Thursday, March 31, 2011

Student and Alumni Career Symposium

Empowering and Connecting a World of Canes
Thursday, April 7th
8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Newman Alumni Center

One of Toppel’s newest and most exciting events is happening on April 7!!! Everyone in the office is really excited and we can’t wait to meet all the great people participating. Things are almost ready, we have a keynote speaker, Ms. Katrina Campins, Founder of The Campins Company, UM Alumna, and contestant on the first season of the Apprentice, at 9:30am and some refreshments to start the day.

After that you can choose one of three seminars: 1. Entrepreneurship is a Career Choice, 2. Ethics and Leadership in an Evolving Global Economy, and 3. Communication Trends in the 21st Century, followed by a free networking lunch.

A second seminar will begin at 1:15pm with three other interesting choices: 1. Modern Healthcare and Implications for the Future, 2.Leveraging Social Media, and 3. Five-Star Service: Hospitality in a Competitive Market.
To finish the symposium there will be a closing session and a reception sponsored by Prudential Financial where students can network with other students, alumni and the panelists.

All the students who attend will receive free business cards and alumni get a special gift. After working at the career center for almost three years this is one of the programs that I find most creative and appealing, because it includes almost every major and interest out there, and the panelists are just amazing.

Some of the panelists include:
• Eliott Rodriguez (CBS4 News Anchor and Emmy & E. Murrow Award Winner)
• Jose Suarez (Executive Producer NBC Miami)
• Luis Hernandez (Founder/President LINQ Financial)
• Lisa Cole, Director of Corporate Communications, Hilton Corporation
• Dr. Steve Ullmann (Professor & Director Programs in Health Sector Management and Policy)
• Michelle Villalobos, President, Mivista Consulting, Inc.
• Marc Lawrence (Owner/President Anglers Boutique Resort)

You can register at: or click here

Hope to see you there!
Daniela Martinez

Monday, March 28, 2011

Advertising Yourself Like a Mad Man

Written By Monica Page

“Never judge a book by its cover.” That’s a lie. The average person forms an opinion upon first impressions before the other person even opens their mouth. We judge people by their attire, their hair and the general way they carry themselves. It can be a bad way to form opinions, but at the end of the day if someone comes in looking disheveled, you will most likely hold this opinion for quite a while. When going in for an interview or even just presenting yourself to someone for the first time, there are more important factors than the words that come out of your mouth. Using the framework of Mad Men, adopting a ‘60s or more classic style to your demeanor can make you look more professional and memorable outside of your mental script.

Dress yourself like a Pete.

Whether you are going to an interview, a networking function, or just generally introducing yourself to another person, the way you dress is the first on the “non-vocal” checklist of importance. It’s a no brainer that professional dress is the international standard when it comes to what to wear, but it is not just black suits and ties. In a show that takes place in an advertising agency, Pete Campbell is the Account Executive that stands out. It's not because he says some of the stupidest lines on the show, nor because he is consistently on the verge of being fired. It is because he is the only character in the office to wear a blue suit. In an endless sea of black suits, Pete stands out in scenes without being a main character. Going for a color that is not the traditional black can make you stand out while still being professional. For men, wearing a suit that is a little lighter than black (light grey, blue or slate) can be paired with a white shirt to look better than the average office uniform. For ladies, being creative is easier with the ability to match blouses that feature color, but still maintain the professional standard.

Carry yourself like a Joan.

Just because you may not be the CEO or department executive, does not mean you need to act like a scared lamb whenever you come in contact with the executive team. Joan Harris plays the office manager, keeping the entire agency running. She does not overstep her superiors, but when it comes to handling things in her own department, she is the one everyone goes to. Being a Joan means being confident enough in your abilities without overstepping your place. Don’t slouch your back or look continuously at the floor. Walk with confidence and command an area where you are the leader. Even if you are just interviewing for a position, getting to the interview stage means the company has taken a liking to you. Go into the interview with confidence that you are the best person for this position. Even before you open your mouth, just have the nonverbal command of confidence and intelligence. If someone looks like they know what they are doing and what they are talking about, it is easier to believe they may actually have the skills to accomplish them.

Present yourself like a Peggy.

Even with confidence, you don’t want to overstate your position or act as if you already have the job. You are in your current position for a reason and although you may have dreams of advancement and moving up in the world, you aren’t there yet. Peggy Olson is the current second in command of the creative side of the Sterling Cooper Draper Price advertising agency. In the series premier, Peggy was the new secretary. By season three she had risen in the ranks step by step. To put it lightly, a Peggy is someone who knows when to talk and when to be quiet. Every time someone looks at you does not mean, “talk to me.” Interject when your opinion is warranted and self edit yourself if the situation becomes sticky. If someone is speaking to you, don’t twiddle your thumbs or make shadow puppets in the dark. Stay alert when you are needed, do the appropriate action of the moment, then shut up.

Visually connect yourself like a Roger.

The single most annoying people in the world are those who look at the floor or walls when people are talking to them. Eye contact shows that you are interested and that you are taking in all the information. The idea isn’t to stare holes into the person’s soul, but to convey enough attention to show that you aren’t just waiting for your turn to speak. Roger Sterling is the head of accounts at Sterling Cooper Draper Price and is most known for going out to client meetings, wining and dining human paychecks. Even if you have nothing to say, looking at the person who is speaking is important and can make or break a conversation. If you want to know the easiest sign that you are on someone’s anger list, just wait for the phrase “are you even listening to me?” Staring into someone’s eyes so long that it looks as if you are trying to command their soul from two feet away will freak people out. Looking at the floor and the birds flying outside will make it seem as if you are disinterested. If you are speaking one-on-one with someone stagger your eye contact moments, looking long enough to show you are paying attention, then direct your focus somewhere else for a split second. If you are in a group, make sure you give eye contact to everyone, giving attention to various people.

Vocalize yourself like a Don.

It may kill your self-confidence, but some people have annoying voices and you may be one of them. Some people have high pitched voices, some people stutter, others have voices so deep it sounds like a car engine, while others can’t speak straight to get their point across. The goal isn’t to change your voice, but to work with what you have in the best way to convey your point. Don Draper, the main character of Mad Men, is known for his booming voice and taking command of a room. He speaks artfully and articulates his points in a way that people will remember him. If you can’t control your voice or the way you speak, you add an entirely new roadblock to making a good impression. You can be reciting Shakespeare, but if your voice is equivalent to a wild banshee, people will hear you speak, but not know what you are saying. You don’t want to create some alter ego to present to people in public, rather just work on your entire self-presentation. Read something and take a good listen to how you articulate words, where your intonations are, which words just don’t come out right. Work with what you have and improve step-by-step, not just for when you are in professional settings, but also for life in general.

With e-mails, resumes, cover letters and other forms of non-direct interaction, you have the potential to set-up a sort of wall between yourself and the person you are speaking with. Even if you are not in the field of business, you can’t hide behind paper forever, and you will eventually need to meet people in person. Think of just walking around, not even in a professional setting, taking in the world around you. “That guy’s clothes don’t match,” “that girl slouches,” and “that guy’s voice is horrible.” We make assumptions about various people without knowing their skills or qualifications. No matter how qualified you may be for a position, if you can’t handle basic human interaction, your quest for professional advancement will be difficult. You don’t need to become a Don Draper to be successful; just be the best you can be on the surface when the resume and education aren’t taken into account.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Toppel Events for the Remainder of the Semester

Financing your Study Abroad

Applying to the Gilman Scholarship: My journey towards Studying Abroad
By: Priyanka Surio

Namaste means Welcome in Hindi. It can also refer to the beginning of my journey as a Gilman Scholar applicant for studying abroad pursuits.

I am currently a junior pre-med student majoring in Biology with minors in Political Science, Chemistry, and Spanish. Up until this summer, studying abroad seemed like an urban legend to me because I simply did not see the availability to pursue it being a pre-med student with such rigorous and inflexible science coursework built into my four years of undergraduate study. But then the unthinkable happened; I met with my advisor and we discussed that I only had one class left to take for my pre-medical and Biology major requirements. This summer seemed perfect to go study abroad; not only would I be allowed the opportunity to explore my heritage but I would also be taking classes relevant to my minor and cultural understanding. I would be enrolled in two courses with the option of interning or volunteering in the community.

There are several courses offered through the program I am applying for that deal with contemporary and Indian society as well as political thought. Another course offered is beginning Hindi, and being half-Indian, I feel that it would be a great opportunity for me to learn my father’s language.

Only one additional obstacle still pervades in this paradise of a plan; finances. Upon meeting with the Study Abroad office I discovered the plethora of scholarship opportunities available especially for minorities with financial need. The Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship especially caught my attention because it offered scholarships not only during regular semesters, but for summer programs as well. The Gilman also targeted non-traditional study abroad majors who were wishing to travel to non-traditional places, and as an added bonus even offered extra critical language need scholarships for those studying critical need languages such as Hindi.

I had all the resources in hand like a box of nails and all I needed to do was hammer them in place to create the object of my pursuit. I had to meet with several offices on campus that helped make this happen; including the Biology Department, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Toppel Career Center, the Study Abroad Office, and the Financial Aid Office. I had to keep regular contact with both the Gilman staff and my program of interest staff, which was helpful whenever I had concerns or questions.

The Toppel Career Center specifically helped me with organizing my resume to the experiences that would market me best, along with providing valuable feedback on my statement of purpose for the Gilman and study abroad program of interest. I have already gotten accepted to the study abroad program in India, so the only thing left to do now is wait, and hope I am selected as a scholarship recipient.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Interview Fight Club

Written By Monica Page

Fight Club, the nihilistic book and movie based on the problems of the early 2000s became a pop-culture staple as memorable as a pink bar of soap made out of body fat. Tyler Durden became the voice of a generation and introduced America to three important things:
    1) Brad Pitt’s abs
    2) The idea that you are not a beautiful or unique snowflake
    3) The eight rules of Fight Club

Concerning number three, most people are pretty familiar with the first two rules, but the other six seem to get lost between The Narrator writing haikus during work and Marla Singer stealing clothes out of washing machines. Not only are the eight rules great material to quote from in everyday life (try it sometime), they can be manipulated to be beneficial in all kinds of situations. Today, you’re getting the eight rules for a customized, University of Miami Toppel Career Center sponsored Fight Club.

Welcome to Interview Fight Club.

The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club.

If you are a member of a real fight club or you go bar dancing on the weekend, the interviewer does not want to hear that. Do not talk about things that are irrelevant to the interview. Although one of your great passions in life may be collecting every color Mardi Gras bead in existence, unless you can tie that into the changing landscape of the New York Stock Exchange and how the amount of alcohol you consume over the weekend is correlated with the rising price of crude oil imports from the Middle East, don’t talk about it. Better yet, don’t even think about it around the time of your interview.

The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club!

Welcome to the 21st Century, “talking” now consists of more than over sharing personal information in public. Talking now consists of Facebook postings, tweets, blog postings, and all other forms of online interaction. As much as you think your Facebook is private, it isn’t. Everything is public and nothing is truly deleted. To be on the safe side, just keep your wild, weekend escapades off of Facebook and every other form of social networking in existence.

Third rule of Fight Club: if someone yells "stop!,” goes limp, or taps out, the fight is over.

Most interviewers are polite. If you ramble or say an “um” or “uh” every once and a while, chances are they won’t attack you for it. The problem comes when you reach the end. There are many triggers for ending an interview; some are “have a nice day,” “good seeing you,” “thanks for coming,” etc. When you receive one of these cues, thank the interviewer and leave. Do not try to give a better answer to a question asked 20 minutes ago. The interview is over. Your time is done. Think about what you’re going to have for dinner and the thank you note you need to be sending.

Fourth rule: only two guys to a fight.

As much as you love your friends and family, there is no reason to bring them to an interview. The interviewer does not need to meet your mother, your grandfather, your baby cousin or any other part of your family tree. If you need moral support, bring a Beanie Baby or stress ball, not your five year old cousin. Trust me, nothing good will come of bringing extra people with you. (As a side note, if your moral support is a Beanie Baby leave it in the car. Don’t be weird.)

Fifth rule: one fight at a time, fellas.

You are not Superman, do not schedule five back-to-back interviews. Even if you are fully prepared for each one, with your bullet point answers written on mental sticky notes, you will get tired. Not even Sasha Fierce could go through the mental and physical strain of consistently being “on” in various scenarios. Your best bet is to spread out your interviews throughout various days. If you really need to knock out a lot of consecutive interviews, try to not schedule more than one a day or at least give yourself a couple of hours between each one.

Sixth rule: the fights are bare knuckle. No shirt, no shoes, no weapons.

Disregard this. Be fully dressed in complete business attire. Yes to shirt. Yes to shoes. Ignore the weapons part. Make sure you have multiple copies of your resume and a pen to write down information. Bonus points for putting your things into a portfolio; you can use a folder, but a portfolio looks more put together.

Seventh rule: fights will go on as long as they have to.

It’s a common belief that the longer an interview goes, the more the interviewer likes you. If an interview ends after only five-minutes, something may have gone wrong (whether it was your fault or not). This is not to say that every successful interview lasts 2-hours. If you have thirty minutes for an interview, and you go those full thirty minutes, chances are you made a good impression. Answer questions in full and elaborate on your experience.

And the eighth and final rule: if this is your first time at Fight Club, you have to fight.

The most important part of an interview is being prepared. Always research the company and position before going. This does not mean going into the interview and mentioning that you know the company imports its break room coffee from Costa Rica. When gathering background information look for partners of the company, where most employees are recruited from, and more information that is directly related to the position you are interviewing for. Just don’t go overboard and recite your interviewers Twitter timeline back to them in the interview. We’ve already covered the “being creepy” section; don’t return home with a restraining order instead of a job offer. Lastly, have questions prepared and make sure to always be on time.

To be successful in your own “Fight Club training,” Toppel offers two services that are beneficial to your success:
    1) If you have attended an Interviewing Skills workshop, you have the option of scheduling a one-hour mock-interview with an advisor. The interview is tailored to the position you are applying to and also provides you the opportunity to have it recorded, so you can look over it later.
    2) Mini-mock interviews are 30-minute interviews done with a member of the peer advisor staff. The interviews are less formal and shorter, but still provide a good opportunity to practice.

Whether you believe in the Fight Club rules or not, interviews are an important part of the job search process and require time and preparation. Preparation should begin the minute you confirm the date and time and you should remain prepared until you write the thank you letter at the end. Use every resource available and just be you. Pay attention and in a couple of weeks you can say, “I am Jack’s newly hired employee.”

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Success Beyond UM: Nicki Marko, Former Peer Advisor

Title/Employer Casting/Discovery Studios

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your current job/employer.
During my freshman UMX class, Toppel came and gave a presentation on how to best prepare ourselves for our careers after college. I remember the presenter mentioning that most employers like to see at least 2-3 internships on a resume, so I immediately got to work. I interned at a TV production company in DC (Ventana Productions) the summer before my sophomore year, Discovery Communications the summer before my junior year, and then at Miami World Cinema Center during my senior year. During this time I also worked as a peer advisor at Toppel so I made sure I had a killer resume to show off all of my experience. Needless to say I was very disappointed when I was unable to find a job upon graduation, despite my preparation during undergraduate career. My disappointment was intensified as all of my fellow peer advisors had landed amazing, well paying jobs of their choosing. I spent the summer in Japan with my parents to try to decide my next move. I did have a few interviews via Skype but none seemed to work out. I returned to the states and started waitressing, while applying for what seemed like hundreds of jobs online during my free time. Almost six months had passed since graduation and I was still jobless, until one day a contact I had made through my internship at Discovery (2 years prior) called me about a position in casting for TLC. I interviewed on Monday, was offered the job on Tuesday, quit my waitressing job Friday and started that very next week. I am working in casting for TLC's season 3 of "Hoarding: Buried Alive". So, in the end it was thanks to the connections I made (and kept) during my internships that landed me my first job in the biz.

What was your major(s)/minor(s) in school?
Majored in Video/Film and Anthropology

When and how did you begin to get involved with your career development while at UM?
I focused on landing internships in my field because at the end of the day it’s not what you know it’s who you know, especially in the TV/film industry. Or at least, that has been my experience. I also was a peer advisor, so I saw firsthand the importance of getting internships, interview and networking experience, and being proactive about job searching and career development.

What services/resources at the Toppel Career Center did you find to be the most helpful?
I think one of the most dreadful, yet a helpful experience is to participate in a mock interview. Especially if you have it recorded.

What advice would you give to students as they plan for their career?
I think being successful is a combination of being prepared but also being open to opportunities that you may not have planned for. I think one of the most important things I learned while working at Toppel is that every second is an opportunity to network. You never know who you will meet and what opportunity it may lead to.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Job #Winning Tao of Charlie Sheen

Written By Monica Page

A celebrity meltdown is one of the most demented celebrations our culture is known for. From Britney Spears to Mariah Carey, the general public develops a sort of collective sense of enlightenment when they discover that these worshiped celebrities are just as mentally screwed up as they are. At the top of the “mentally screwed up” pyramid is the 2011 poster child for crazy, Charlie Sheen. Beneath all the television interviews and Twitter rants, it is possible to find some sort of wisdom underneath the quotes. For example, can someone actually use spewed off Sheen nonsense to be productive in ways that do not involve becoming part of Twitter’s trending topics? Can someone actually use Sheen quotes to, let’s say, find a job? Let’s find out.

“I got magic and I got poetry at my fingertips.”

The first part of a successful job hunt is to develop a resume. Your resume needs to be a one-page reflection of who you are and the accomplishments you have achieved thus far. Without meeting you in person, the employer needs to have a quick overview of who you are and what you bring to the table. No one wants to read a poorly formatted demonstration of what you did not do in college. No, you need to get your act together and dazzle the employer before they even meet you. Use all those AP English skills you were supposed to acquire in high school and create the resume version of The Merchant of Venice. Become the Shakespeare of job-hunting documents.

“I don’t sleep. I wait.”

Once you submit your resume to the employer, don’t slack off. Employers are human and can easily throw your resume on a random pile on their desk, never to be seen again. If you don’t hear back a couple of weeks after submitting your resume, send an e-mail or call the company to follow-up and make sure they received your material. At times, they may have never received it, other times, they may have just forgotten. This does not mean to call at 4 a.m. sounding like a drunken –ex wondering why your calls haven’t been returned.

“I’m bi-winning. I win here and I win there.”

There is no guarantee that you are going to get your dream position. Just because you may look perfect for the position in question, it is all up to the employer whether they want you or not. The best bet is to apply to as many positions as possible, increasing your chances of eventually getting something. If you apply to only one position and you don’t get it, your luck is running dry. For those who apply to multiple positions, there is a greater chance of eventually getting at least something rather than putting all your hopes and dreams into one thing and having the world crumble down around you like a melodramatic teen drama. Apply to as many positions as possible, so when the time arises you can choose where you want to go instead of being at the mercy of ignorance.

“I got tiger’s blood. I expose people to my magic.”

When the time comes to go in for an interview, you need to dazzle the employer. Your interview will show the employer your personality and in-person interactions. Many people can write a resume to make themselves look like the best thing in the world, but it is only when you meet face-to-face that your true personality and interactions come out. The idea is not to regurgitate your resume nor speak of events and accomplishments that aren’t even in progress. Be yourself so that if you get the job, the employer is prepared for “you” and not your self-confidence boosting alter ego.

“I don’t believe in rock bottom. Rock bottom is like a fishing term.”

Let’s enter the hypothetical situation where you don’t get the job of your dreams. Nor the other ten you applied to. Nor the last Reese’s at Publix. It’s not the end of the world. Sometimes people become over confident and apply to positions that are way out of their league. This is not to say that you should only apply for positions in which you are over-qualified for, because then you aren’t challenging yourself. Balance your applications so you have a cushion. On one half you have your dream jobs that you have to work hard to achieve; on the other you have the positions in which you have a small sense of “over-qualification,” just so you have a back up.

“Clearly I have defeated this earthworm with my words. Imagine what I could have done with my fire-breathing fists… They picked a fight with a warlock.”

You’re awesome. You aced your interview and got the job of your dreams. Now that you’re employed, don’t screw it up. Don’t get comfortable and slack off before you have even proven yourself. The idea is that, although the employer obviously likes you and has taken the time to take a chance on you, you need to over perform to their expectations. They like you now, but the goal is to make them love you. You want them to wonder how they ever survived without you. You want to become a necessity instead of a placeholder.


Everyone doesn’t send out a resume and get a job on the first try. Some people have to work for it more than others. Just because you don’t get your dream job on the first try doesn’t mean you’ll never get it. Taking a detour to your career may actually be beneficial in the long run. Some people aren’t ready to dive into the career they thought they wanted, while others are prepared from birth. The goal is to go with the flow and just work on advancing little by little until you finally get to the perfect position.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Virtual Internship Opportunity

So earlier this week we gave you insight into obtaining and succeeding at a virtual internship. Now, we are giving you an internship in which you can test your skills and see just how well you will perform in a virtual scenario. Everyone's favorite #tigerblooded actor, Charlie Sheen, is looking for a social media intern to help with his new found Internet celebrity. is now taking applications for this position. Here are the details:

Deadline: March 11th, 2011

Position: Full-Time, Paid

Timeframe: Summer 2011 (8 weeks)

Description: Do you have #TigerBlood? Are you all about #Winning? Can you #PlanBetter than anyone else? If so, we want you on #TeamSheen as our social media #TigerBloodIntern!

This unique internship opportunity will allow a hard-working, self-motivated, creative, resourceful and social media savvy individual to work closely with Charlie Sheen in leveraging his social network. The internship will focus on executing a social media strategy that will build on the success Charlie Sheen has attained in setting the Guinness World Record for the fastest time to reach one million followers on Twitter. The #TigerBloodIntern is expected to be proactive, monitor the day-to-day activities on the major social media platforms, prepare for exciting online projects and increase Charlie’s base of followers.

You will learn how to promote and develop the social media network of Hollywood’s most trending celebrity.

Before you even ask, yes it is a real position, yes it is really paid, no it is not sponsored by the Toppel Career Center. If this sounds like something you may be interested in apply online here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Being a Virtual Intern

Written by Monica Page

The challenge of obtaining an internship in college coincides with the “final boss” fight before entering the real world. Starting at freshman year, students are drowned in statistics and information that can be written out as one or two equations:
    1) student + internship + internship = job upon graduation
    2) student – internship – internship = living in your mother’s basement upon graduation.
Since most logical students do not have the life goal of living in their mother’s basement, “internship” becomes the golden word for success, achievement, ownership of a bed versus a sleeping bag, etc.

After developing the want for an internship, it can be an easy mission for students to apply to every big company in the region, trying to get that all-star resume addition, the golden bullet point, the holy grail of experience. The problem with that is, every college student on the planet has the exact same idea. Another roadblock in achieving that “picture perfect I’m getting a job the minute I graduate” resume is that not every good opportunity is in a good geographic location. Unless you are from New York City or Los Angeles, chances are it may be a requirement to travel to distant locations to obtain that perfect internship. Although interning with the Coca-Cola Company, Apple or any other Fortune 500 company may seem like the dream opportunity, it may be a better idea to go for an alternative type of internship.

With the Internet, social media and various other forms of technological communication, it is now easier than ever to find an opportunity that best fits your interests. Along those lines, growth in a new type of internship has increased and has become widespread. Virtual interns are students who work remotely with companies (mostly Internet start-ups) along the lines of social media marketing and online content production. The greatest strength of becoming a virtual intern is the benefit of making your own hours and not having to drive to an office. As long as the student has a reliable computer, Internet connection and a working telephone, virtual internships can be a good way to learn more about working remotely.

The downside to this is the disconnect between the student and the employer. Since most of the companies looking for virtual interns are Internet start-ups, the entire “team” may be virtual. Having a traditional internship that involves commuting back-and-forth to work may be a strain on the wallet for gas money, but interns are provided the opportunity of working directly with their supervisors and learning how the company works on the inside. Skype is good for talking to Grandma and getting a visualization of your friends’ “Texts From Last Night,” but when it comes to discussing changes in the company or expectations of what needs to be achieved by a deadline, face-to-face interaction can’t be beat.

Even with the loss of direct human interaction, virtual internships are good for students who want to try something new or are in positions where they do not have the time or cannot commute to companies who offer internships in their major concentration. Obviously virtual internships are good for those in Marketing or Public Relations, who can do their job online through e-mails or through telephone calls. If you’re a Biology major who wants to do a virtual internship with the future goal of becoming a surgeon, you’re probably looking in the wrong area. Majors and careers that require hands-on experience and a supervisor to be readily available need to look more to “traditional internships” where supervisors are there to provide the best mentoring.

If you’re in a field where you will be working with technology and the changing landscape of social media, go for the virtual internship. The opportunity to work remotely will challenge your time management skills and help you become a better communicator with your team and target audience. For others, instead of looking to work virtually, aim at smaller companies that offer internships to get your foot in the door.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

RCIF “From the Lab to the U”

Written By Priyanka Surio

Remember those science fairs in middle school where we used to play with grass
or water and then put together a science fair board for our teachers who would
choose the most interesting of the projects to go on to the science fair? The Research Creativity and Innovation Forum is the college version of our childhood science fairs. It is a form of displaying your research for all to see regardless of whether you’re a freshman starting research or a senior completing an honors thesis.

With the Research and Creativity Innovation Forum quickly approaching, I decided
to share my past experience and provide some insider tips on presentation.
Presenting your research can be intimidating at first because you will be interacting
with current medical and research doctors who will be evaluating your work
thoroughly. It is important to make a good impression and this can be done through
effective communication and articulation along with a dash of confidence.

A year ago I was in the same position. First I had to submit a 250 word abstract

detailing my investigation and wait for selection from the RCIF committee. Upon
acceptance, I had to secure funding for a poster; luckily Miami – AHEC and the
Department of Internal Medicine at the Miller School of Medicine helped me secure
a sizable poster and printed my research presentation on it. I was a research
investigator on the topic of obesity, but I needed a catchy name to grab the judges’
attention so I came up with Promoting a Healthier Me. Although I was researching
the obesity statistics and behaviors of the greater Miami area, my hope was to
implement infrastructure within the clinics and hospitals at Jackson to address this
health disparity.

Next came judgment time! It was my first year presenting a research still so new
and ongoing, so I had my doubts. A few practice sessions with my research mentor,
who developed a series of questions to ask me, prepared me for the day. It was like
an interview, where I had to talk about what my research was, focus on its strengths
and weaknesses, and discuss its implications in the real world. I had three judges
and numerous peers look at my research. The three judges included a doctor at
the medical school, a PhD student in the department of biology, and a professor of
biological studies. Each one asked a range of questions. I was asked why I chose
my specific research topic, what I hoped to achieve, what my graphs and statistics
translated to, whether my research was applicable to other high-risk areas, and
what the limitations of my research were.

I received a certificate for showcasing my research and the feedback on my
presentation was helpful for future experiences. The key points that judges
determined your score upon included effectiveness of one’s presentation,
significance of results, need for such research, translational science applicability,and overall professionalism.

This year the RCIF will take place on Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 in the Field
House, Coral Gables campus from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. The Awards Ceremony will
be from 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. in the Hurricane 100 Room at the Bank United Center,
Coral Gables Campus.

Preparation + Confidence = A Great RCIF Experience

RCIF Website

Contact: Daritza Blanco
Office of Undergraduate Research
305) 284-3530

Promoting a Healthier Me Abstract