Mykala Harris: Federal Diversity Intern at the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (New Orleans, LA)

Post-Internship BluesImage result for sadness

After a readjustment to the humid and sweltering weather, New Orleans is now another place on the world map that I can call home. The past ten weeks has been phenomenal and I could not have picked a better place for my internship. The people I have met during the course of my internship are irreplaceable and hold a special place in my heart. The food in New Orleans is nothing short of delicious and my diet was definitely struggling! However, with any experience, it is the memories that I take back home with me that matters most.

Being a life long learner has always been a top priority for me. Whether it it learning a new professional skill or learning a few more phrases in Spanish, I always take every opportunity to add more to my knowledge base. Over the course of my internship I have learned new technical and personable skills that I will be able to apply to my career after graduation. I have made friends from all over the USA and will be sure to visit them when I have the chance. I am always open to a new adventure with some good friends.
 Whether it is stopping in Puerto Rico or visiting California, you can never have too flight miles.

My mentor and the many staff members within the Department of Veterans Affairs are going to be within my extended network. When it was time for me to depart, everyone was sad to see me go. It always feels good when you know that you will be missed. It shows that you have positively impacted the surrounding environment. Furthermore, my mentor and supervisor extended an invitation for my return to the office and to just hang out in New Orleans. Of course I took them up on their offer and I will, hopefully, be heading back down in March 2017!

 

Mykala Harris: Federal Diversity Intern at the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (New Orleans, LA)

Two Week Countdown!

New Orleans has been a home away from home. I still have a few items on my bucket list before heading back to my original home, Philadelphia, PA. My roommates and I have compiled a list of places we would like to visit and things we would like to do before we part ways. The list is below:

  1. Go on a Swamp Tourgator
  2. Visit a Restaurant featured on the Food Network
  3. Pay a visit to the WWII Museum
  4. Walk through Audubon Park
  5. Eat more Snowballs!

 

Though I am going to miss NOLA, I would be lying if I said I did not miss home. I cannot wait to eat a Cheesesteak, visit the beach, and spend time with my family. I miss them most of all! I have two weeks until the semester starts when I return home. Therefore, I will try to make the most out of my last two weeks of a “no work” summer. beach umb

As for my internship, I will miss everyone in the office. I have met some great women and men while interning at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The women in my office have become my long-distant aunts, though we still have a very professional relationship. They have offered me both professional and personal advice. They have believed in my abilities to kick-start projects, lead teams, and present information at large orientations. For my mid-term assessment, I received straight “Excellent” in all fields of the selected criteria. My mentor and supervisor sat down with me and expressed that I have been the best intern they have ever had! (I was delighted and humbled.) Due to previous experiences with interns, they were skeptical about selecting an intern for this summer. Thus, they took a risk and stated they were happy to be comfortable in my abilities to go above and beyond.

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Mykala Harris: Federal Diversity Intern at the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (New Orleans, LA)

Jazz. Jazz Hands.

greeting NOLA

The great NOLA welcomed me with open arms and a lot of humidity. The airport was not as large as many other international airports I have arrived and departed from, so it was easy to maneuver through the crowds of people. The ride from the airport was smooth and picturesque. From all of the negative thoughts surrounding Hurricane Katrina, my first impression was the direct opposite of what I expected to see throughout the streets of New Orleans. Though a lot of people were skeptical of my decision to come down to New Orleans, I am glad that I was able to see the city first hand.

The people of New Orleans are warm and inviting. Though it is a tourist city, if you enter a new shop or restaurant, you are greeted like you are a frequent visitor. A lot of business owners throughout my travels in Europe were not very inviting or friendly. However, I believe New Orleans, as a whole, loves to give everyone the best time of their life. Whether you are going out for crawfish or gelato, you will find people who will make sure that you have the best quality and the best experience. Southern hospitality at its finest!rivewalk outlets

Oh, and do not be afraid to ask for discounts or specials! The tax in New Orleans is 14.5%, so it will quickly add up. If anyone has ever been to Washington, D.C. and has bought anything, it is similar to that experience. Your subtotal maybe $9, but with tax it is roughly $11. For my foodies and shopaholics, make sure that you catch food deals crawfishsuch as $10 plates before 3 pm, festivals, clothing sales, and street vendors. Even though you are having fun, be smart with your money and budget as much as possible!

Also, before you leave NOLA, be sure to embrace everything the culture has to offer. During the summer months, there is a festival every weekend by the river. The festivals put NOLA’s culture all in one place. There is traditional music, traditional food, and great people. You can choose to go alone or with someone, either way you will always have a great time. If you love seafood, make sure that you eat crawfish; if you are of legal age, drink a Daiquiri; and if you love music, make sure you listen to some jazz.

jazz festWhatever you do decide to do when you come to NOLA, make sure you live it up! Stay tuned for more about the infamous Bourbon Street, Canal Street, and Essence Festival festivities.

 

Follow My Journey on SnapChat (kikis_ego) for exciting times throughout NOLA.

Peace. Love. Harmony.

 

Stephanie Michel ACRE

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Photo Courtesy of Dr. John Pankratz

Hello all!:) Welcome to my first blog post about my Albright Collaborative Research Experience (ACRE)! In this blog postI will be speaking about what brought me to the ACRE program! I first learned about the ACRE program during my freshman year by visiting the Experiential Learning and Career Development (ELCDC) Office. I’d like to call that office one of my homes at Albright because I am definitely a regular. Everyone is so helpful in the office! I’ve worked with Laura Kline, Karen Rieker, and Karen Evans. It got to the point where I would call and Cindy Becker would know who I was by just saying, “Hello, my name is Stephanie!”  So….shout out to the ELCDC! If you haven’t gone to the ELCDC yet during your time at Albright so far, put that on your to do list! I have learned so much from them about networking, resumes, interview tips, and internship searching!  

Now, back to my ACRE!:) I knew I needed to complete an honors thesis to graduate with college honors but I also knew that I would have no time senior year to compile my data from start to finish with all my school work and outside work to attend as well. Well… I may have been able to do it but I wouldn’t have done it to the best of my ability and that is important to me. After some deliberation, I thought maybe I should apply for an ACRE since I would have some free time over the summer. Well, the thought of applying for ACRE works but you need to ask a Professor to work with you, and….you need a PROJECT! I was missing both.

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Fall of 2015, the Psychology Department gained a new professor, Dr. Hearon, a Clinical Psychologist and Health Psychologist. Before she arrived, during spring of 2015, my advisor, Dr. Couchman knew that I needed to complete a thesis and also suggested the possibility of completing an ACRE to me. He knew that my interests lie in health so he told me that the Psych Dept.will be welcoming Dr. Hearon to Albright the following semester and that I should wait, introduce myself, and speak to her about my interests and ideas to see if she would be willing to work with me. I was scheduled to take Dr. Hearon’s Health Psychology course during the Fall so I knew I would meet her then. I also knew that I needed to establish myself as a good student in her course so she would be willing to work with me. I know… sounds devious right but I didn’t do anymore than I expected of myself because my grades are important to me as well as having the respect of my professors. I added that piece because it is important to be conscious about what steps you need to take to reach your goals. There is nothing wrong with that!

Sorry everyone! I get sidetracked sometimes!😀 To continue, on one of Dr. Hearon’s first days at Albright, I met with her during an office hour and we began to brainstorm. I am interested in meditation and how it affects individuals, which matched Dr. Hearon’s interests in health psychology. So then, over the Fall and Spring we came up with a project idea and Dr. Hearon agreed to work over Summer 2016 on an ACRE with me, upon approval from the ACRE Committee. Yay!

Our project is titled “The Effects of Meditation on Perceptions of Attractiveness in Women.” We had to complete the ACRE application which took some work and time to do. Since we also had to complete an Institutional Review Board Research Review Form (IRB), we explained the same information twice which made the process a little easier. I’m so excited to learn more about how to do research, use new software, and run participants!

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My IRB and Planner are ready for Summer ACRE 2016!

 

Mykala Harris: Federal Diversity Intern at the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (New Orleans, LA)

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Oh, the last summer before graduation! It is bittersweet as I know when I return in the fall, it will be my last year at Albright College. The first three years have flown by as everyone said they would. As a first generation college student, I started off college wanting to explore and complete everything that I could before I walked across the stage in May 2017. The journey has been long, but beneficial to my future endeavors and success. The Experiential and Career Development Center (ELCDC) here at Albright College has been very supportive on my road to self-growth by extending opportunities and assisting in exploring different options for career success.

When I thought about what I wanted to do with my last summer as a semi-adult, I knew I would complete an internship. (I thought about studying abroad again, but I think I will hold off until Alternative Spring Break!) I applied to many different internships that included sales, retail, and banking. However, I came across a competitive internship through the Washington Center. It was a program where many people apply, but few get selected. (Kind of like Google). Out of over 800 applicants, only 80 were selected for the regional program.

Furthermore, The Washington Center has many different programs under its organization, but I chose to apply for the Federal Diversity internship. It is aimed toward minority students who have above a 3.0 GPA. The program pays for housing, your transportation to and from your chosen city, and you are given a stipend for the summer that is distributed twice a month. The Federal Diversity Program does place you around the country, so you have the option to intern anywhere within the USA. If you apply, you have to be willing to relocate. I fit the criteria and everything was paid for, so I applied.

Now after applying for internships or any program, there is the “Waiting Game.” I call it the waiting game because you are anxiously waiting to hear back from a recruiter or staff member to say that you have qualified for the next round of interviews or that you are the perfect fit for their company. Neither is true for the Washington Center. Either you get a call, or email, that says you were selected or denied. The Washington Center was my top choice, so I waited to hear back before I chose to intern with another company that I had in my back pocket. I was selected as 1 of 80 and I could not be more excited. My location was going to be in New Orleans, LA and I became even more excited! Anyone who knows me, knows I love to explore new cultures and travel. New Orleans could not have been a more perfect place!

Program Info: http://www.twc.edu/internships/additional-programs/federal-diversity-internship-initiative

 

Words of Advice

Our Commencement Ceremony is on Sunday, and with every commencement comes words of advice as our seniors become alumni right in front of us. Of course, everyone in our office has lots of anecdotes and words of wisdom we could share, but here is my favorite- courtesy of Conan O’Brien.  Go well, Class of 2016!

conan-obrien-quote

Finals Week is Here!

Happy finals week, students! We know you can do it! Find a method of studying that works for you and keep with it. Try really hard not to procrastinate, and not to pull all-nighters. Do the best you can- we believe in you.

If all else fails, have the same attitude as this cuddly penguin- he believes in you, too!

Finals penguin

The Final Week!

It’s our last week of classes! Hang in there, students!

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All About the Money

One component of the job search that frustrates many job seekers is determining salary expectations. It’s a fairly common occurrence for employers to request salary requirements as part of the application. Job seekers, however, feel uncomfortable with this because they don’t want to come across as demanding or expecting too much.  That’s why it is essential to do your research in advance and know what you- and the job- are worth!

In the article “How the Pros Research What Your Salary Should Be” on Jobipedia, hiring experts share insight on what they look for when it comes to the financials of hiring someone. They give excellent tips on how to determine what your salary expectations should be. The first point of advice is to “Become familiar with all that is expected for you at this job.” That includes knowing if you will be required to travel, or work outside of typical business hours. You can ask about these things during an interview.  On the other hand, it’s also important to know your skills and experiences, and how they can uniquely contribute to your role within this position.  A second piece of advice is to “Do your research.” There are many websites available that can calculate a reasonable salary based on your education, location, and years of experience.  Last but not least, “Don’t look for a magic number, make a range.”  Give a window of where you absolutely need to be (low end) to what you truly feel you are worth (high end) and understand that the numbers in between are an area of negotiation. Additionally, don’t forget that other benefits will be calculated in, such as insurance or commuter allowance. Giving a range shows potential employers that you are willing to be flexible, but still know what you deserve.

To read all of the recommendations from the hiring experts, please check out the full article at http://jobipedia.org/Blog/Post?id=how-the-pros-research-what-your-salary-should-be-11320

Top Ten Traits for Job Seekers

As students prepare to graduate and join the workforce, they consistently raise the question: what do employers want to see? What skills ARE employers looking for? Inc.com posted an article last week where contributors from the Young Entrepreneur Council shared the top ten qualities they want their new hires to have.  Although they are commenting from a business perspective, all of these traits are applicable to any major or job-seeker.  Here are a few of the qualities that were mentioned:

  1. Adaptability- be able to not only keep up with trends, but be flexible in how you approach and embrace them.  Employers need to know that you can deal with change appropriately and quickly!
  2. Respectfulness- Everyone, from a new hire to a seasoned employee, should treat each other with respect.  Employers expect everyone on their team to be fair, and accepting of their coworkers’ thoughts and beliefs.
  3. Curiosity- Employers love to see that potential employees embrace the concept of lifelong learning.  By learning new skills and trying new concepts, you’ll be able to be more adaptable- which is another important skill!
  4. Non-verbal communication skills- You know from last week just how important body language is. But also keep in mind that non-verbal communication includes typing an email or in chats.  Make sure what you send cannot be misconstrued!
  5. Empathy- Make sure you believe in the mission of the company or organization, and help others stay focused on the goal so everyone can be successful.

To see what the other five traits are that employers are looking for, check out the article at http://www.inc.com/young-entrepreneur-council/10-non-negotiable-traits-a-new-hire-must-possess.html

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