Brendan Lavallee ’22, a Merrimack College Senior majoring in Chemistry got promoted from an internship to a full time position at 6K as a Chemical Technician! Lavallee was a Chemistry Intern for two years before being promoted. Brendan can be found as a Chemistry Tutor and in the Atoms Family , which is Merrimack’s very own Biology and Chemistry club!
Congratulations on your new position. Thank you for meeting with me. Can you tell us a little bit about why you chose to work there? What makes this company a great place to work?
I was looking for an internship on Handshake, and I found that 6K was five minutes down the road. It’s a startup, and everyone works together. It can be a bit chaotic as new projects come and go, but it’s a great environment.
How did you find this position, and can you tell us a little bit about what you do there? And is there any advice you’d give to other students looking to break into this company?
My advice is don’t be afraid to reach out to employers and see what positions are available. I found the position through Handshake two years ago. I have gone through many roles there because it’s a startup. I do analytical work, processing data, and would make precursor material. Coming up in my full time position, I’ll be researching new battery technologies to make more efficient the current technology we use now.
Can you talk us through the process of finding and applying for your internship?
When I went onto Handshake, I filtered positions by what was within a 20 mile radius, and I saw that I didn’t have many options. I would have applied for the other places in Woburn if I hadn’t heard back from 6K so quickly.
How did you prepare for the interview? What was it like, and do you have any tips on interview techniques or questions?
I made sure my resume was up to date and that I was able to elaborate on it. I was only a sophomore when I applied for the internship so I didn’t have much experience, but I presented myself as open to learning new things. I advise that you always ask questions!
How did the O’Brien Center help with getting prepared to apply, with the interview or with the job search?
I went to a couple of Major specific networking events, where the O’Brien Center brought in alumni and employers to speak to students, and workshops hosted by Laura Thibodeau on resume building and interview processes, and those were very helpful!
In general, how did Merrimack contribute to your career development? What resources did you use?
Handshake, various O’Brien Center Events, and my professors Dr. Franco and Lauri Gibbons.
What surprised you about your internship experience? Were there any situations that came up that you were unprepared for?
In the later stages, I got more responsibilities. I would be put in charge of projects without much guidance, so that would be daunting.
What skills have you developed working for this company and what do you wish you had known prior to starting the internship there?
I learned a lot of lab skills! I noticed that what I learned in class would help me get better at my job, and what I experienced at work would push me ahead in class. It was a nice, symbiotic relationship between the two!
Any campus shout-outs to folks who have helped you along the way in getting you to this point?
Dr. Franco , Lauri Gibbons, and the whole Chemistry Department.
Speaking of your time at Merrimack, how did you grow in your time here? Were there any influential clubs, jobs, professors, or moments for you?
Dr. Franco and Lauri Gibbons were of course influential professors. And getting a lot of chemistry classes under my belt was great!