Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Farewell from the Career Services Student Worker

My name is Amanda Kitanga, and today is my last day as the student worker for the Office of Career Services. Over the past year and half, I have had the opportunity to work for Career Services, meaning I have worked nearly every day with Jessica, Emmy, and Shannon. Not only has my time with Career Services been well spent, but so has my time here at GSPIA.Working for Career Services has given me some insight on nearly all things career related. So here are some words of wisdom, advice, and whatever else you'd like to call it.

Tip#1: Get to know Jessica, Shannon, and Emmy. And I mean really get to know them. Ask questions in the professional development course. Stop by their office to say hi. Set up appointments on Connections to talk about your internship search, resume, cover letter, job search, or etc. Once they know you, they'll send you internship or job postings they come across or they can connect you with alums & people in the field. I can not tell you the number of times Emmy and Shannon help students out. They do it all day, every day. They are here to help, but can only help you so much if they do not know you.

Tip#2: Follow Career Services on social media. Career Services has a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest accounts. Every week, Career Services will post jobs, internships, and information on events. It's one of the best ways to stay connected and up to date with all things Career Services.

Tip#3: Apply to internships and jobs often AND early. While you may know or hear about people who only applied to a few internships or jobs and then landed their dream internship/job, trust me when I say that is rare. Personally, I applied to over 25 internships before I started getting positive feedback. It can take months for you to hear back from the government, for example. Sometimes you here nothing at all. Disappointing, I know. But that's why you keep applying.

Tip#4: Keep track of everywhere you apply. Create a word document or excel file. Include the name of the position, the company/organization's name, what you submitted to the organization and when you submitted. Keeping detailed notes of your applications will help you keep track of your job/internship search. It'll come in handy when you contacted about interviewing.

Tip#5: Get involved. Participate in anything and everything that leads to professional development. Join a student organization, volunteer, get involved with one of the Centers, or do multiple internships. The last thing you want to do is to come to graduate school and not grow professionally. The last thing you want is to enter the job market and not look like a competitive candidate because you only went to class.

Tip#6: Take risks.This tip is on the same lines as get involved. Take courses that are difficult, learn skills, participate in the DC Semester, study abroad, or take an internship in a developing country. Take risks that will help you grow as a person and professionally.

In my two years at GSPIA, I have tried to follow all of these tips. It is not always easy, but it has been worth it. I have viewed my graduate school experience as a way to grow as a person, and most importantly grow professionally. The Office of Career Services - Jessica, Emmy, and Shannon - want to help you with your career. Your professional development is dependent on you.

How GSPIAns are Spending Their Summer

For all Master's students, completing an internship is a requirement for graduation. The requirements state that you must complete 300 hours at an approved internship site. Prior to the start of your internship, you must:
  • Successfully complete one academic term (12 credits)
  • Register for PIA 2098
  • Complete your internship paperwork (available on Connections)
  • International Students: Notify the Office of International Services of your internship plans
  • If traveling outside of the US: obtain a signature from the Study Abroad Office
 While finding and completing an internship may seem like a daunting task, our students successfully complete internships every term. In the spring and summer of 2013, we have 121 students who have completed an internship or are currently interning. Our students intern in Pittsburgh, Washington, DC, in other cities in the US, and throughout the world.

We also have students interning in a variety of sectors including NGOs/Nonprofit, private, public, and academic sectors.

Finally, some of our students receive compensation for their internships. While many students decide to take unpaid internships, GSPIA and the University of Pittsburgh does offer funding for internships. These opportunities include GSPIA's Professional Development Fund (PDF) and the University of Pittsburgh's Nationality Room Scholarships.

A list of the internship sites is included below. Many of students would be happy to talk with incoming students and their fellow classmates about their internship experience. If you would like to contact a student about their internship, please email Emmy (egrif@pitt.edu) or Shannon (sbb26@pitt.edu) to get in touch with current students. Completing an internship is an excellent opportunity for professional growth and to gain experience.

2013 Spring & Summer Internship Site by Major/Degree Program

Master of International Development
Development Planning and Environmental Sustainability (DPES)
East End Assembly of God/David A. York, Esquire
La Escuelita Arco Iris
Community Human Services Corporation
Forbes Funds, The
Haitian Families First
Middle East Institute (MEI)
Peace Corps
United Nations Division for Sustainable Development
University of Pittsburgh - Center for Metropolitan Studies
University of Pittsburgh - CONNECT

Human Security (HSEC)
American Red Cross Southwestern Pennsylvania
Amizade, Ltd
Bright Kids Uganda
Crowder Publications

Nongovernmental Organizations and Civil Society (NGOCS)
Vikalp Sansthan
Community Justice Project
Food and Security Partnership
Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS)
Brother's Brother Foundation (BBF)
Global Links
Jewish Family & Children's Service
Transparency International
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
University of Pittsburgh-Center for Latin American Studies
World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh

Master of Public and International Affairs
Global Political Economy (GPE)/ International Political Economy (IPE)
Jones Day
US Campaign to end the Israeli occupation
Citibank (China) Co.,Ltd.Shenzhen Branch
Fushun Municipal Development and Reform Commission
DB Schenker
Brother's Brother Foundation (BBF)
Crowder Publications
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Mayor's Office- City of Pittsburgh
Organization of American States (OAS)
Three Rivers Community Foundation
U.S. Commercial Service Pittsburgh
U.S. Department of State
University Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR)
University of Pittsburgh - Ridgway Center for International Security Studies
Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA)
Vibrant Pittsburgh

Human Security (HSEC)
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Daya Center for Peace
West African Network for Peacebuilding
One Planet Corporation
Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS)
Crowder Publications
Fourth Economy Consulting
Global Solutions Education Fund Pittsburgh
Horty, Springer, & Mattern
Jewish Family & Children's Service
Organization of American States (OAS)
Potomac Institute For Policy Studies
United Nations (UN)

Security and Intelligence Studies (SIST)
Armada Global, Inc.
Beaver County Emergency Services
Crowder Publications
Duane Morris Government Strategies
Empire Investigations
Global Solutions Education Fund Pittsburgh
National Cyber-Forensics & Training Alliance
Pittsburgh Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security
University of Pittsburgh - Ridgway Center for International Security Studies
US Army War College
US House of Representatives
US Senator Bob Casey

Master of Public Administration
Urban and Regional Affairs (URA)
Center for Disaster Management
Chongqing Hualun Real Estate Development Co, Ltd.
Schlumberger Zhongyu Shale Gas Technical Services (Chongqing) Co. LTD
Thomas Merton Center

Public and Nonprofit Management (PNM)
McKees Rocks Borough
Borough of Bellevue
Borough of East McKeesport
Tianjin Municipal Education Commission
Butler Township
Universidad Mariano Galvez
Americans for the Arts
Shenhua Group Foundation
dayuan Wang
American Red Cross Southwestern Pennsylvania
City of Pittsburgh - Department of City Planning
Foundation Center
Global Solutions Education Fund Pittsburgh
National Labor Committee
Oakland Planning & Development Corporation (OPDC)
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
University of Pittsburgh - Ford Institute for Human Security
Vibrant Pittsburgh
Workforce Development Global Alliance

Policy Research and Analysis (PRA)
Center for Metropolitan Studies
Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS)
Ansaldo STS
Global Pittsburgh
National Human Services Assembly
University of Pittsburgh-Center for Metropolitan Studies
University of Pittsburgh- CONNECT
Vibrant Pittsburgh

Doctor of Philosophy
French Institute for Central Asian Studies (IFEAC)
University of the Witwatersrand

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Internship Blogs - Justin Moore, Post #1


As a warning to most, this will probably turn into another stereotypical I-love-to-travel-and-post-my-pictures blog.  I admit, however, that I’m going to try and make it something more than that.
In short:  my name is Justin Moore.  I grew up in small town Pennsylvania, graduated from West Virginia University in political science and international studies, and now I am a graduate student studying international affairs at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.  My personal and academic passion revolves around natural resource policy, energy security, the environment, and foreign affairs.  I also love traveling, and have been fortunate enough to travel and study in places like Japan, South Korea, China and Southeast Asia. Like I said, this will probably come across like a travel blog, but I’m trying to expand on that.

As a graduate student, you quickly realize that graduate study is no joke.  In fact, I’ve never come so close to a total mental break down, particularly thanks to quantitative methods research.  I’m also a nail biter when stressed, so they’ve been taking quite a hit over the past year as a first year graduate student.  However, it is also immensely rewarding, and I’ll be experiencing some wonderful opportunities in the next year thanks to graduate study at the University of Pittsburgh.  Basically, this blog is to chronicle those experience.  The good, the bad, the stressful, the fun, the domestic, and the international.

This summer, I will be interning with the United States Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C., and I am really excited for the move.  Obviously as a student of international affairs who wants to work in international environmental affairs, being in Washington, D.C. at the EPA is a dream come true.  On top of the internship, I’ll have two summer classes, all while attempting to study for a GRE retake (in the case that I’m a glutton for punishment and may perhaps want to pursue a PhD after my Masters) and learning Korean.  At the end of the summer, I’ll be traveling to Japan for two weeks as a Japan Travel for U.S. Future Leaders Fellow.  This will have me interviewing and meeting with Japanese government and industry leaders in the field of energy security.  Immediately after that, I’ll be spending a semester abroad at Seoul National University in Seoul, South Korea.  All in all, once this summer fully starts at the end of May, I’ll be moving around, meeting new people, and experiencing new places all the way to 2014!

Hopefully this blog will give you a good taste of what graduate study in international affairs is all about because, as stressful as it may become, it is definitely one interesting and unique experience.

Internship Blogs - Kimberly Bennett, Post #1

Getting to maybe


First thing you should know about me is that my blog is appropriately named. But I didn’t start this blog to tell you about why my life is in a constant state of chaos, but rather, to tell you about my academic and professional career path because I might be able to provide you a guide for what to (or not) do.

First things first. I am a joint-degree student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA). Why? Because I want to help people, and lawyers have a very special skill set. Why GSPIA? Because I wanted to surround myself with the “feel-good” types that go there, while simultaneously obtaining another professional degree. Ok, now you are caught up.

What I am about to say is going to sound like I am bragging, but I am not (ok, maybe a little bit!). Last year, I paid about half tuition. This year, I did not pay any tuition. Next year, I will not pay any tuition and will receive an $18,000 living stipend. With a little bit of luck and hard work, I hope that I will not pay tuition during my last year of school, either. Last year, I traveled to Nicaragua to work for a non-profit, all expenses paid, including the cost of living. This year, I am working at my dream job, a non-profit legal aid clinic. And I’m getting paid. And this brings me to the point of this blog.
I was not simply handed all of the amazing opportunities listed above. I have been working my ass off (see: constant state of chaos). I am not a straight A student–not even close. Law students never talk about their grades, but I will when the situation is appropriate. I’ll tell you that I did not do very well my first year, and I almost quit because they scare you into thinking you can’t ever get a job if you are not in the top 10% of the class. Well, fine. I’ll bust my ass working and see what that gets me.
How did I get all these amazing opportunities when my grades were not great?

Rule 1: Apply to every single, and I mean EVERY SINGLE, scholarship/grant/fellowship opportunity your career services office sends you. Of course, make sure you qualify first. But then, go! Do it! Don’t sit around thinking you probably won’t get it. Everyone else is thinking that, too, you know.

Rule 2: You don’t always have to listen to what your career services office says. I know, I know, that sounds ridiculous after Rule 1, but sometimes it is appropriate not to listen. At Pitt Law, they really want graduates to work at big firms. They want graduates to hold a legal career after graduation. Well, I don’t know that I necessarily want either of those things. So, I get help from them when it’s appropriate and ignore them when it’s not.

Rule 3: Network. You know this one already. I don’t care. Really actually network. And I don’t mean just “meet” people. I mean really get to know them. Currently, I work at Community Justice Project, Joe Mama’s, the Center for Latin American Studies, JURIST.org, I tutor Spanish, I work on the Pitt Policy Journal, and I am a regular contributor to the Ridgeway Center Regional Watchlists. Some of my jobs are for money. Over half of them are not. This is because when you work hard, your hard work will get noticed. You will build relationships with your employers that will last longer than the job. I have been at Joe Mama’s, first as a waitress and now as a manager, for nearly seven years. And do you know what I realized today? My time at Joe Mama’s helped me get my first non-profit job in Pittsburgh because a fellow server knew someone there. AND that job helped me get my current job at Community Justice Project. I know–mind blown.

Rule 4: Actually do something you think you’ll like because if you are busting your ass this hard for something you hate…well, you’re going to hate your life and yourself. Out of all the jobs that I listed above, only two of them are “necessary” for me. But I enjoy each and every one of them. So, I continue to be busy because, despite the fact that I often have too much going on at one time, I enjoy what I do.

Rule 5: This is sort of along the same lines as Rule 4. Let yourself have some fun. Find that balance between work and relaxation. I know it sounds like I could not possibly have time to relax, but somehow I manage it. It might only be an hour at the end of the night, but I own that hour. Push yourself to your limit and then stop. But if you take that indulgence, you really have to earn it.

Rule 6: This one should go without saying, but I don’t think it does. Whatever you do, whatever career you end up pursuing, however successful you become, etc etc, please do not be a jerk. This is along the same lines as Rule 3. Sure, yes, sometimes jerks never get their comeuppance. But I like to believe in a little thing called karma. Be nice, be kind, be generous, be thoughtful, and I guarantee that somewhere along the way, you will be rewarded for it. It’s a tough world out there for us soon-to-be or already grads. But we don’t gain anything by hurting our peers in the process of trying to get ahead.

Well, this was my introduction post to my blog. I will try to update it weekly or at least every other week. Next, I will tell you a little bit about my internship and the process I went through to secure it, including how an application should look, what you should say in a cover letter, etc. I am not an expert by any means, but I have learned some tips from other professionals along the way that have helped me immensely. And I know not everyone has the good fortune of coming across a good mentor.

And with that, I am off to enjoy a cocktail to end this very busy day. Thanks for reading!