With more than eight trips in the past three years, College of Communication and Information (CCI) students have once again traveled to Atlanta to seek employment, lured by the growth opportunities, corporate headquarters, and new startups that are making Atlanta their home. Last month, ten students from CCI visited four companies in Atlanta. They toured the offices of GM, AT&T, Home Depot and Chick-fil-A.
STARS president, Rhiannon Jacobson, said, “Overall, our trip to Atlanta was a success. As we were given this great opportunity to tour a variety of companies, it was evident that they not only have a strong relationship with FSU, but are willing to help students prepare for careers in their specific fields. All four companies had something different to offer the students but, all encouraged us to pursue our goals whether it is with that company or not. Touring these facilities gives you an inside look to what each company has to offer and the work environment they possess.”
Home Depot was the first stop. Students usually tour the corporate headquarters in Vinings Crossing but this trip was different; students toured the Home Depot Marietta Technology Center (MTC), home to the IT development section. Launched in 2015, the MTC houses over 1000 IT associates within its 200,000 square foot space. Besides the customary tour of the facility, students spent time learning about how Home Depot keeps it employees trained on new technologies. FSU students were able to spend time with a CCI alum, David Lauen (B.S. IT, 2001). David works as a Principal Systems Engineer working on Enterprise Architecture.
Joshua Goraum, a recent graduate, is moving to Atlanta to work at Home Depot. Joshua said, “my favorite part of the Atlanta trip was getting to see a more in depth look at how they operate; they stress the importance of teamwork and personal growth while producing quality technology solutions for their clients while investing heavily in improving the lives of their associates and the communities they live in, showing that they are focused on more than just turning a profit.”
The next visit was a familiar stop for CCI students. With over 400 FSU students employed at General Motors (and 125+ from CCI), the company has become a reliable source of employment for CCI grads. The tour was coordinated by CCI alums Katie Benton (B.S. IT, 2014) and Victoria Rice (B.S. IT, 2014) (pictured above). The alumni were eager to share with the students what life was like working in Atlanta; they all agreed that the large FSU alumni population made Atlanta feel like home away from home. The alums focused most of their discussion on the team-based approach at GM with people working in remote locations and technology supporting communication.
CCI students fit well in GM’s collaborative and distributed work environment. The alumni told the students that their projects range from simple week-long tasks to year-long projects in conjunction with international partners. Benton, a frequent recruiter at FSU for GM, assured the group that GM doesn’t expect its employees to know everything from the beginning. Students with strong problem-solving, communication, and collaboration skills are the ones that stand out to GM when hiring.
Senior Natalie Marcelo is the current AITP president. She enjoyed the company because they have been a strong support for our students and have presented in many of her classes. Natalie said, “There is a strong FSU presence at the Atlanta location and there is a young group of new college grads that makes the environment easy to enter and grow in.”
The final stop on Day One took the group to downtown Atlanta to tour AT&T’s building and speak with Ryan Gibson, Lead College Recruiting Manager. Gibson had a very different tour in mind – the students first toured AT&T’s Drive Studio showcasing all the IOT work being done in cars and with transportation.
There was an info session that showcased all programs, followed by a Technology Development Panel with four recent college hires that talked about the program, the variety of IT roles, their road to AT&T, projects they are currently working on, etc. One of the panelists was Richard Basen (B.S. IT, 2017) who had previously interned with AT&T. Richard and Ryan spoke about the company’s investment in student’s transition to the workplace through their Leadership Development Program.
Christian Pughe, a Junior IT student, saw AT&T as inspiring. He said, “They not only encourage growth but want to push the bounds of what is capable; they want to see you are adaptable because the field of IT is always evolving and their employees need to have maturity to say when they do not know something so they can learn and spread their knowledge to fellow coworkers.”
Day Two was an all-day recruiting event with Chick-fil-A (CFA). The second annual College Recruiting Open House (CROH) was an opportunity to engage with current freshmen and sophomores who will be pursuing internships in the summers of 2019/2020. CFA has recognized that Information Technology and Analytics are a priority area. Students listened to and participated in many panels that included topics such as: best interview practices, how to make the most of LinkedIn, learn about the innovating work that’s happening Chick-fil-A, and more.
Freshman IT student, Gabriela Llanes found the entire trip to be exciting and educational. Her favorite part was visiting Chick-fil-A. She said, “their passion to serve, maintain their brand, and stay true to their morals showed throughout the entire visit; listening to these speakers inspired me to network, chase my goals, and work to become the best version of myself.”
Students who traveled on this Atlanta trip: Joshua Goraum, Rhiannon Jacobson, Bridget Kabacinski, Gabriela Llanes, Natalie Marcelo, Justin McQuillen, Kiesha Mundin, Christian Pughe, Sophie Sweeney, and Garrett Turner.