Monday, January 6, 2014

New Year's Series Part Four: Professional Development

I have managed to secure two research positions for myself beginning Winter term.  One is in an environmental engineering lab on campus, and the other is in a federal plant microbiology lab just off campus.  I'm very excited to be getting started during my freshman year, as many people don't have that opportunity.  The two very different focuses of these labs will give me more insight into the research side of potential careers/majors, and will be a great way to get my feet wet in the lab world.

This brings me to the actual point: I'm not a professional.  I don't have a license, I've never taken any specialized courses dealing with my major, and I'm not even in pro school for engineering (yet).  And yet, I'm starting research positions in two labs...

I need to become a professional.  Or at least take steps that will prepare me to become a professional in the future.  In regards to this goal, I decided on four things that will jumpstart the beginnings of my professional career, as well as allow me to become a more involved member of the scientific and engineering community.

-Keep a journal of things I accomplish at work.  This is something my engineering orientation professor brought up.  He had us keep weekly journals of everything we did in class (although, let's be honest, I didn't actually write in them after every class, I waited until the night they were due, and scrambled to find what we had done on each particular day).  While talking about an internship, he explained exactly why he had us do this: at the end of the internship, you are required to create a poster presentation and in some cases, an official report.  Additionally, there is the possibility that you might have your work included in a publication, or occasionally, decide to base your thesis off your work.  To all these ends, it is important to be able to trace everything you have done.

-Update my resume to look more professional and accurate

-Create a Linked-in profile.  For obvious reasons.  Hopefully Brianna Inouye doesn't mind that I Google-borrowed her profile.

-Read scientific literature (journals, news, reports, etc.)- if I'm part of the scientific community, I should probably know what sort of things are going on in it.  And who knows?  I may come up with a great idea for a thesis while reading an article.  You never know.

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