Tag Archives: networking

Women’s Leadership Symposium

Mira Cooper

Mira Cooper,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 15 April 2016

Waking up at 4 am on a Wednesday sounds like an awful way to start the day, right? Pair that with a four-hour bus ride to the other side of the state, and you’d think that the day is going poorly. Actually, when it involves networking with women in professional leadership positions, it’s not so bad.

I spent my Wednesday at Cleveland State University attending seminars and panel discussions on what it means to be a woman in the workforce, and what we can do to support our sisters in professional growth.

Here’s about how the day went:

4:00 am (Athens): Wake up, eat a small breakfast, get dressed in business professional attire—don’t ask me the difference between business professional and business casual, I probably couldn’t tell you—and try to leave my house on time.

5:30 am: Be late, leave my house in a hurry, and take one step down the hill, purse breaks. Great start to the day. Speed walk to Baker Center to catch the bus that’s supposed to leave at 6, see a bus leave the Baker parking lot, panic, consider going home, decide against that and begrudgingly walk with my head down to the designated meeting place.

5:45 am: Realize that the bus I saw leave was theGoBus, feel embarrassed, stand with the other attendees and wait for the real bus, not saying a word to anyone.

6:00 am: Bus leaves for Cleveland. Commence napping.

9:45 am (Cleveland): Bus pulls up to the Cleveland Public Auditorium. Attendees all pile out of bus, directly go into first session.

10:00 am: Walk in late to a panel discussion on women in male-dominated fields. Listen to testimony from female police chiefs, construction company CEOs, and athletic directors. Feel empowered. Take lots of notes. Scurry off to next seminar.

11:00 am: Arrive early for discussion on LGBTQ rights in Ohio. Realize that Ohio is still very far behind in the fight for equality. Leave feeling motivated.

12:00 pm: Lunch at a table of professional attendees. Discover one is an OU alum. Briefly chat about Athens. Lunchtime keynote speaker begins. Listen to presentation on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Feel enlightened.

1:30 pm: Keynote speaker ran long, after-lunch sleepiness kicks in. Wander into panel discussion on women in creative fields. Ears perk up at the statement “I graduated in a class of 75% women”. Try to imagine what engineering would be like with 75% women. Leave feeling disconnected and a little jealous.

3:00 pm: Attend discussion on emotional intelligence. Learn so much on emotionally conscious leadership. Decide to implement in everyday life. Leave feeling rushed, but excited.

4:00 pm: Load back up onto bus. Immediately fall asleep. Realize that I’m an 80-year old woman trapped in a 20-year old’s body.

8:00 pm (Athens): Arrive home. Fall back asleep. Too much excitement for me in one day.

It was an interesting event, to say the least. Usually, I attend these kinds of things with at least one person I already know, but this time I decided to roll solo. As a remarkably socially awkward person, this was probably not a good idea. I don’t think I had a conversation that lasted more than two minutes the whole day. But, this allowed me to spend a lot of time sharpening my observation and listening skills.

I did feel a bit disconnected from the other attendees, being one of the only engineers there, but the community was still very strong. I’ll probably try to attend again next year, if possible. Even though it’s not an engineer-focused event, it would have been nice to have an engineering presence there. Maybe it’s an event that SWE would like to partner with, since it’s like a mini-conference. I think that would be a good idea!

Summer Approaches

Robert Parker

Robert Parker,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 13 April 2016

Spring in Athens is my favorite time of the year, but it also is the busiest time of the year. It seems that all of your projects, homework assignments and exams all fall on the same due date. With that being said, I find a way to get through it and make it to summertime, and for this summer I cannot wait for it to get here.

This summer I will be working for E.S. Wagner Company as a superintendent. They are a heavy highway, heavy excavation company that works in Ohio, the surrounding states and in South Carolina. I will be working out in the field supervising the different crews on the job site. For my location this summer, I have not heard the finalized decision but I’m still very excited either way.

This opportunity may have never presented itself if I had gotten involved with organizations during my time here at Ohio University. My organizations have broadened my professional network exponentially and I continue to improve my relationships with professionals daily.

For this particular co-op. I have my organization, The Ohio University Estimating Team, to thank for getting me in contact with E.S. Wagner. Without being involved in that organization I would have never talked with the company. Summer is right around the corner and I cannot wait for it to arrive!!

Transition to Aviation Industry

Gavin Whitehead

Gavin Whitehead,
Senior, Aviation

Athens, OH 20 October 2015

Senior year is here. I can’t believe it is, but if I look back at my time here…it’s believable. These past three years I met a lot of people and have had a lot of memorable experiences. I will miss this place, but I am going to focus more on the two semesters I still have and I am going to enjoy it while it’s here.

So far my class schedule is extremely easy. I’m only taking 3 classes–tough right? That’s called “planning ahead” and getting the tough classes out of the way before the inevitable senioritis kicks in. Spring semester is going to be similar: 3 classes and an online class. I’m loving senior year already.

One thing I really like about my classes is that they are focused more on transitioning from college out to the workforce. The classroom setting feels more like a discussion amongst everyone rather than a lecture which I really like.

My favorite class by far this semester is called Transition to Aviation Industry. The title pretty much says it all. We are learning how to build a resume, practicing interviews, learning how to network, and actually doing a little networking as part of the class. How do you think we go about networking? Field trips!! I haven’t been on a field trip since high school and it was about time for one!

This year we have been visiting airlines and different companies. We even visited control towers. My favorite so far was visiting PSA airlines. I really would like to work for an airline and that was a great way to get my foot in the door and I really liked their facilities. We have four field trips and 15 different guest speakers coming in to talk to us. I’m liking this whole senior year thing.

Graduation Around the Corner

Rachel Fryan

Rachel Fryan,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 17 February 2015

With graduation right around the corner, the reality of the real world is starting to set in. I am finishing my victory lap with a double major in computer science and visual communications, and I am excited to get into the industry and use this dual skill set.

The technology world is in a high demand and I am finding the Bobcat alumni are equally willing to help fill these spots. Most of my contacts can be attributed to a very successful, distinguished California alumnus, Mr. David Pidwell. Mr. Pidwell graduated from the Russ College with a bachelor’s in electrical engineering, and has since become a CEO, earned his doctorate, become a successful investor, and has been a lecturer at Stanford University focusing on entrepreneurship. He is very determined on giving back, and well connected in the Silicon Valley area which is the hub of all technology.

It never ceases to amaze me how much Bobcat alumni are willing to help, in both my VisCom school, but especially within the Russ College. If you’re willing to put in the work, there will always be someone there to help you or connect you where you’re trying to get to. Once a bobcat, always a bobcat!

The Power of Networking

Grant Rhue

Grant Rhue,
Junior, Aviation

Athens, OH 16 January 2013 – Over the break, I explored several internships available within the airline industry. I updated my resume so that it was as complete as possible for submission to the airlines. Through networking with a friend and his dad, I made contact with an Ohio University Alumni, who works for Trans State Airlines. Trans State is a regional carrier operating Embraer regional jets for United Express and US Airways Express.

I sent them my resume and within a few days, I received a phone call from the Director of Flight Training and Safety, who turned out to be one of the founding members of our Alpha Eta Rho flight fraternity chapter at OU. We had a good conversation about the possibility of an internship in St. Louis, and he said that I would hear from them. A few days after New Year’s, I received an internship offer from Trans State in St. Louis for the coming summer. I am really excited about this opportunity to gain industry experience and improve my knowledge and understanding of the regional airline industry.

Membership in Alpha Eta Rho has other benefits beyond networking. Last fall, we took a trip to Hopkins Airport in Cleveland to tour United Airlines facilities there. The picture shows me in the cockpit of a Boeing 737-800 on the tour.


I would urge every student in the Russ College to network as much as possible. OU alumni, faculty, friends, parents, and professionals visiting OU are often willing to guide you and offer internships or job positions. It is important to get involved and be active in student organizations and to give back to the Athens community in various ways. You never know when something will work to help you get an internship or job, and it is great to become involved in a life of helping others.