Hi everyone! As the end of March approaches everyone is looking forward to the summer and the end of midterms/finals. I remember two years ago being a freshman and stressing out over what I was going to do over the summer. The big question thrown out there during this time of the year is “where are you working this summer?” It is funny to me that this question is ingrained in our minds the minute we step onto campus at SC and that you NEED work experience in undergrad or else you will be homeless for the rest of your life. This is completely false, as a freshman however you don’t know this and I wish I did. It is important to have work experience, yes, but in all honestly you are probably not going to get that dream Medtronic internship as an 18 year old freshman. The important thing to do is to keep busy over the summers. There are so many opportunities on campus for research or summer jobs that staying at SC is a great option for lower classmen over the summer. During the summer after my freshman year I stayed on campus and worked in my research lab where I was able to commit most of my time to research unlike during the semester where classes and other extracurriculars take up more time. It was also an awesome time to explore LA and find cool new spots I would have otherwise not knew existed like my favorite coffee shop downtown! USC also offers research grants for students staying over the summer as well as during the semester.
Here at USC there are a ton of other opportunities to explore various areas of engineering over the summer and I find it helpful to check out the Viterbi site for different programs currently recruiting students.
Going abroad is also a cool option during summers for Viterbi students. A ton of my friends went abroad with the Viterbi Overseas program where students go to abroad for the summer and take a few classes taught by Viterbi faculty. A fellow VSA Alex went abroad with the Viterbi Overseas program to London two summers ago and made this awesome video documenting his trip!
Of course another great option for the summers is an internship. A great way to land that summer job is through the career fairs at Viterbi (one in the spring and one in the fall). Personally my first summer work experience was after my sophomore year were I worked as a manufacturing engineering co-op for St. Jude Medical, a medical device company where I worked in their cardiac rhythm management division. I landed this job after my counselor at SC emailed out that they were hiring for the summer and to send resumes to an engineer at SJM.
This summer I am working for Abbott, also a biotech company and I got that internship after speaking with a representative from Abbott at the fall Viterbi Career Fair and VINE, which is the Viterbi Industry Networking Event. VINE is an event the day before the fall career fair offered to juniors and seniors to speak personally with recruiters in a semi-formal setting.
A great source of information on the career opportunities at SC is this podcast with Career Connections at USC!