58 posts tagged OCS
Writing is an essential skill. It’s something that you learn at an early age, and, to some degree, something that plays into any job. So if you want to work in a career that focuses on writing, you face a double-edged sword: there are a lot of options out there for you, but it can be hard to choose.
At OCS last week, panelists came together to discuss their various careers that incorporated their writing skills – from social media to reporting to public relations.
“My career path was almost a process of self-discovery,” said David Tannenwald, case study author for the Kennedy School while also doing outside reporting. “I used to be terrified of writing, and career choices were driven more by an interest in sports than an interest in writing. I asked myself: what do I enjoy doing even if I wasn’t forced to do it?”
Over 11% of Harvard students go into education directly after graduation. That’s a big percentage. But with so many different pathways to get to the classroom, how do they all get there?
For the first time at OCS this past Thursday, a panel of teachers came together to discuss how they began their teaching career.
There’s no “one path”
Some teachers don’t expect to go into education at all, but just find themselves drawn in by a cause.
"I did not intend to go into education when I went to school," said Molly Bryson, who now works for Teach For America. “What really started me on this path was this two-year social justice program I did, where I spent two years having amazing conversations about these critical problems in our country. That was my entry point — realizing that education was something I really cared about. And the achievement gap really felt like a crisis that I wanted to do something about.”
Always dreamed of working at Snapchat or Google? Now’s your chance! Many of your favorite tech companies will be at the SOCH (59 Shepard Street) this Friday from 3-5pm for the Big Data, Technology, & Engineering Fair. While there are 60+ organizations set to participate, here are the top ten organizations I’m looking forward to seeing!
What it is: A photo messaging application for smartphones.
Fun fact: Over 350 million photos are shared via Snapchat daily.
What it is: A website dedicated to explaining the meaning of rap lyrics.
Fun fact: Although it is one of the fastest growing websites on the internet, Rap Genius only has 6 people currently on its tech team.
Spotlight on electronic resources.
Pros: Opportunity to talk with fellow Harvard students who have volunteered to share their summer experiences with you.
Heads Up: This resource is for researching summer options and connecting with fellow students; it is not a placement tool.
Where: www.ocs.fas.harvard.edu/students/jobs_peer2peer.htm Login required.
Spotlight on electronic resources.
Pros: Career Center Library publications that cover resumes, interviews, coming out, state non-discrimination laws, and more.
Heads Up: Search the Internship and Job Board by keyword or location to reveal listings.
Where: www.ocs.fas.harvard.edu/forms/outforwork.htm Login required.
10 Tips for a Successful Professional Career
Alan Bersin, Assistant Secretary of International Affairs and Chief Diplomatic Officer for the Department of Homeland Security, visited OCS in March and April to meet with Harvard undergraduates. Alan addressed students’ questions in a casual setting, each visit punctuated by wit and wisdom:
1. Be bold and take charge of your life situation. Even if it’s a job you know nothing about in the beginning, burrow into it and learn about it. Never sell yourself short on the ground by saying that “I don’t know anything about it” or “I don’t have any experience with that.”
There’s more than “Lights! Camera! Action!” to the show business industry, and panelists at OCS last week had the chance to share their work experiences in this field.
Have you ever thought about a career in journalism but never knew whether or not it is for you? During Wintersession, a group of Harvard students had the chance to decide for themselves on a career trek to The Boston Globe.
Reblogged from the Extension Blog: “If you’re exclusively searching the Internet for that next career move, you are limiting your prospects. Networking is the #1 job search strategy. In the following video Linda Spencer, the assistant director and coordinator of career advising at Harvard Extension School, offers several networking tips to help you land your next job.”
Don’t forget that the Harvard Start-Up Career Fair, open to all Harvard University students (and alumni) is an excellent networking opportunity!
In anticipation of the Harvard Start-Up Career Fair (Friday, February 1), our student blogger has highlighted more Start-Ups to Love. See these and 85+ participating organizations at the fair! (Read the original blog here.)
What it is: A training feedback tool that helps you understand your exercise and daily life by using algorithms that measure intensity of a workout, fitness levels, and need for recovery.
Fun fact: Bobo was founded by Will Ahmed ‘12, a former varsity squash captain.
Big thanks to everyone who participated in the 2012 OCS Summer Survey!
Congrats to Sarah M. ’13, winner of the Kindle Fire HD! Even though the prize has been given away, the survey will remain open…it’s not too late to share with us what you did last summer. We’d love to hear from you!
Submit your Summer Survey response in three easy steps:
- Log into Crimson Careers.
- Click on the red “OCS Surveys” tab in the upper right.
- Select the “2012 OCS Summer Survey.”
Ever thought of going to Africa but never knew exactly where to get started? This past Thursday, undergraduates at the College sat on a panel at OCS to discuss their experiences finding and funding opportunities in Africa. The panel included students Chuma Nwachukwu ‘14, Alissa Changala ‘13, Tre Hunt ‘15, Harald Oswin ‘15, and Theresa Gebert ‘15.
While each of these students had different experiences in various African countries – ranging from working at a solar technology company to teaching with WorldTeach – each student recognized the issue of funding for a summer adventure abroad.
Chuma was a recipient of the Weissman International Internship, a grant program that selects 45 students each year to fund in their endeavors abroad. “The Weissman program created a nice sense of community for me,” Chuma said. “Their family hosts a reception with everyone once we were all accepted, and we all kept in contact over the summer and updated each other on what we were doing.”
Besides grant programs like the Weissman internship, there are several other resources to look for international funding as well. “When you’re looking for grants and funding, go in with low expectations and definitely start early,” said Harald, a native of Swaziland. There are two routes one can take when looking for international funding: applying to an internship and a grant at the same time, or to make your own summer itinerary and then apply to a program like the Weissman program once you have it all planned out. OCS suggests structured programs are better for those who are going abroad alone for the first time.
The Committee on African Studies is an important resource for students heading to Africa, as they create a Harvard network by compiling a list of Harvard students in Africa for the summer. “They were also really helpful in giving me things like safety tips and a list of required immunizations, too,” Chuma said.
Julia Eger, ’14
Last Thursday, advisers from the Institute of Politics (IOP), the Center for Public Interest Careers (CPIC), Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA), and the Office of Career Services (OCS) spoke at the Office of Career Services to give a comprehensive outline of the resources available for students looking to spend the summer engaging in public service.
A representative from the Center for Public Interest Careers discussed the funding provided to students by their office. “Most of our funding goes to students who want to pursue public service positions at non-profits,” he said. “We do also offer funding for for-profit programs: organizations that deal with things like social services and social responsibility.” Their funding breaks down into two different categories: for opportunities that CPIC identifies for you, and opportunities that you as a student identify on your own and then apply for funding through the CPIC. He encouraged interested students to explore the CPIC’s website for more details regarding the specifics.
Amy Howell, an adviser from the Institute of Politics, discussed the summer internship funding that the IOP offers for Harvard undergraduates. “IOP summer funding is not just for the students who spend all their time at the IOP,” she said. “Everyone who is interested should apply.” She spoke highly of the IOP’s Directors Internship Program for summer internships. This is a merit-based program which she described as the “most prestigious” IOP summer program opportunity: companies and organizations all over the world save spots for 100 Harvard students to intern with them each summer. These organizations range from foundations, non-profits, government offices, think tanks, and more. 20 of these positions are international, and most others are in Washington, D.C. Through a very competitive application process – only about 10% of applicants are accepted – admitted students have their summer fully funded by the IOP with a grant typically between $4,000 and $5,000. Apart from the Director’s Internships, the IOP also offers Summer Stipend Internship Placements, which is a need-based program applicable for students who know they will be doing something in public service for at least 8 weeks over the summer.
As the career adviser for OCS in public service and government, Naniette Coleman spoke to OCS’s domestic public service and matching grant program. The domestic public service program can fund both independent projects and structured programs, but Naniette hinted that students who can connect their summer plans with their ideas for a post-graduate career are more likely to get funding. She also touched on the matching grant program, which is a unique funding opportunity where OCS matches the grant amount that a student receives from the organization for which they are working. Both of these programs require that the student will be returning to Harvard the following fall and that their summer plans last a minimum of 8 weeks.
Jeff Hayes, an OCS adviser for summer grants and international programs, discussed international experience grants. After explaining that OCS generally funds Harvard programs and non-Harvard programs abroad, he highlighted an exciting opportunity that falls under this umbrella: experiential learning projects, which are programs designed by a particular student for the purpose of intellectual stimulation abroad.
Julia Eger, ’14
“People used to say ‘We don’t do marketing at Harvard – we’re just Harvard,’” said Perry Hewitt, Chief Digital Officer of the University. After coming to Harvard three years ago after President Faust expressed concern over the university’s digital media presence, the university’s online persona has been completely revolutionized. On Monday, October 15, Perry Hewitt told her story at OCS – a story not only of how she worked to portray Harvard as a leader in the digital world, but how she became a leader in the digital world after maneuvering her way through several positions in various fields.
Serving as the officer who identifies social and media syndication opportunities of Harvard content – as she put it, a “digitally-savvy ‘packaging of ideas’” – through optimization of algorithms and human networks, Perry is in charge of portraying Harvard’s image to the rest of the world. When she began working in digital media at Harvard, it was clear that Harvard “was very comfortably stuck in the 19th century” on the digital communications front. The rise of the internet and technology had posed old-school brand questions surrounding the university: how do we want people to view Harvard? The University had previously been way underexposed, relying on its name for a lot of things. “Of course, Harvard should be a leader in the digital world just as it is a leader in everything else,” Perry explained. “The online education had to be findable and accessible to others. We had to unify Harvard guidelines and standards: now, Harvard has one font, one standard.”
Although Perry laughed in saying that she now has the ability to “write her own job description,” it wasn’t always that way. She has held positions in publishing, software, startups, agencies, consulting, business project management, marketing, higher education, and more. “I was really good at school, so I thought I would be really good at everything,” she said. “I would get slammed by my boss for poor writing, and I would burst into tears as soon as I’d leave his office. But it taught me how to write.”
Through her experience in the digital world, she’s learned that language, technology, and marketing are all intertwined. “Technology and not being afraid of technology is really important,” she explained. “You just dive in first and figure it out later. With that said, traditional marketing is still really important, too.”
In her position as Chief Digital Officer now, she appreciates the alignment of her day-to-day job with the things she enjoys in the world: its ever-changing nature is invigorating, knowing that what’s true today won’t necessarily be true tomorrow. Of course, there’s also the issue of work-life balance, the fact that there’s “no retirement at 30,” and that an ever-changing platform can sometimes become exhausting. Perry has also repeatedly come up against the inconvenient truth of gender bias in the industry. “There’s an atmosphere of exclusion that women can’t keep up,” she said. “You have to learn not to be intimidated. Your professional persona is yours to build.”
As online badges become more popular in the digital world, Perry implored her audience to figure out what their own life ‘badges’ are. “What are you measuring your life in? Money? The months you have home with your kids? Your number of Facebook likes?” The first step to a successful work-life balance is defining these priorities. “Before you can wholly commit to your career, it’s important not to let the world define your badges, but for you to define them yourself.”
Julia Eger, ’14
Read more about Perry on Forbes.com
Start-ups are everywhere these days. In a place as intellectually vibrant as Harvard, sometimes it feels as though everyone is trying to create the next big thing – and maybe all it takes is a good idea at the right time. OCS recently held an event with a panel full of young entrepreneurs who offered wisdom and encouragement to those interested in starting their own company in any field.
Thinking of becoming an entrepreneur?
First, you need a passion.
“Don’t do the things you “think” you should be doing,” advised panelist Hugo Van Vuuren, co-founder at The Experimental Fund, “because you might be missing out on the things you really love doing.”
Panelist Stephanie Kaplan ’10, co-founder of HerCampus magazine, echoed this sentiment. “Do something you’re that you’re excited about – not just something that seems like it could have potential, even if you’re not necessarily interested in it.”
Next, entrepreneurship requires flexibility.
Don’t expect is a smooth, clear professional trajectory.
“I had a sort of ADHD career with a lot of random pursuits,” Van Vuuren said, “and a lot of the time it was hard.” However, something that helped Hugo map out his path and found his company was a series of mentors. “Most people underestimate the value of mentors early in life,” he explained. “But you should really work closely with them and learn from them.”
Flexibility in the office is a requirement, too: Your daily duties can change at any time depending on where the company goes. “You get to wear a lot of different hats and do a lot of different things, which is actually nice,” Kathryn Kosuda, co-founder of Vaxess Technology, explained. “But you have to be someone who is willing to work hard and to work in uncertain environments.” Kaplan reinforced this idea. “You have to be flexible in what you’re doing,” she said. “You can’t just say I’m an “x” kind of person, so I have to do this. Things aren’t always going to go as planned, and you have to adapt and figure it out.”
How do you get started? Kosuda emphasized the importance of knowing what’s going on around you. “Keep your eyes open for all kinds of opportunities,” she encouraged. “If there’s a particular project that you’re passionate about, contact the company, even just to volunteer your time to get involved. Go to the i-lab programs. Get your foot in the door and meet people.”
Finally, "never forget the importance of networking," advised Christine Rizk, co-founder of the Fashion Project. “If you’re starting your own project or your own company, you should first start talking to people and collaborating with them. Get feedback. There are a lot of people in the Boston area who are into entrepreneurship and start-ups. Your job is to go out and find them.”
Julia Eger, ’14