Brianna Raphino, Class of 2020 and majoring in mechanical engineering, immerses herself in a multitude of various organizations and activities both on- and off-campus to diversify and develop her capabilities. Serving as a Resident Advisor, Innovation through Engineering and Computer Science (iTEC) tutor and mentor, Teaching Assistant, the President of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and the Secretary for the Black Student Association (BSA), Raphino certainly takes advantage of the resources available to her to create an extensive presence and put her leadership skills to the test. Still, as she progressed throughout her academic career, Raphino realized a necessity to apply the skills she already exemplified on-campus to the working world and further the development of her career. After participating in research opportunities with her fellow students and professors in her junior year of college, Raphino soon found the perfect opportunity to further her experience in her field of study as a Mechanical Engineering Intern with Teradyne.
“Teradyne has been doing undergraduate research with Merrimack students for a few years now, and I was able to participate in the research starting [in my junior year]”, Raphino explains when recalling her initial experience with Teradyne and the discovery of her eventual internship. “I worked with Professor Caldwell and other students, [and by] the end of my junior year, a Teradyne connection reached out to the Merrimack Engineering Department about Co-op [position openings] for the upcoming summer. A few of my professors mentioned [the position with Teradyne] to me, so I decided to apply.” Invigorated by her research experience and driven by her desire to experience the realities of a career in the engineering field, Raphino knew submitting her application to Teradyne alone would not suffice in communicating her interest in the company and the position. She recounts that, “in addition to applying [for the position], I reached out to the Teradyne connection directly to give him more information about myself and reiterate my interest in the position. I got a response in the next few days, [scheduled and] came in for an interview, and I got a confirmation a few weeks later that [I received] the position [as a Mechanical Engineering intern].”
Elated to receive the offer, Raphino had no hesitation in accepting the position with Teradyne. Raphino found herself awed by the numerous aspects of the engineering field she experienced throughout her internship. “I really enjoyed being able to see the wide range of options engineering can offer you,” Raphino expresses. “In that one company, I saw at least twenty different jobs that an engineer would be able to do, and they were all so different.” Not only did Raphino discover the diversification of a career in engineering, she further realized the extent of the importance of experiencing the working world while still at the undergraduate level. “Getting that real industry experience is unlike anything you could learn in the classroom,” Raphino conveys. “[Industry experience allows you] to see how integrated and important every step is. The world of engineering in itself has so many different disciplines and areas you can go into, and you can’t really see that until you are in that space.”
Raphino certainly exhibits impeccable leadership skills and utmost diligence throughout both her academic and professional endeavors and strives to make the most of the opportunities around her. While she’s always possessed the drive to further her skills and career, Raphino additionally notes the O’Brien Center’s on-campus resources in aiding her professional progression early in her undergraduate academic career. “The most beneficial thing I have learned from the O’Brien Center for Career Development is just to be proactive and early in everything you do,” Raphino recalls of the initial development of her career. “When it comes to applying [for experiential learning opportunities], creating resumes, and just networking in general, it is always best to start early.” Raphino further looks back on the advancement of her career development beginning in her freshman year of college, stating, “I think the O’Brien Center’s biggest impact was helping me to get started on my resume early freshman year. They also [stressed the importance of getting] involved, so, I definitely think making good connections with professors and getting into academic clubs helps with networking.”
As Raphino reflects on her own career development journey, she offers vital insight and guidance for current undergraduate students and fellow engineering majors seeking to advance their own career success. She urges students, “the biggest but hardest step [to further your career development] is to just start. Whether it’s getting your resume looked at, applying to companies’ [open positions], or even chatting with others who have internship experiences, it’s very important that you don’t waste a second wondering.” Raphino goes on to stress the importance of exploring the realities of the working world and the careers available to a specific field of study as soon as possible during any student’s undergraduate career. “It’s very important to get internship experience so you are able to figure out what interests you and what you absolutely couldn’t picture yourself doing ever again,” Raphino suggests. “It’s better to figure out earlier what career path you might want to take when you still have the flexibility.”
Above all, Raphino urges her fellow undergraduate and engineering students to follow their passions first and foremost. “[To achieve career success, you need to] love what you are doing,” Raphino expresses. “For me, I couldn’t see myself studying anything other than engineering, and that has made going the extra mile so much easier. When you enjoy [what] you are learning, it makes is so much easier to put in the extra hours at a job or use your free time to do undergraduate research.”
Brianna Raphino’s experience with Teradyne as a Mechanical Engineering Intern and her participation in an abundance of on-campus organizations exhibits the indispensable significance of prompt and continuous professional development while still at the undergraduate level. It’s never too soon to take advantage of all the opportunities that exist on- and off-campus to aid in the progression of your career and develop vital skills and connections. All of the resources you need to transform the development of your career into your own career success exist all around you. Begin the path to your own career development by booking an appointment with your career advisor on Handshake and finding your own experiential learning opportunity with our Featured Jobs + Internships today!
Written By: Kerry Reynolds, Class of 2021