The Momentum Speaker series is back next week with the first program, The Intern Perspective. On this week’s podcast we learn about the motivation behind the speaker series, what topics will be covered this semester and why current student’s perspectives are important. As Mark Ansell explains “…the main reason that we want attendees to attend our Momentum Speaker Series is because we want them to expand their mindsets of what is possible for themselves, whether that be through internships, entrepreneurship or just overcoming failures.” Join Mark Ansell and Andrew Ansell as they give you a behind the scenes look into the series and what you will gain from attending.
- Momentum Speaker Series, Thursday, September 14, 5:30pm, Sibley Auditorium
- Learn more about The Intern Perspective speakers on Facebook
- Watch the past Momentum Speaker Series in full on the ESS Website
- Have an idea or topic that you would like see covered by the Momentum Speaker Series? Email email@example.com.
LAURA VOGT: This and welcome to the (Not So) Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineer. I’m Laura Vogt, the Communications & Events Manager for Engineering Student Services and this week I’m getting the back story on one of our new programs here in ESS The Momentum Speaker Series. Joining me today are two of the creators of the program, Mark Ansell and Andrew Ansell, they are both current Berkeley Engineering students. So thank you both for joining me today. This semester we have two dates for our Momentum Speaker Series with two significantly different topics. But before we get into that let’s find out a little bit more about our podcast guests. So let’s start with you Mark.
MARK ANSELL: Hi, I’m Mark. I’m a third year mechanical engineering and business administration double major here at Cal. Outside of class I’m involved in planning and executing the Momentum Speaker Series. But in the past I’ve also been involved with CalSol and Engineers for a Sustainable World.
ANDREW ANSELL: Hi I’m Andrew. I’m also a junior double majoring in mechanical engineering and business and my current extracurricular involvements are planning and executing Momentum. And then I’m also a peer adviser at the Career Center. And then in the past I’ve been involved with a few other clubs including CalSol and Engineers for a Sustainable World.
LAURA: Let’s start looking at the first Momentum Speaker Series that we have this semester is actually next week on Thursday, September 14th, and it’s The Intern Perspective 5:30 to 7:00, is the actual presentation part of it and we’re also having networking from seven to eight, with pizza. So if you want to come and get dinner afterwards and this is in Sibley auditorium. So let’s start off with just this Speaker Series We’ve chosen the speakers for it now, want to tell me a little bit about who is going to be there?
ANDREW: Yes, so we’ve chosen seven speakers. They’re all current Berkeley Engineers. We have people who were interned Tesla, Uber, Space-X, the Brookings Institute. Also some people who have done some other cool internships but not so typical. So someone who has gone abroad to Peru and built the windmills in Peru and then also someone who’s interned in Abu Dhabi.
LAURA: One of the big things is is that we do an actual call out for speakers and then you have a group of you that choose who the speakers are going to be. How many people did you have applied to be speakers this time?
MARK: So we had 26 applicants for speakers. And originally we only wanted to have six speakers but the applications were so good that we had to pick seven. And it was really interesting because this time…the last event that we had was more focused on internships in the traditional sense of the word. But this time we called for speakers who have done nontraditional study abroad experiences or research in types of internships this summer. So we have a good mix. We have a few people that have done research. A few people that I’ve done different study abroad types of things. And then the majority of it is focused on internships as well.
MARK: Yeah. And we really want to expand students perspectives on what you can do during the summer. So showing that if you want to go to these big names summer internships that you can do that. There’s also some really cool non-conventional summer experiences that you can pursue as well.
LAURA: OK. So let’s go back to the very beginning that the Momentum Speaker Series and what was the motivation to create the program?
MARK: So this is Mark. I think the motivation was…it’s all started when Marvin [Lopez] pulled both Andrew and I aside and he saw that we had gone internships after our freshman year…
LAURA: And Marvin is the director of Engineering Student Services for programs.
MARK: Yes exactly. And so he wanted to know how we got our internships after our freshman years and wanted us to want that information so he could help the rest of the Berkeley Engineering community. So he asked us for some advice on how we could best do this. And that idea kind of got tossed around and it turned into the Momentum Speaker Series, which is TED-style speaker series that aims to help students gain momentum in their career searches, through advice from their peers who are successful in a variety of different areas.
ANDREW: And the main thing that differentiates momentum from all the other speakers series that we hear on campus is that it’s really your peers, like our classmates, who are current students, who are talking about their summer experiences. And it’s a lot easier to understand and learn from people who have just been in your shoes, one or two years ago, then maybe someone who’s has spoken and has graduated from college and been in the workforce for 10 plus years.
LAURA: When you have the students speaking, do you ask them to focus on things like how they got the positions that they had or do you ask them to talk about the actual what they did over the summer, like what the actual job was or do you have a focus in that sense?
ANDREW: So we always want to make the event tailored to our audience. So at the end of each event we always ask – What do you want to hear about? And we use that to kind of tailor what we want the next event to focus on. So from our last event which was focused on entrepreneurship and startups, we asked for different topics and people are really interested in a variety of things, so how you got the internship but then also how you turn this internship into another internship or a full time position or even like how do you make the most of your current internship and network while you’re there. So really a variety of topics.
LAURA: OK. And what has been the best part since you’ve created the program?
MARK: So I think that Andrew and I both agree that the best part since the creation of the program has been the feedback that we’ve received from both the speakers and the attendees. Occasionally we’ll get some messages from speakers saying that this really helped me overcome my fear of public speaking or this really helps me kind of validate my summer experience because I was able to share it with a community of my peers that cared about what I did. And then on the flipside our attendees sometimes say – Wow, this is so cool that we got to see some of the some insights into what our peers are doing. It’s not usually talked about or what what people are doing academically are career focused on a career on their career trajectory is it really talked about. So it’s really cool that we have this opportunity to create a platform for people to talk about what they’re doing outside of class. And then it’s really reassuring to hear that feedback from both the speakers and the attendees.
LAURA: Oh that’s great.
ANDREW: Yeah I definitely agree.
LAURA: We also talked about, we’re doing two very different topics. For September’s you said that students wanted to know more of like how to take this internship and either grow it from there or just to get it. But then we have the topic in October, which is going to be resilience. So what is it resilience, what do we want to focus on, what are you going to bring to the students for that one?
ANDREW: Sure. So the idea behind resilience is that we can show people how to get these great experiences through the intern perspective and through entrepreneurship and startups. But the reality is that not everyone has such a linear path to success. And we want to highlight that even though we are showing people’s success stories, that there’s often a kind of twisted back story and maybe a failure that has happened that these students have learned from before that success. I mean so trying to humanize all these like pretty big successes and making it more digestible and feasible for the students who are just coming in and don’t have as much experience with maybe engineering or the recruiting process. An example of this could be let’s say you’re interning at Microsoft but you’ve already gone this great internship but while you’re there and your team isn’t supportive of you trying to make the most of your internship how do you get to get over that. I mean that’s one of the speakers that we’re going to have for the resilience of it and those are the types of topics that we want to cover and show the students.
LAURA: Are you just going to bring any kind of academic aspect into it or does it depend on who applies to be a speaker I guess in some ways.
ANDREW: So it depends it definitely depends on who applies to be a speaker. But right now we’re we’re actually planning on bringing in Marvin [Lopez] who is the director of programs, Engineering Student Services, to speak about his trajectory to be the Director of programs in Engineering Student Services and all that kind of like missteps he had on his way here and to show that someone who is a mentor to all of us in the College of Engineering has also failed at certain things and has also overcome them.
LAURA: That’s great. And so that one in October is going to be on Thursday, October 12th. And so will as soon as this speaker series over are we basically going to start immediately looking for new speakers again right, not going to be much of a break.
ANDREW: Yeah pretty much. I think it’s a different be a different type of speaker. So if anyone is interested in the resilience of that are speaking of the resilience of that is listening to this podcast definitely start formulating those ideas because the application form will be open in about a week or two.
MARK: And a good way to stay updated on whether there are new events or whether the videos of the last events are posted as by visiting our website at engineering.berkeley.edu/momentum.
LAURA: Yes and we’ll also have a link to that for you at welcomengineer.berkeley.edu were many of you catch the podcast. So we need to have maybe a one line idea of trying to convince people to show up on Thursday and listen to our speakers because we know that we have fantastic speakers now, so why do we want the students in the seats listening to this?
MARK: Well my big motivation for doing this is that I want the students to expand their mindsets of what is possible for themselves and that’s hard to do something or experience something or be the type of person that you want to be, If you don’t even know what that is or what that looks like. And so for example one of our speakers at this September Intern Perspective event was an intern in Abu Dhabi working for an IBM Watson company. Before hearing that he did that, I didn’t know that that was even an option. And so now I know that that’s a type of thing or a category of internship that I can look for but before I would have never known that that was something I could do. So I think that’s what I want most for the speakers, or for the attendees to learn from the speaker, is that there are all these different opportunities out there and kind of gaining exposure to all these different opportunities.
LAURA: So you want to expand your knowledge of the possibilities.
ANDREW: Yeah. And then also I’d like a more human and deeper understanding of what an internship at a top company looks like. That’s more than just a brand name and talk about what what does the day to day even look like and how do you how do these people thrive while they’re there in such a competitive environment.
LAURA: And do you have any other topics that we’re thinking of doing in future Momentum Speaker Series yet or is this something that we can ask people if they wanted to send an email.
ANDREW: Yeah. So we’ve we’ve had a lot of interest in research and grad school so we’re really looking into catering to those students and giving them a platform to talk about their interests. But we’re also open to more event topics from anyone who goes to the College of Engineering. So what do you want to learn about. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add it to the list.
LAURA: Is there anything else you wanted to add or that you want to make sure people know about your event coming up?
MARK: So the main reason that we want attendees to attend are Momentum
Speaker Series is because we want them to expand their mindsets of what is possible for themselves, whether that be through internships, entrepreneurship or just overcoming failures.
LAURA: The great thing about the Momentum Speaker Series is that we have it on our website at engineering.berkeley.edu/momentum. You can look at our past events if you want to catch what we did before. Check out the events that are coming up. It also has a link to our Facebook page where in the past you’ve done highlights on the speakers that are going to be there to help promote the event. So are you planning on doing the same kind of thing again.
ANDREW: Yeah it’s coming up.
LAURA: So definitely check out our website and learn more about the event. And thank you both so much for being here and for coming in this morning.
ANDREW: Yes thank you for having us Laura.
MARK: Thanks Laura.
LAURA: And we will talk to everyone next week. Thank you.