Fulbright Student Panel to Give Students Internship Tips

By: Student Reporter

Students work internships because they want jobs, college career counselors advise.

Toward the goal of landing an internship, a student-focused panel, Internship Tips from Fulbright Students, is scheduled to take place at 5 p.m., Oct. 30 in 512 of the Arkansas Union.

“It’s vital for students to prepare for jobs and they should spend a lot of time connecting with professionals in the area,” said Erica Estes, director of Employer Relations at the Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences.

“It’s not enough to just upload an application and resume. Getting connected is key. That’s where the magic happens,” she said. “Students should spend 60 percent of their time connecting, 30 percent should be researching and 10 applying.”

The panel will feature six Fulbright College students – representating math, journalism, international studies, political science, music, social work and biology. They have been asked to give their peers the inside scoop about how they found their internships, describe the application process and discuss their internships.

Math major Nicole Norman completed an internship with Anheuser-Busch in Portland, Oregon. Molly Feigle completed a journalism internship with Universal Pictures in Rogers. Maya Ungar, an international studies major, has worked internships at The Washington Center, Churches for the Middle East and the Peace Corps.

Emma Kromer, a political science and music major who worked internships with the Faulkner Performing Arts Center, Fulbright College Advising Center, and the Washington County Planning Office. Aja Pence, a social work student, completed an internship with Potter’s House through the United Way and Tyson Community Summer Internship Program.

“Plan your internship right, get tips from your peers,” Estes said.

History professor Alessandro Brogi, who is director of Undergraduate Studies, will moderate the panel.

Some students get help outside the university.

“For me, my mom actually found the internship, but it was great as I want to work in the medical field and this position gave me great exposure. It sealed my passion for medicine and gave me knowledge how to work in a clinical setting,” biology major Johnson said.

Students can find more info about the event on the Handshake website.

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions about things you do not know,” she said. “Your bosses are not expecting you to know everything, but they do expect you be active in acquiring information you do not know.

“Be professional. Our generation has a reputation for not having certain aspects of professionalism, such as proper dress, email etiquette and being on time to work,” Johnson said.

Spring Launch Set for Career Connections Class

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The UofA is scheduled to launch a Fulbright college career connections class in the spring semester. The 3000-level course will provide a platform to connect students with employers while also giving students the opportunity to look into diverse career communities, UA career professionals said.

“In the last several years, I have not had individual counseling appointments with students. Instead I’ve been developing relations with employers in order to relay that to students. However, some of that is transforming, because in the spring we will be offering a Fulbright Career Connections class,” said Erica Estes, director of Employer Relations for Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences.

Titled ARSC 3013 in the course catalog, the class will incorporate life-design, a concept employed at Stanford University, Estes said. By using human-centered designs and applying it to the career class Estes believes this class will be “fairly large” and “very interactive.”

“Based on my experience running the Fulbright Advising Center, this will be a course that should be a very popular elective for students of all majors. I hope that plenty of students take advantage of it. I know the content and I think it will be a very worthwhile experience for students,” said Shane Barker, Fulbright assistant dean for advising.

The UofA also offers a one-hour Career Exploration Course (UNIV 1401). It allows students to graduate from the nationally recognized, Career Track Razorbacks that is offered by the Career Development Center. The class also is an eight-week session.

Coursework will include self-awareness, career exploration, experience, job search strategies, resume/cover letter writing, interview skills and professional networking.

Estes also recommends that students enroll in the Design Your Life nine-week mini-session.

“If you’re anxious about your next steps after graduation, consider enrolling in the Design Your Life nine-week mini session class. I will be co-teaching this class with two highly knowledgeable faculty and staff,” Estes said.

“We will move through the human-centered design thinking process to help students feel more confident about building their plans for the future,” she said. “In order to enroll in UNIV 3401, you must email me at ericae@uark.edu before the first class meets.”

The mini-session is a one-hour class but Estes said, “we hope to continue offering this for students and are wanting to expand the course to two hours.”

The class will include lectures on career communities as well as have an online component where students can cultivate e-portfolios. “We want to plug students into something we’ve been growing for years,” Estes said.


UAPD Bike Cop and K9 Officer Share Retirement Party

Two veteran members of the UA Police Department retired Friday after years of service to the department.

Officer Steve Meyer served the department for 43 years, working as one of the department’s primary bicycle cops.

K9 Officer Dingo, a German Shepherd, served the force for six years, 42 in dog years, working with his handler, Cpl. David Nguyen.

UAPD Director Steve Gahagans thinks that Meyer stayed with the department so long because he cared deeply for the UA students he protected, he said.

Officers have to have “a deep-seated love for the UofA and the people you serve” to stay for 43 years, Gahagans said.

Meyer thinks that small positive interactions with students on a day-to-day basis helped keep him encouraged over the years, he said.

Mike Terry, who worked in the UAPD from 1981 to 1998, said that he was persuaded to join UAPD after talking to Meyer in a training course.

“You could tell he loved the UofA by the way he talked about it,” Terry said.

Dingo was trained in Austria to detect narcotics like methamphetamines, cocaine, marijuana and heroin by smell, Nguyen said.

Nguyen was selected as Dingo’s handler and only works with him, he said. When Dingo is not on the job, he lives with Nguyen and his family.

“When he’s at home, we treat him as a pet,” Nguyen said. “We don’t do any training at home.”

Nguyen thinks that Dingo is one of the friendliest dogs UAPD has, and he would often take Dingo around to meet with students, especially during finals, he said. Some students even recognize Dingo around campus.

“They know him as the lovable one, the one they can pet,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen thinks Dingo is still in great physical shape, but UAPD policy is for dogs to retire after seven or eight years of service, he said.

“He’s still young enough to enjoy retired life,” Nguyen said.

Now that he is retired, Dingo will probably just be a lazy house pet, Nguyen said.

UAPD still has four other dogs working for them, Nguyen said. Three of them are trained to detect explosives and one, Ricky, will take over Dingo’s job of narcotics detection.

Meyer will continue to support his former coworkers by delivering refreshments to officers on duty during game day, Gahagans said.

Hertz Fellowship Supports STEM Education

Students interested in obtaining doctoral degrees in STEM fields can apply for a Hertz Foundation Fellowship.

The foundation encouraging research in applied physical and biological sciences mathematics and engineering. Applications are due by Oct. 24.

Executive Director Kathy Young described the fellowship as “incredibly competitive,” because fewer than 2 percent of applicants are accepted.

“We are really looking for the top students,” she said.

Since the foundation was established 1957, Hertz Fellows have founded more than 200 companies and they have received over 200 major awards, including two Nobel Prizes in physics, according to the website.

“A lot of our applicants apply because they want to be a part of the Hertz community,”

Young said.

Young sees the foundation as an opportunity for professionals to form networks.

“We have a lot of gatherings with Hertz fellows across disciplines, generations and geography and they are able to share ideas and collaborate,” Young said. “Many of them have started businesses together or wrote papers together.”

The Hertz Fellowship differs from most because students are not committed to work on their adviser’s projects, Young said, because they have their own funding. They can work on whatever project they want.

“You are not only receiving the financial value and the freedom that comes with the fellowship. You are also part of the Hertz community,” Young said.

The five-year fellowship covers full tuition for participating institutions, Young said.

Applications can be found on the Hertz Foundation website, hertzfoundation.org.

Researchers Tracking Fungus

Nearly one-third of the global rice production is lost each year to a disease known as blast. That much rice could feed 60 million people, a UA researcher said.

Martin Egan, assistant professor of plant pathology in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life sciences, obtained his Ph.D. in molecular plant pathology from the University of Exeter, UK, a leading institution in rice blast research. Egan recently received a $110,332 grant from the UofA Chancellor’s Innovation Fund to study the cell functions of M. oryzae, the blast fungus.

“It’s a serious threat to global food security,” Egan said.

Arkansas rice growers are responsible for about half of the rice grown in the U.S., so the disease is especially costly here.

The airborne disease is spread by spores that land on rice leaves and stick tightly, Egan said. Within eight hours, the spore germinates and forms a dome-shaped infection cell called the appressorium. This structure generates an enormous amount of pressure that builds up to allow it to punch its way physically through the leaf, where it begins colonizing the tissue and dampening the plant’s immune system.

“You don’t really see disease symptoms for about three days after infection, so it’s kind of silently colonizing the tissue,” Egan said.

This intrusion is made possible partly by a ring-shaped structure called a septin ring. The blast spores produce filaments made of septin, a class of protein. The filaments then grow into a ring structure where the appressorium is attached to the plant.

The septin ring is essential to spreading the fungus. Researchers are working to discover ways to stop that spread.

Egan and his co-investigator, Yong Wang of the U of A physics department, will be looking for other proteins that might play a role in controlling or regulating the septin filaments that build the septin ring.

Wang employs a Nobel Prize-winning technique called “super-resolution fluorescence microscopy” to help understand how the proteins that build the septin ring structures organize.

The technique, invented between 2006-2008, won the 2014 Nobel Prize in chemistry.

“Conventional fluorescence microscopy has a special resolution of 200 nanometers,” Wang said. “It’s not good for the proteins inside the bacteria, because the bacteria itself is about 500 nanometers in diameter, and the proteins are, like, 5 nanometers.”

The super-resolution technique is about 10-20 times better than conventional fluorescence microscopy, Wang said, allowing them to see the individual proteins inside the cells, bacteria or fungus.

“We would like to look at the septin ring at different time points and see how this ring structure develops,” Wang said.

Alvaro Durand-Morat and Lawton Nalley, both professors of agricultural economics and agribusiness, have researched and published reports on the global economic impact of the blast disease.

Rice is an important food staple for more than half of the world, according to a 2016 report by the professors. Therefore, the world supply must double by 2050 to keep up with the food demand from population growth.

Some strains of the fungus are quickly growing resistant to fungicides, so the need to identify new ways of addressing the disease is urgent.

Additionally, there is now a population of blast fungus that has adapted to infect wheat crops in South America.

“It’s the same organism, it’s just made a host leap,” Egan said.

Egan said one way of potentially preventing rice blast is planting cultivars that are genetically resistant to the disease. However, he also said the pathogen will adapt and overcome that resistance within a matter of one to three years.

Results from the researchers’ 2016 study showed that, by eliminating blast from production in the Mid-South, U.S. rice producers would gain $69.34 million annually and increase the rice supply to feed an additional one million consumers globally.