Launching to Careers and Graduate Schools

Spotlight on Stevens Seniors

5/3/2012

Approaching the 2012 Commencement ceremonies in May, the Stevens community is once again inspired by another class of amazing graduates.

As we celebrate their accomplishments, it's clear how employers value the quality and reputation of a Stevens education. Members of the Class of 2012 have accepted offers from well-known companies such as Deloitte, DuPont, Goldman Sachs, Honeywell, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase, UBS, and United Technologies.

And Stevens graduates who applied to medical, dental and other graduate schools have been accepted to competitive programs at Yale University, Tufts University, Boston University, Vanderbilt University, University of California - Irvine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, University of Texas, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New York University Dental School, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, and Carnegie Mellon University, to name a few.

While we would be delighted to highlight the accomplishments of each and every graduate, meet graduating seniors Zixuan (Shin) Liu, Jenna Blondina, Jamie Brabston, and Julia Cederroth. Their stories represent the overall success enjoyed by this year's graduating class.

Senior computer engineering major Zixuan (Shin) Liu, who also earned a master's degree in applied mathematics, has been accepted to Yale University School of Management as a Silver Scholar. Only a handful of college seniors (5-10 of over 500 applicants) are selected to this prestigeous three-year MBA program each year.

Acceptance into competitive MBA programs usually requires years of work experience out of college. Yale's Silver Scholars are exceptional. As a scholar, Shin enters the program immediately after his undergraduate education, with the advantage of moving more quickly toward his career goals.

Shin will spend his first year at Yale developing "the basic skills and mindset of a manager" and, during the second year, he'll serve a full-time internship to develop leadership skills and put his business education into practice. He will return to Yale for year three and the conclusion of the MBA program.

In addition to an excellent academic record and heavy involvement in student activities and leadership, Shin points to the two internships he had at Goldman Sachs, obtained through the Stevens internship program, as distinguishing qualities in his application to the program.

"Stevens prepares us as professionals while we're here as undergraduates," Shin said. "And what's equally attractive is that mutual respect drives the campus community. This is important in the business world, and it makes Stevens students special among others going for top jobs and professional programs."

An avid New York Giants fan and a student heavily involved in student life - from performing arts to honor societies to the Ethnic Student Council - Shin's personable and compassionate nature shines as bright as his academic success, if you can get him to accept the word "success" as a way to describe his accomplishments.

"I'm successful?" he asked. "Well, I think I'm more comfortable saying that I have potential. I'm leveraging my Stevens education and will continue to do the same at Yale. I'm definitely on the right track."

As an international student, originally from Shen Zhen, China, and remembering fondly how important his new Stevens friends were to his transition to Stevens, Shin has heartfelt advice for incoming students, especially those entering Stevens from around the globe. "Be prepared to seize all the opportunities you have here at Stevens," he said. "And remember that it's not all about being serious. This should be the best four to five years of your life, so make sure you enjoy it. Make your degree more meaningful by making friendships that will last for a lifetime. You can definitely do that at Stevens."

While he is definitely due for rest and relaxation, Shin will spend part of the summer before entering Yale at the London School of Economics taking a class on negotiations.

For Jenna Blondina, Stevens Institute of Technology is a family affair, though it took her a while to warm up to the idea. Jenna’s father graduated from Stevens in 1973 and never tired of telling his daughter what a great experience he had and encouraging her to follow his path. His stories ranged from exciting visits to nearby New York City to living on the infamous ship-turned-dorm, docked in the Hudson River. He was so adamant about Jenna coming to Stevens, that like most teenage girls, she wanted to do the exact opposite.

After a visit to campus though, Jenna couldn’t deny it – she too loved Stevens. Asserting her independence, she applied secretly, and completely avoided the idea of being an engineer. Online research had turned her on to the Business & Technology program, and she was very interested in the opportunities that might be in store for her. Once she was accepted, she knew Stevens was where she was meant to be.

“The entire community has impressed me since day one,” Jenna says. “Walking around Hoboken, you see people wearing Stevens gear, saying 'Hi', stopping to chat. It really is the people who make the school what it is.”
It’s also the people, she says, who helped her get to where she is today. Jenna credits the small class size and personal attention from the professors with helping her land a job after graduation with JP Morgan Chase.
“The professors have such great experience and expertise. It’s so much more than academics, they also really know business,” she states. “Between the faculty and the Office of Career Development, I was well-prepared for my job search.”

Through on-campus interviews set up by Career Development, Jenna held several internships during her time at Stevens, including a summer at Selective Insurance, and then two summers at JP Morgan Chase. As she finished up her third internship, she was offered a full-time job which she readily accepted.

Set to begin at the end of July, Jenna will be a Technology Business Analyst in the NYC area. She will receive her specific assignment when she officially joins the company. Jenna says she has loved everything about JP Morgan Chase during her internships and hopes to stay in that industry throughout her career, perhaps pursuing an MBA in a few years.

When Jamie Brabston reflects on her decision more than five years ago to attend Stevens, she knows her instincts were right. Drawn by the proximity of campus to New York City, Jamie knew she wanted practical work experience in tandem with her education. Unparalleled access to real-life experience through the Cooperative Education program combined with her dual degrees in Computer Science – Jamie will graduate in May with both her BS and MS – have landed her an enviable position at Barclay’s Capital.

Originally planning to be a Computer Engineering major, Jamie soon realized that the Computer Science program was more suited to her desire to learn both software and programming. Additionally, she didn’t think she’d participate in athletics, but after encouragement about joining the Track program, Jamie embraced the opportunity. The overall support she felt early on from the Stevens community all helped solidify her decision that she was in the right place.

“Also, you can’t beat the view from campus, especially the Babbio Center,” Jamie says. “When you need a break from studying, there is nothing better than the breathtaking view of the Hudson River and New York City right in front of you.”

Jamie’s first Co-op experience was at ADP the summer after her freshman year. She describes her work in software testing and quality assurance as a foundation for basic experience in her field. She spent the spring of her sophomore year at Hess, where she was tasked with “a lot of programming.” The experience she gained there proved invaluable for her, since she was working with platforms that were completely new to her. Her final Co-op assignment found her at Silver Point, a small company based in Hoboken.

It was clearly a mutually beneficial relationship, as Silver Point did offer Jamie a full-time position for after graduation. However, she’d already accepted the offer from Barclay’s Capital at that point, where she will begin this summer as a Technology Analyst.

Her role is part of an 18-month rotational program and she will have two different placements during that time. While the placements haven’t been assigned yet, Jamie has expressed an interest in the software development track. She’s also hoping to get into project management at Barclay’s, having taken some project management classes at Stevens this year and earning a graduate certificate in the discipline.

“I could talk on and on about my amazing Co-op experiences and how much they’ve helped me grow. They really were how I got this incredible job opportunity,” Jamie asserts. “Being a part of Epsilon Pi Epsilon taught me communication skills, because I had to give presentations and was forced to publicly speak. The Track team taught me leadership skills, when I had to provide guidance and teach others. All I’ve done at Stevens has made me so well-rounded – I’ve gained not just technical skills but soft skills as well, which is critical for a Computer Science student.”

When Julia Cederroth graduates from Stevens, she will leave behind great memories and experiences, but Julia also leaves behind her place in Stevens history, which she secured in her junior year when she became only the second Duck to qualify for the equestrian national competition.

“Being Captain of the Equestrian team, in addition to serving as VP of my sorority, Phi Sigma Sigma, were a huge part of my Stevens experience,” Julia explains. “Being elected into these two positions was such an honor and gave me invaluable insight into leadership. My sophomore year, I joined the sorority and decided to get involved with everything Stevens had to offer. It changed my life. I’ve met amazing people and become more outgoing. The Stevens community truly helped me come out of my shell.”

These experiences, combined with her Business & Technology studies – which she was drawn to initially for its innovative, hybrid appeal – helped her get to the next step. After graduation, Julia will join UBS as an Analyst in their business graduate program. Set to begin in mid-August, Julia’s official title is an Enterprise Production Assurance Analyst, which she describes as the bridge between technical programmers and those on the financial/business side.
Julia is very enthusiastic about the Office of Career Development and its role in getting her to UBS as well. She encourages all students to take advantage of what the office has to offer, crediting their help as invaluable.
“The Office of Career Development has helped me exponentially,” she states. “Not only does the staff provide moral support, but the technical assistance they give is great. From mock interviews to resume help to providing forums for learning and networking, I wouldn’t be where I am without them.”

Julia also cites Dr. George Calhoun’s projects and her corporate financial studies as defining experiences that proved to her she was on the right path. The projects, though challenging at times, built her confidence and helped her with interviewing skills. She learned she really enjoyed finance, making her even more excited to join UBS and work in the industry.

The Stevens community is proud of the achievements of the entire Class of 2012. Their success serves as an inspiration to us all.