, and a crowdfunding nonprofit organization. Testani says the Greene Center picked four industry areas in four large population bases to appeal to a majority of students.

“This ties in perfectly with what the Rochester Curriculum is about—curiosity and exploration,” he says. “Students can go out and see how their education is applied by talking to alumni. It’s a physical manifestation of our goals and an experience that can’t be duplicated in a classroom.”

How to apply

Students interested in being part of road trips sponsored by the Gwen M. Greene Center for Career Education and Connections must fill out the application form in Handshake and drop it off at the center, 4-200 Dewey Hall, along with an updated résumé and a statement detailing why they are interested.

Students must pay for their own travel and lodging. They will be notified by email of their acceptance.

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