Internship Experiences: Molly Pugh ’14, Marine Biology

Molly Pugh ’14 has always loved the ocean. Interning as an aquarist at Heal the Bay in Santa Monica, California, she was able to see how that passion might turn into a career. Her daily work included petting sharks and maintaining the aquarium.

At Dartmouth, Pugh is a biology major with a concentration in ecology. Learn more about her internship here:


Networking: Relax! You’ll be fine

Courtesy of

Image courtesy of

You grab a name tag, enter the banquet hall, and BANG! You’re off, sink or swim, the networking event has begun. Not dissimilar to speed dating, there is a certain awkwardness and rush as you try to navigate the forming conversation circles and hopefully grab some free food.

Networking events can be stressful for even the social butterflies among us, but they don’t have to be!  Here are a few tips to break the ice and come away with valuable business connections.

Start with the obvious

Enter a small group, introduce yourself by name, and shake hands with the each person you meet. Then jump right in and ask the obvious questions.  Why are you here?  Have you attended similar networking events before?  What kind of a job are you in?  This is a simple, straight-forward strategy and a good place to start!

Use props

Whether it’s the food table or someone’s clothing, use items around you as conversation starters.  Something like, “Wow, check out that food spread. Where to start?” or a compliment on someone’s jacket can open the floor to further conversation.

Fake it ’till you make it

Try to keep track of the little things that will set you up for success!  Remember to stay hydrated, maintain positive body language (no arm-crossing or slouching), and keep eye contact with the person you’re speaking with.  And smile!  An inviting posture will set you up for more positive interactions.

Ask questions

The easiest way to keep a conversation going is to steer it in new directions with a follow-up question.  Keep small talk going with questions about sports or where the other person is from.

Plan an exit strategy

You don’t want to be suctioned to one person or conversation group for the whole networking event! Plan an exit strategy to make sure you circulate between different crowds.  Try introducing someone new to the conversation group to take your place or explain that you are off to check out the food.  Ask for business cards and say you hope to be in touch soon.

You don’t have to remember all these tips, but be confident!  You’ll warm up as the night goes along, just stay positive and inquisitive.

Adapted from Ariella Coombs’s “18 Easy Conversation Starters for Networking Events.”

Internship Experiences: Sandra Okonofua ’14, Humanitarian Internship

Sandra Okonofua ’14 interned at Africare, a non-profit devoted to development projects to improve the lives of people living in Africa. Okonofua, who worked as a communications intern, said she was grateful for her exposure to the workings of a non-profit organization. She also enjoyed the passion that her co-workers had for humanitarian aid projects, which contributed to a positive, enriching work environment.

Okonofua ’14 is a sociology and psychology double major at Dartmouth. She is involved in a number of Christian organizations on campus and is a member of the Afro American Society, Women in Business, and Minorities in Business, among other organizations. Learn more about her internship here:

Alumni Stories: Maurissa Horwitz ’98, Sony Pictures Animation Editor

An image of Ms. Horwitz created by a fellow animation artist.

An image of Horwitz created by a fellow animation artist.

Maurissa Horwitz ’98, associate editor for Sony Pictures animation, has spent the last 15 years building up her experience editing film in Los Angeles.  She entered the field as an apprentice, worked on some television projects, and now edits full-length animation films. Some recent titles she has worked on include “Over the Hedge” (2006), “Monsters vs Aliens” (2009), “How to Train Your Dragon” (2010), and “Gnomeo & Juliet” (2011).

Position: Associate editor  for Sony Pictures Animation

Please provide a two sentence description of what you do:

I edit animated feature films, which includes cutting together storyboards and editing the various stages of animation with dialogue, sound effects and music.

What is most satisfying about your current work?

Honestly, I find a lot of satisfaction just in having a small part of bringing a movie to life. The cherry on top is that, since I work mostly in animation, my projects are family-oriented and I can encourage absolutely everyone to see them.

What’s the best way to enter your field? Any essential elements of preparation?

A film major isn’t necessary, but a serious interest in animation or film is required. Since there is so much film and animation equipment available to Dartmouth students with the gorgeous, new Black Family Visual Arts Center, I would recommend trying to get as much time in there as you can.

What advice would you give to others seeking opportunities in this field?

Being a great editor requires someone who is extremely detail oriented (one frame at a time), but who can also step back and see how the whole narrative is working. It takes time to cultivate those skills, so be prepared to spend quite a few years as an apprentice and assistant editor when you enter the industry. These are mostly organizational (not creative) roles, but what you learn from the various editors you work with and their management styles will be invaluable for a long career ahead.

Photo courtesy of Maurissa Horwitz.

Photo courtesy of Maurissa Horwitz.

How has Dartmouth supported you in your career development?

I have Dartmouth to thank for many reasons. First, the fact that a well-rounded liberal arts education is stressed at Dartmouth meant that when I decided to change from a chemistry major to film major in the middle of my junior year, it was easy and I was still able to graduate on time.  I had taken my time making that decision so I knew it was right for me.

Second, I found Dartmouth very challenging n every way. I really had to work my butt off for both good grades and to make personal connections with students and professors. If you want to tackle the entertainment business, you have to be a self-starter, work really hard and play very nice. The challenges of Dartmouth made me strong enough to be successful in this industry.

Lastly, the film studies department was incredibly supportive and encouraging, and having brilliant people who believe in you (which includes my parents) can make all the difference. My first internship came via an outdated listing at the career center; even though the program listed wasn’t offered any more, I kept calling and harassing the company and spent my first summer in LA working on a low budget sci-fi movie thanks to them. The apprentice editor I met that summer has been my mentor for 15 years.

Joseph Scott ’00, Senior Air & Missile Defense Operations Officer for the U.S. Army

Joseph Scott ’00
Senior Air & Missile Defense Operations Officer, U.S. Army
Fort Bragg, NC

What do you do?joseph_scott

I plan and coordinate air and missile defense operations for the US Army’s XVIII Airborne Corps, a rapid-deployment unit. My last job was teaching military history at the US Military Academy at West Point.

What is most satisfying about your current work?

The most satisfying aspect of my current job is the important role I play in serving my nation and supporting the young men and women who fight our nation’s wars. The most satisfying aspect of my job at West Point was the opportunity to mix thrilling, rewarding academic exploits with service to my nation.

What’s the best way to enter your field? Any essential elements of preparation?

In my opinion, the best way to enter my field is through ROTC, which allows you to mix challenging Army training with the “normal” Dartmouth experience. (Plus, a government-funded graduate degree, which most officers selected to teach at West Point receive, is also a plus.) If students missed out on the chance to do ROTC, they can still enter the Army through a traditional enlistment or through Officer Candidate School. The most important elements of preparation are to develop the self-discipline to balance the wonderful academic, social, and cultural experiences of College with the physical and mental requirements of military service.

What advice would you give to others seeking opportunities in this field?

Don’t be afraid of the military’s reputation as an anti-intellectual wasteland. The current operational and strategic environment requires the intelligent, well-rounded individuals, and the Army knows this. That’s one of the reasons they rotate officers in and out of teaching positions at West Point; they want graduate-educated thinkers in the operational force.

How has Dartmouth supported you in your career development?

The ROTC program had to be largely self-reliant during my time at the College, and that shaped me as a student and as an officer.

Get Outdoors for your Off-Term

Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service

Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service

Already missing your STRIPs hiking mates?  Want to be outdoors for your off-term to do service work or research?  Here are some helpful tips for all of the above!

Dartmouth Opportunities

The first place to look is DartBoard.  Log into the career service’s internship database and search keywords like “environment” in order to find opportunities that match your interest.  You can also change your account preferences on DartBoard to receive email updates about opportunities in this field.  Click “My Account” and “My Profile,” then scroll down to the additional information section to subscribe.

Next, try reaching out to Dartmouth alumni involved in environmental work.  Check out the general Dartmouth Alumni Network page, the Dartmouth Green Alumni page, and the Majors to Careers page. Shoot alumni a quick email for information about what they do in their position or advice about getting started in the field.

Finally, check relevant department pages for updates about alumni visiting campus, research positions, and job postings! Also, be sure to look through the webpages of program offices like the Dickey Center for International Understanding, Rockefeller Center, and Tucker Foundation for upcoming internships offered through those organizations.


Using DartBoard, you can gain access to a wide range of job databases sorted by career field.  Once you are logged in, click “Internships” then “Links by Careers.”  Choose “Environment” for general information about how to pursue a career in this field, a list of relevant organizations and resources, and a listing of job databases.  If you have any trouble navigating this site, stop into the career services office during drop-in hours for help.


Again in DartBoard, select “Internships” and “Links by Careers,” but now select “International.”  This will bring you to a page with a wide range of opportunities abroad, including a listing of environmental job postings.  This page also contains helpful information about how to apply and receive funding for international positions.  Stop by our office at 63 South Main Street for further assistance!

Internship Experiences: Kevin Griffith ’14, Bio-Medical Engineering

Kevin Griffith ’14 interned at a bio-medical engineering firm in Southern California and said he most enjoyed the non-traditional atmosphere of working at a small start-up. Each day was different, ranging from working on market products, building a 3-D printer, or playing hooky to ride the Disneyland roller coasters. (He’d make up the work on the weekend!)

At Dartmouth, Griffith is a an engineering major. He has helped as a teaching assistant for engineering classes and worked at Dartmouth’s heating plant. Learn more about his internship experience here:

Alumni Stories: Alexis Jhamb ’03, Commercial Coordinator at Chevron

Houston, TX
Energy Industry

Please provide a two sentence description of what you do.

I am a commercial project manager, responsible for alexis_jhambthe commercialization of all products (oil, gas, natural gas liquids) from new onshore developments. I also frequently work on joint ventures with partner oil producing companies.

What is most satisfying about your current work?

The ability to make a tangible impact on the domestic energy independence story for the US. The energy industry is constantly changing and the work I do is never the same from day to day– it keeps things very interesting for me!

What’s the best way to enter your field? Any essential elements of preparation?

Having an engineering degree is helpful (without one, I entered with an MBA). Chevron and other majors have structured recruiting programs post-college, and these allow you to get onto a quicker track than others. Reach out to alums who can guide you through the process.

What advice would you give to others seeking opportunities in this field?

Be persistent, and know that having a strong network can propel you into exciting roles. Don’t be afraid to take a job/role that you think you are overqualified for– chances are others will notice this also, but recognize your ability to step in where there is a need.

How has Dartmouth supported you in your career development?

The opportunities to study and work overseas (Beijing FSP, and then work in Taiwan during an off-term) remain those that were quite helpful to my career progression, as I later worked as a negotiator in Shanghai, using those language skills.

Alumni Stories: Matthew Megill ’00, Missionary Physician in Niger


Photo courtesy of the Christian Union

Matthew Megill ’00 is a missionary physician at a Christian hospital in Niger. His work focuses on HIV prevention and treatment. The hospital  employs 30 to 40 full time staffers and cares for about 300 outpatient and 100 inpatients daily.

Megill was a Classics major and involved in various Christian groups in his time at Dartmouth. He spent an off-term volunteering at a hospital in Jordan and taught middle school students at an English-speaking school in Cairo, Egypt following graduation. He received his medical degree from Temple University in 2005.

Position: HIV Program Director at Galmi hospital

Please provide a two sentence description of what you do:

I am a missionary physician serving at a Christian hospital in Niger. As HIV Program Director, I head HIV services, which covers screening, treatment, and outreach.

What is most satisfying about your current work?

I love to see our patients get better on ARVs (anti-retroviral medications). In 2012, we screened over 22,000 patients for HIV and follow about 600 on ARVs.

What’s the best way to enter your field? Any essential elements of preparation?

Medical school is pretty linear. Missions preparation involves quite a bit of concurrent screening and preparation as well.

What advice would you give to others seeking opportunities in this field?

Read widely and have a strong intellectual appetite.

How has Dartmouth supported you in your career development?

Dartmouth was a wonderful stepping stone.

Alumni Stories: Nick Baum ’05, Software Designer

Photo courtesy of Nick Baum

Photo courtesy of Nick Baum

Nick Baum ’05 worked as a software designer and product manager at Google before leaving the company in 2011 to start his own social media networking site, WhereBerry, a virtual “bucket list” where users share restaurants or movies they enjoy. More recently Baum founded StoryWorth, a website where users record their family stories.

At Dartmouth, Baum was a member of the varsity swim team and an associate French teacher. He graduated Dartmouth Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, with a major in computer science modified with economics.

Please provide a two sentence description of what you do:

StoryWorth makes it easy for people to record their family stories. As the sole founder, I’m responsible for everything from product design to programming to customer support.

What is most satisfying about your current work?

The most satisfying part about my work is hearing from real people who are closer to their families thanks to StoryWorth. Being a founder also means I have full control over how I prioritize my time, allowing me to do a variety of different things each day. It’s never boring!

What’s the best way to enter your field? Any essential elements of preparation?

The best way to prepare for being a software entrepreneur is to build things. You can absolutely do this while at Dartmouth: figure out a small product that you would find useful, and build the simplest version of that. Other than that, experience working at a small startup is invaluable.

What advice would you give to others seeking opportunities in this field?

If you’re a computer science major, I recommend taking risks early on. Having Dartmouth on your resume is great employment insurance, you’ll always be able to find a comfortable corporate job. Right now, you’ll learn a lot more by going to work for a small startup, or even applying to YCombinator and starting your own.

How has Dartmouth supported you in your career development?

I would not be doing this today if it weren’t for Dartmouth. I got a job as a software engineer at Google as part of their on-campus interviews, where I eventually became a product manager on Android and Google Chrome. Forget about investment banking and consulting – there are so many more interesting things you could be doing!

Is there anything that we haven’t asked you that you think we should?

A modified or double major is a great way to increase your job value. Scott Adams has a great blog post about this: if you want to be in the top 5% of what you do, you can either be in the top 5% of one discipline, or in the top 25% of two disciplines.