By Kimberly Wei Kim Ngoh, 2019-2020 SCS Student Advising Leader:
Between prospective students with an intent to major in chemical engineering, and those who are majoring in it, a common question either parties will ask or face is, “Why is Chemical Engineering in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences?” There is a proper explanation for it, but most of the time students ignore the history and arrive at the question of whether this denies them of the same opportunities their fellow engineering major peers receive. While it does mean that certain rules or criteria of the College of Engineering do not apply to ChBE majors, it also opens up further opportunities for ChBE majors to benefit from.
A popular contender of said benefits is free printing, but I would say a close second is the lesser-known but steadily growing ATLAS Internship program. ATLAS stands for Applied Technologies for Learning in the Arts & Sciences, with an aim to help LAS students assimilate into today’s technology-driven society. ATLAS provides a plethora of technology resources and services that complement the educational, research, and administrative activities of all members within the College of LAS. The internship program allows for hands-on experiences in utilizing technology to approach problems.
A general list of positions, accompanied by position descriptions are available on the ATLAS website, but it is not necessarily limited to just those roles. As the program grew from just eight to more than 50 students, so has its client base. The list, however, provides an example of the type of work or clients ATLAS has paired students with in the past.
To apply, an application form will ask for general details pertaining to your major and year in school, as well as a chance to rank your preferred positions or field of interests. This provides a good guideline for the ATLAS staff as they filter through their client base, finding the right match for you. At the interview, members of the ATLAS staff will learn more about you and possibly share what clients are looking for, in order to gauge your interest in the role. Another screening or interview with the client will most likely follow, but each role is unique and may have a different recruiting procedure.
What draws me to the ATLAS program is the exposure one can get; the role you end up in may not be directly relevant to your major but provides you with the opportunity to pick up transferable skills that will surely benefit you in some way. You will also get to work with other students or clients that may specialize in a specific field, allowing you to collaborate with or learn from them as you share your expertise. While the internship is conducted in professional settings, ATLAS also encourages attendance at fun activities from workshops aimed at managing stress, to building your own terrarium, or learning how to network at career fairs. Another plus of the internship program is its base requirement of “an interest in technology, motivation, a passion for learning, and the drive to succeed”. If you haven't noticed yet, there is no GPA requirement.
As a second semester senior, I’m thankful that I got the chance to take part in the ATLAS Internship program. As an intern for the School of Chemical Sciences (SCS) Computing Applications and Networking Services (CANS), I am integrating documentation written for research and service facilities within SCS. Not only am I able to hone my knowledge of laboratory instrumentation, but I also get to refine my technical writing skills and experiment with elements linked to front-end web development. All in all, the internship program serves to jump-start an LAS student’s transition into the ‘real world’, but you will end up gaining more than just professional etiquette. Click on this link to find out more!