Meet Wake Forest seniors Kyle Pinheiro and Nick Ladd. Both students attended last year’s inaugural STEM Slam, a networking and career exploration event for students interested in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and healthcare. We asked Kyle and Nick to reflect on their experiences and share some insights for students wanting to know more about the event.
STEM Slam will take place Wednesday, Feb. 3 at 6pm – 8pm in Farrell Hall – Broyhill Auditorium. Students can register to attend via Handshake.
What advice/tips do have for students attending STEM Slam year?
NICK: It is always a good idea to research the companies beforehand to get a good idea of what interests you and what does not. This way you can prioritize who you want to talk to during the breakout sessions. It will also allow you to come prepared with specific questions that you may have about certain companies.
NICK: Listen to all the speakers, even if you are not interested in their company, because they will provide strong advice or lessons that you may not have heard of before that you can apply to your personal career aspirations.
KYLE: I think doing a little research and asking questions goes a long way. If students show up knowing who they want to talk to and a little bit about those companies, it’s a lot easier to connect to the company representatives, and it allows them to learn more.
What do you wish you knew before attending the event last year?
KYLE: The company representatives are there because they want to talk to us, Wake Forest students. They think Wake students make great employees. Realizing that I didn’t have to convince them I was worth talking to would have eased my nerves going in.
What would you like to confess about attending the STEM Slam?
NICK: I was amazed that I had never heard of the alumni who gave the keynote speech – Joseph Sciarrino. He was working at a very interesting company in Silicon Valley, and he had many pieces of good advice to give.
KYLE: I didn’t know going in exactly what to expect, and was definitely a little nervous. Fortunately, actually participating in the event was a confidence-giving experience. Spending time with professionals from various STEM areas and talking with them about the potential jobs/internships and careers open to us was really powerful because it created a realization for me of what paths my education was preparing me for.
KYLE: I would have paid a little more attention to how much time there was in the event. I found it was easy to reach the end of a round and realize I hadn’t spoken to one of the companies that I was interested in.
Did you consider the event a success for you? Why or why not?
NICK: I do consider the event a success for me because I was able to reach out to the keynote speaker afterwards to have a one-on-one chat about his career path to Silicon Valley from Wake Forest. He gave a lot of good points as well as advice for reaching out to companies in the technology world.
KYLE: I certainly consider the event a success for me. I was able to connect with a representative from the company I interned for last summer and which I am joining full-time after graduation this summer. Furthermore, I got a sense of some of the tech careers that are out there, and what some of the companies around Winston-Salem and North Carolina are trying to accomplish.