1. Tell me about yourself?
I am down-to-earth, sweet, smart, creative, industrious, and thorough.
2. How has your experience prepared you for your career?
Aside from the discipline and engineering foundation learning that I have gained from my courses, I think the design projects, reports, and presentations have prepared me most for my career.
Through internships, I have gained self-esteem, confidence, and problem-solving skills. I also refined my technical writing and learned to prepare professional documents for clients.
By working on multiple projects for different student organizations while keeping up my grades, I’ve built time management and efficiency skills. Additionally, I’ve developed leadership, communication, and teamwork abilities.
In general, life has taught me determination and the importance of maintaining my ethical standards.
3. Describe the ideal job.
Ideally, I would like to work in a fun, warm environment with individuals working independently towards team goals or individual goals. I am not concerned about minor elements, such as dress codes, cubicles, and the level of formality. Most important to me is an atmosphere that fosters attention to quality, honesty, and integrity.
4. What type of supervisor have you found to be the best?
I have been fortunate enough to work under wonderful supervisors who have provided limited supervision, while answering thoughtful questions and guiding learning. In my experience, the best supervisors give positive feedback and tactful criticism.
5. What do you plan to be doing in five years’ time?
Taking the PE exam and serving in supervisory/leadership roles both at work and in professional/community organization(s).
6. What contributions could you make in this organization that would help you to stand out from other applicants?
In previous internships, my industriousness and ability to teach myself have been valuable assets to the company. My self-teaching abilities will minimize overhead costs, and my industriousness at targeting needs without prompting will set me apart from others. Additionally, one thing that has always set me apart from my scientific/engineering peers are my broad interests and strong writing abilities. I am not your typical “left-brained” engineer, and with my broad talents, I am likely to provide diverse viewpoints.
7. What sort of criteria are you using to decide the organization you will work for?
Most importantly, I am looking for a company that values quality, ethics, and teamwork. I would like to work for a company that hires overachievers.
8. What made you choose your major?
My academic interests are broad, so I sought civil engineering to achieve a great balance of mathematics, chemistry, biology, physics, and writing.
9. Have your university and major met your expectations?
The College of Engineering at MSU has exceeded my expectations by providing group activities, career resources, individual attention, and professors with genuine interest in teaching.
My major has met my expectations by about 90%. I would have enjoyed more choices in environmental courses, and would have preferred more calculus-based learning.
10. What made you choose this college?
I chose this college for the following reasons: my budget limited me to in-state schools, I was seeking an area with dog-friendly apartments, the MSU web site impressed me, I saw active student groups, and the people were very friendly
11. List 2-3 of your greatest achievements since you’ve been in college and why?
Receiving the SWE Outstanding Member Award and College of Engineering Student Service Award
I got involved with student activities to overcome my debilitating shyness. Receiving these awards signified that I had accomplished a transition from dragging myself to participate to feeling energized by it.
Receiving the SWE Web Site Award
Without training in web design, I competed against not only the other student sections, but professional sections around the nation. Despite competing with more HTML-experienced people, I brought this award to my section. After getting so much from SWE, I was able to give something back.
Earning the highest grade in an organic chemistry class of ~200 people
I worked very hard for this grade and loved the subject, so it was a great feeling to see that the hard work paid off.
12. Which subjects have you enjoyed studying the most and why?
I have enjoyed hydrology, fluids, solid & hazardous waste management, water and wastewater treatment, and oceanography because I love water and environmental topics.
Calculus and linear algebra excite me because I love logic.
I enjoyed the writing and analysis in economic history.
Business law thrilled me because I have a strong interest in legal matters.
13. Which subjects did you dislike and why?
Introductory soil elicited little interest in me, most likely because the professor was inexperienced, the book was ineffective, and I had little spare time that semester to look into other resources.
14. Do you have plans to continue your education?
Yes, but not immediately. I plan to continue part time with either an MBA or an environmental engineering masters, depending on which will be more beneficial to my work.
15. How would a professor who knows you well describe you? One who does not know you well?
A professor who knows me well would likely describe my personal qualities: sweet, down-to-earth, smart, hard-working, and conscientious.
As specific examples of those who did not know me well, my soils professor and soils teaching assistant each considered me smart and respectful, and both thought that I must have enjoyed the class a lot, due to my performance.
16. Given the chance, how would you alter your education?
Knowing now what I like the most, I would have used my electives for extra math and psychology classes, since I tend to be well-rounded enough that a variety of classes are unnecessary; my personal reading is diverse enough. I have found that mathematics and psychology are helpful to all career and life paths.
17. Which part-time job did you enjoy the most and why?
Working for PM Environmental was most enjoyable to me, since I felt like I was significantly contributing to the company, and I enjoyed learning on my own.
Some of my interests include dogs, hiking, snow-shoeing, water sports, writing, reading (especially Charles Dickens’ novels), skiing, drawing, crafts, and computers.
19. What are your strengths?
My strongest strength is the ability to teach myself difficult material, regardless of the subject (with the exception of theater and drawing blood from dogs, which I have no talent for). Additionally, I have always excelled verbally and look forward to writing opportunities.
20. What are your weaknesses?
I tend to try to do too many things, leaving little time for myself. I have worked on balancing myself for the last several months. I am also working on improving my public speaking skills.
21. What sort of serious problems have you experienced, and how have you handled them?
My apartment building burned down at the end of January during one of my semesters at MSU. Before the fire got too bad, I was able to rescue my pets and the neighbor’s dog, as well as my textbooks and backpack, but I lost most of my mementos and possessions. While the firemen were preparing their hoses, I drove to school (with the animals in the car) to meet my lab partners, who were waiting for me. I explained the situation, emailed my professors, and rushed back to the apartment.
Fortunately, I had renter’s insurance. I missed about a week of school to deal with the insurance matters and find a new place to live. In order to salvage my grades and sanity, I dropped a course and honored my existing student group and research commitments. Staying active socially and keeping myself well-rounded were the best healing tools for me. Within a few weeks, I was caught up and had recovered reasonably from the loss of sentimental items.
22. Do you or have you in the past experimented with illegal drugs?
No. My only addictions are caffeine and sugar.
23. Would you be willing to take a drug test?
24. Do you drink alcohol socially?
No, but I enjoy Shirley Temples quite a bit.
25. If you had your whole life to live over, what would you do differently and why?
I was always good in math, but I wish that I would have focused on math more. I feel that mathematics can lead one anywhere, and is the basis of most disciplines.
On a personal level, I would have ensured that, despite pre-teen angst and insecurity, I would have been nice to everyone, even on especially bad days.
26. Which is more important to you, your salary or your job?
Salary is important, but I couldn’t stay with a job that brought me misery when I could support myself doing something else; hence, my job is more important.
27. What have you found to be the biggest source of motivation in your life?
Taking advantage of my strengths so that they are not wasted. Since nobody is lucky enough to be strong in every area, I think it is important to make good use of one’s strengths.
28. What sorts of things cause you stress, and how do you deal with them?
Lack of organization throws me off. To deal with this, I come up with some kind of system to organize things, even if it is only in my head, in the case when chaos is desirable.
29. What is your definition of success?
Being a good person by improving the quality of the lives of others, whether it be through work, doing sweet things, improving the environment/community, taking care of one’s family, etc. Superficially, I tend to measure success by level of education and abilities within one’s career; however, I try to remind myself of the things that are more important.
30. What qualities should a successful supervisor possess in regard to job requirements and those who report to him/her?
A successful supervisor should be able to tactfully give criticism, guide, motivate, encourage and foster a positive work environment.
31. How would you develop team spirit among the people that you supervise?
My experience in student groups has taught me that people work best when their friends (teammates) are counting on them to do well; therefore, I believe that bonding motivates people. I would also foster team pride by promoting our team’s assets.
32. Do you like to work independently or as a team?
I like to work independently towards a team goal.
33. What kind of work environment do you like the best?
I enjoy working with friendly co-workers who can share a laugh while working hard and overachieving.
34. How would you resolve conflicts with employees, coworkers, and supervisors?
If possible, I would refresh my memory on what I’ve learned about conflict communication, and then I would discuss things, honestly and tactfully. I am a big fan of kind sincerity and honesty, as well as humility (when appropriate).
35. In what ways have you learned from your mistakes?
Upon getting myself overwhelmed with involvement in too many projects, I changed my approach. When possible, I now start with less than I can handle and add more only as time allows, and in small increments.
36. In what areas do you need to improve your skills?
I would like to improve my public speaking skills.