My First Year Out (So Far) – Octavio Araujo

On this edition of My First Year Out (So Far) we check in with Octavio Araujo, who shares some helpful tips on adapting to an exciting (and challenging) new work environment, learning about airplane structures, and moving to the west coast.

Describe your first year out of UVM:

It’s only been 11 months, or so, but it sure feels like year. I left Burlington shortly after graduation to spend two weeks in Florida with my family before the big move. I had accepted a job offer in Seattle from Boeing without having ever visited the west coast.

I’d say that was intimidating given I didn’t know anybody living there.

Boeing is a big company and I was constantly asking myself if I was going to be up for the challenge ahead, learning how to design plane structures, especially in a place renowned for designing the best commercial airliners.

I had only a vague idea of the team I would be working with, so I didn’t know what engineering topics I would need to brush up on specifically before starting.

It turned out that the team was quite amazing, mostly senior engineers, with the exception of three new hires including myself. The amount of knowledge I’ve gained in these last 9 months is incredible. I’m surrounded by experts in all airplane components, from wings to empennage and fuselage.

I must give credit to all the amazing professors in the school of engineering, who provided me with the tools, knowledge, and experiences I needed to succeed.

The work is challenging, but also rewarding. The designers I collaborate with have a lot of passion for their work. I would say that out of sheer luck I have the best job in the world, but must also admit that I’m really devoting myself.

Sometimes it can be stressful and difficult, days can be long, and due dates too close. I’m back in school for a Boeing/University of Washington certificate in Modern Aircraft Structures, which takes place after work. I regularly take optional training for 8hrs on Saturdays, and during free time I’m trying to teach myself advanced CAD workbenches in CATIA.

I also sometimes volunteer with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers doing high school STEM night.

What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

I’m most proud of two things. First, I was presented to Boeing’s chief design engineer and given a task by my manager very hastily. I had to read up on some specific material to bring out specific differences between industry standards and in-house standards. I was unfamiliar with both, but brought myself up to speed and was able to deliver as expected.

Second, I’m being mentored by a wing expert at the moment who assigns me work and coaches me through. As a mechanical engineer I’d expect to be doing only strict mechanical engineering. In this particular case, I’ve had to learn A LOT about fire.

As new airplane models undergo FAA certification, different engineering organizations are delegated responsible to comply with all regulations affecting your component. In this case, the wing, is impacted by FAR25.867 which defines certain wing surfaces must be fire resistant.

So I went along and learned [almost] everything about it, from fleet accidents to current regulation interpretations. I (with orientation from my mentor) came up with intelligence over how to achieve compliance and had to present to a committee of technical fellows (high regarding engineering ‘rank’ at Boeing, engineering decision makers).

In both occurrences I was nervous and unsure of myself, as coming into the presentations you’re told “it’s only another meeting in their schedule” but going upon leaving you realizing “this is where careers are made”.

I guess preparing and being able to think on your feet was necessary to overcome these challenges.

What did you learn from this experience?

At the end of the day, you need to be yourself. Bring who you are to the table and let people criticize your work. Take pride in your mistakes, they end up being lessons.

I learned that the only way to get better is by practice and preparation. Burrow like a worm.

Any advice for your classmates?

Convince yourself you can always do better. Everyone is on their own clock, but don’t procrastinate. Do something! Strive to find that which drives you.

What’s it like being on the west coast?

I’m focusing on getting a good start in my career, but whenever I can I try to head downtown and explore Seattle. I’m not the most outdoorsy person, but I’m exited for spring and hiking. I’m making plans for summer, I want to explore the west coast a bit more!

I’m also taking advantage of the Pacific North West and I’ve been able to go on some pretty cool hikes around the area, currently waiting for friendlier weather to enjoy more of the outdoors.

 

If you liked this post, check out our previous check-ins with your classmates Kristen Smith and Lyndi Wieand.

Remember Free Cone Day On Campus?

Hey everyone, I’m sure many of you remember waiting in line outside the Davis Center every April to get your free cone (or multiple free cones). It was surely a tradition for UVM students and lots of fun.

I’m here to share some sad news. The scoop shop on campus is closing later this year, so free cone day on campus will be no more. The good news is, the Church Street shop is reopening after a winter of renovations, so you can still get your cone in town — but campus will not be the same.

With this nightmarish scenario in mind, I visited the DC scoop shop for the last time this past Tuesday for cone day, and did my best to make the day last forever…

Check out the video below.

My First Year Out (so far…) – Lyndi Wieand

Today we have a special edition of My First Year Out. If you have been following along for a while, you’ll remember we checked in with your 2016 classmate Kristen Smith back in December.

This time we catch up with Lyndi Wieand who shares some lessons in juggling a busy schedule and persevering through career challenges.

Describe your first year out of UVM.

My first year out of UVM has been busy, busy, busy! The week after I graduated and moved back home, I went on vacation with my family to Jackson Hole, WY and Yellowstone National Park. That was an incredible trip and I feel so blessed to have experienced such natural beauty.

It was so different moving back home for good this time, instead of just for a few months during college. I do miss my friends, my rugby team, and the beauty of Vermont.

Shortly after that trip, I started working. I had one job lined up before I moved back working at a local hospital as a Nutrition Services Aide and I also started working as a waitress in early June. I worked those two jobs simultaneously for about two months, working about 50-60 hours a week.

The hospital job wasn’t what I expected it to be and it didn’t relate to my Dietetics, Nutrition, and Food Science Degree, so I resigned in August. However, in July I received an opportunity to work at a brand new local winery that would open in August owned by a former internship supervisor and her husband. My role at the winery is to give tastings, but I’ve also been able to help with the production process of several of the wines, getting Food Science experience.

My life got even more busy in October when I was offered a position at Lehigh University as a Nutrition Assistant to the Registered Dietitian on campus. Carrie, my boss also happens to be the winery owner and my former internship supervisor… oh how networking is important!

So now I am currently working three part time jobs, still at 50-60 hours a week, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge would be juggling three work schedules and having very little free time for much of anything. Sunday is my only day off, so I try to either recover from the work week, or finally get time to spend with my family, boyfriend and friends.

My second biggest challenge was going through heartbreak last April when I wasn’t “matched” for a dietetic internship–the next step I need to complete before I can become a real person in the nutrition field, a Registered Dietitian. Part of the reason I’m working so hard and so much since graduation is to get more experience in the nutrition field.

I recently went through the internship application process for a second time, and had three interviews in March. This coming Sunday, April 2 is when I find out if I get a “match” this year. I felt a lot more confident in myself this time around than last year, so I’m optimistic!

What did you learn from this experience?

What I learned from this experience is that hard work and dedication can make yourself that much better than you ever thought you could be. I may be exhausted most of the week, but I’ve gained so much experience in the work world that I know I’ll be able to base my real life career off of.

The skills and quality of nutrition knowledge I’ve learned at Lehigh are exactly what I needed to be a better candidate for the internship I will hopefully be completing this coming school year.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to yourself as you prepared to graduate from UVM? 

I would have told myself to enjoy it as much as I can (even though I think I did), and take advantage of everything wonderful there is to do in Burlington and the surrounding area.

There were a lot of restaurants I never tried, as well as local beers, and outdoor activities. I wish I skied more last year, PA winters and mountains are nothing in comparison to VT. I barely went hiking, which is something that I wanted to do so badly, but rarely had the time.

I would have wanted to get more involved in the other clubs and get more nutrition experience and/or research done while in school, as well as networked more with some of my professors.

Another thing I would have told myself would have been to expect the unexpected. Things you plan won’t always go that way, which is hard for me to accept, since I’m a perfectionist.

When I was rejected by the internships I applied to, my “life plan” for the next year was shattered. I made a new plan to work as much as I could and get nutrition experience, and look where I am now.

Becoming an adult has certainly been a learning experience, but you’ve got to start small in order to get big!

What are you doing now and what are you looking to do next?

The most important thing I am looking forward to next is to get matched to an internship, hopefully my top choice at Cedar Crest College, and start that in late July until April. After completion, I’ll be able to sit for the registration exam, and upon passing, become a Registered Dietitian!

I’m also hoping to start Grad School either this year or next to get my Master’s in Nutrition. Until then, I’ll still be working my three jobs, but maybe cut back on some hours to give myself some more time to breathe and relax in the summer.

Get to Know Vermont Quarterly

Hey everyone! Even though it is technically spring, it still feels like winter here in Vermont.

Never ending winter does however have its perks. You get to keep skiing, drink hot chocolate and curl up under a warm blanket to read something good.

With that in mind, a new Vermont Quarterly (the cool kids call it VQ) just dropped and I wanted to take a second to mention how important it is.

It’s been around forever and it truly is the one thing that connects just about every UVM alum. It includes pretty much everything from academics and campus life, to alumni profiles and class notes.

The magazine is a great way to stay informed on all the stuff we don’t always cover here on Afterword. Even if you are casually following UVM news, VQ will have something for you (not to mention it has a lot of great photos).

Some of you may be saying, “Vermont Quarterly? Why didn’t I get one?”

If you haven’t received the latest edition (or if it went to your parents), that means we don’t have your updated address. You can update that right here and you will be sure to get the next edition.

Here are some of the highlights from the most recent issue (story summaries are by the article’s author):

Basketball brought the Catamounts and Josh Speidel together. Then came the accident, the coma, and the rehab—and now their bond is bigger than the sport.

Josh Speidel and the men's basketball team in the gym

University of Vermont alumni in the state’s top job have been relatively rare. Just seven across more than two centuries of Vermont’s history. But the opening of the 2017 legislative session saw not only a UVM alumnus in the governor’s post with the inauguration of Phil Scott, but a circle of UVM grads taking key leadership roles in Montpelier.

Montpelier capitol dome

Navigating the myriad  mysteries of college— applications to financial aid forms, dorm life  to choosing a major— first-generation college students blaze trails within their families.

Adrian Burnett ’19; Tracy Ballysingh, assistant professor in Higher Education and Student Affairs ; Krya Peacock ’20; Bill Falls, professor of psychology and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

How UVM’s Wellness Environment is rewiring college students’ brains

Illustration of a brain and photograph of student meditating

Katie Elmore Mota is shaking up Hollywood. As founder, co-president, and executive producer of Wise Entertainment, she’s breaking ground with smart, socially relevant content that tells the stories of underrepresented audiences.

Katie Elmore Mota talks with actors during shooting of “East Los High.”

9 Ways to Eat UVM [+1 Sweet Giveaway]

If you didn’t know this about me, I love food.

This week, I wanted to take a minute to showcase some of my favorite foods made by UVM alums. Alums own tons of businesses in Vermont and around the world and here are 9 of my favorite ways to Eat UVM.

As an added bonus, at the end of the post, enter our raffle to win this care package of UVM food goodies (and I don’t mean stuff from Brennan’s).

Here are 9 of my favorite ways to Eat UVM.

1. Polar Seltzer – Look, it’s not what you expected, in fact, how many of you knew that Polar Seltzer, the greatest of the seltzers by far (tsk tsk La Croix), was owned by a UVM family? I didn’t either until this year, but now that I know, I will continue to be a huge advocate.

From their classic flavors to seasonal standouts, drinking Polar has become a constant in my daily life. Personal favorite flavors – Raspberry Lime, Black Cherry and Ruby Red Grapefruit.

2. Lake Champlain Chocolates – Pretty much perfect chocolate, LCC helped me understand the nuances of dark chocolate compared to the overly creamy milk. However, just when I started substituting my ice cream habit for chocolate squares, I tried their ice cream on Church Street, and uh…yeah, it’s really good too.

LCC totally satisfies my sweet tooth and is one of my faves for sure. Try all their different products! Great gift for the chocolate lovers in your life (aka me – I’m accepting LCC gifts)

3. Bluebird BBQ – At first I was skeptical, pretending to know what real BBQ was supposed to taste like, wondering if Bluebird had the goods. The answer is yes.

Delicious meats and sides for days. Not really vegetarian friendly of course but definitely good for us Ron Swanson types. Hint: use all the sauces. I’ll take a family meal for one please!

4. My Little Cupcake – I bet you know all about these. So many flavors, so little time. Grab a dozen and sift through all the fun. What a great idea, all the deliciousness of a regular cupcake but in a portion size that makes sense.

5. Dakin Farms – Here is the Vermont experience all in one place, get everything you need (meats, cheese, jams, maple products etc) and have a picnic after your hike.

6. Bove’s – Sadly, Bove’s is no longer open downtown, but the classic sauce (and meatballs) remain sold in stores all throughout Vermont. Be sure to pick some up for your next pasta dinner and experience the reason why Bove’s stayed open for generations!

7. Champlain Orchards – Who doesn’t love apples? Enough said.

8. Jasper Hill Farm Cheese – Seriously, don’t miss this cheese. Rated as some of the best in the country, Jasper Hill does not disappoint. Honestly, cheese is probably one of my favorite foods, so I saved this one for last.

I wish we could ship you a whole wheel, but we will have to settle for a smaller portion.

9. Adult Beverages. You might be wondering, what about the all breweries, wineries, cideries, and distilleries? Well, there are too many to list here, but here’s a short list of my favorites: the Alchemist Brewery, Lawson’s Finest Liquids, Queen City Brewery, Trout River Brewery, Snow Farm Vineyard, and Fresh Tracks Farm & Winery.

Just in case you forgot — enter the giveaway to win the Eat UVM care package:

(Unfortunately, no liquids or cupcakes in the care package — you definitely don’t want to receive a ready-to-explode can of seltzer or smooshed cupcake in the mail)