Helping Gonzaga University Students and Alumni Clarify and Achieve Their Academic and Professional Goals

Author: ws-mmccambridge

Summer in Williston Internship Program

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Want to make yourself more marketable to future employers?  Gain professional experience that relates to your major?  Secure a fantastic paid summer internship with housing provided?

If the answer to these questions is yes, check out the Fifth Annual “Summer in Williston” Internship Program, exclusively available only to Gonzaga students.  20 GU students will be interning in Williston, ND this summer in various organizations in the community. All housing is provided at Williston State College at no cost to students. Click here for a great video about the program.  Contact Vicki at Career and Professional Development with questions or if you would like additional information – or 509-313-4021

Applications are open in handshake – log in, go to jobs and search “Williston” and all positions will come up.  Following is a list of opportunities:


Construction Services Engineer – Strata Geotech (2)

Public Works and Engineering Intern– City of Williston


Agricultural Research Intern – NDSU Williston Research Extension Center

Horticultural Research Intern – NDSU Williston Research Extension Center

Vector Control Field Technician (2) – Williston Vector Control District


Williston Parks and Recreation Intern (2)


Tournament Coordinator – Links of North Dakota

Inventory & Accounting Asst. – Links of North Dakota

Business Development Associate – Williston Economic Development Council

Events & Marketing Coordinator – Chamber of Commerce

Marketing Intern – WSC Marketing Department

TrainND Operations Intern – Train ND Northwest

Executive Associate Intern – WSC President’s Office

Commercialization of Genomics


According to Alec Ross, the next trillion dollar industry will be created out of our very own genetic makeup. This industry is referred to as genomics. By definition, genomics is the study of genes and their function in recumbent DNA.

As described by Ross, genomic research has been present since Gregory Mendel, a Czech monk, located the foundations of heredity in the mid-19th century. In 1995, Haemophilus influenza, an infection causing bacteria, was sequenced for the very first time. Shortly after, in 2000, the first “draft” of a human genome was created. This draft cost a staggering $2.7 billion. However, Eric Lander, a human genomics researcher currently believes that the expensive price will drastically drop, allowing commercialization.

Understanding genetic makeups, is and will continue to significantly impact humanity.

In 2013, the genomics market was estimated to be just over $11 billion and is continuing to grow rapidly. According to PR Newswire, the US Genomics market is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 7.28% between the years of 2013-2018 and is projected to grow globally at an 11.21% CAGR during the same time. Companies such as Amgen, Genentech, Fred Hutchinson and 23andMe, just to name a few are setting the pace of this genetic research. However, there is one company that hits especially close to home for our Zags. Gonzaga trustee emeriti Davey Sabey was one of the first in the world to receive a scientific approach to wellness created by Seattle based startup Arivale.

Arivale is a biotech company founded by the celebrated Dr. Lee Hood. Dr. Hood believes that genetic testing will “fundamentally change the world in terms of health care.” Sabey experienced great success after receiving a personalized preventative health care plan from the company. Results are gathered from an in-depth review of the individuals DNA. In an interview with Kiro 7 news station in Seattle, Sabey reported that overall, life is better when you are healthy.

Arivale is expecting massive growth in their cliental. The company is hoping to cut the cost of their services as the market of genomics increases. Arivale is exploring the possibility of offering their services to other companies at a subsidized cost for employees. This is clear depiction of how advanced scientific approaches to medicine are becoming more accessible and traditional.

Bert Vogelstein, professor at Johns Hopkins and one of the most sought after scientists in the world (knowledgeable in the future business of genomics) has dedicated his life to cancer research. Researchers are hopeful that they will be able to ultimately develop a product that will “melt away cancer” as a result of the advancements in data gathering capabilities. In the words of Alec Ross, this development will “make today’s most cutting-edge treatments look absolutely primitive by comparison.”

However, genomics goes far beyond cancer treatment and is extending to brain and cognitive research.

Genomics increases the ability to better treat and diagnosis mental illnesses. Medications such as anti-depressants are effective, but come with dangerous and potentially long- terms side effects. It is important to recognize that when doctors are prescribing these drugs they are not doing so based on any concrete genetic determination but rather by experience and success rates explaining why dosages constantly fluctuate.

However, there is also a very controversial side to genomics that is important to note. A common concern is that genomics may become too personalized for medicine. Personalized medicine is “a form of medicine that uses information about a person’s genes, proteins, and environment to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease” (National Cancer Institute 2011). Many believe that Mother Nature is responsible for creating our DNA and our genetic makeup should not be tampered with by medicine or technology. It will be interesting to follow this advancement over the next few years and see what practices are approved and what is rejected.

Gonzaga University and University of Washington recently announced a partnership to further the field of medicine. UW, a national leading medical research institute, joined the academic excellence of our Gonzaga family to form a new “community-based medical education program.” The program will offer UW’s award winning medical curriculum and occupy Gonzaga’s facilities in Eastern Washington. The partnership hopes to strengthen and expand medical education and research in the Spokane area. Genomics is familiar to the UW School of Medicine and offers a Division of Medical Genetics and Genome Sciences within their program. The goal of the program “is to address leading edge questions in biology and medicine by developing and applying genetic, genomic and computational approaches that take advantage of genomic information now available for humans, model organisms and a host of other species.”

It will be exciting to see how the Gonzaga and University of Washington partnership contribute to this area of research globally, within the state of Washington and the Inland Northwest.

Artificial Intelligence Impacting the Workplace


Alec Ross dedicates time to addressing the topic of Artificial Intelligence in his book The Industries of The Future. This blog post I will offer my opinions regarding this subject matter as well as connect the piece to Gonzaga University.

Webster’s Dictionary defines artificial intelligence (AI) as “the power of a machine to copy intelligent human behavior.” The fact of the matter is that global business and production are growing at a pace that humans can’t keep up with. Therefore, to remain efficient, AI must be utilized. Whether something as simple as scheduling social media posts to as complex as self-operated vehicles, artificial intelligence is driving our future. AI is also transforming the world of Big Data. Information is being gathered every second and AI is necessary to organize this information, predict business forecasting and enhance productivity. Large businesses and corporations will need AI to survive.

The term “big data” is used to describe anything measurable that pertains to a specific company, organization or occurrence. Big data is a combination of metrics, from both digital and traditional transaction resources. These figures are comprised of unstructured and multi-structured data. Unstructured data is anything that might be pulled in through social media platforms or internal digital interactions such as text, email and audio files. Unstructured data assumes its name due to its raw and unorganized nature. In contrast, multi-structured data is very organized. Multi-structured data is extracted from fixed categories. For example, if Nordstrom was in need of analytics in women’s shoes they would look at retail purchases from specific categories, such as promotions, designs, regions etc.

The most important aspect of big data is the ability to decipher and understand it. This is where AI comes into play. AI sifts through information and is able to inform a company of the importance of metrics.

A large and growing part of AI is robotics. Many people believe that robotics and AI are something to be reckoned with in the future. However, it is important to realize that they already here and dominant in many industries. Robotics control the actions of a machine and are programmed to operate independently using sensors. Robotics are being used in factory labor, agriculture, environmental research, healthcare, solar energy, and more.

Gonzaga University reinforces this innovative significance. In fact, Gonzaga has its own robotics club. The club is “open to any students interested in working on engineering projects and gaining hands-on engineering skills.” The club’s main goal is to “experiment and learn while building and improving robots.” It is incredibly valuable for students to have personal operation practice with models of AI. Gonzaga is preparing students to think in a way that will be sure to benefit them in the future.

I was able to sit down with Matt Stanley, Gonzaga Sophomore, and member of the robotics club to gain additional insight into their work. Stanley explains that the club typically engages in year-long projects, or projects that may even extend over a year. The amount of projects are determined by the amount of club members. The more members, the more projects. Stanley was always fascinated with robotics but never had the chance to become involved with them until he came to Gonzaga.

Although its primary function is to develop its member’s engineering and manufacturing skills, the club continues to exemplify the Jesuit mission of caring for others. Stanley explains that their projects often revolve around what they can create for those in need. For example, the club worked on building a robotic hand and wheelchair for a student that would allow them to bowl. It is very admirable that these students invest time into furthering their professional interests while bettering the lives of others. The club continues to grow, expanding their capacity to take on more projects.

I think that Alec Ross would be very proud of the work that Gonzaga University is doing.

The Industries of the Future, Alec Ross


A question commonly posed by college students and industry professionals alike is “what should I be reading.” Answers may vary from the Wall Street Journal, to the Economist, to medical and technology news reports. Well, there is a new answer for this question: The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross.

Alec Ross began as a teacher with the organization Teach for America. This work led to a career in service and Ross ultimately co-founded the nonprofit One Economy. One Economy employs novel ways of delivering “technology and information about education, jobs and healthcare to low-income people.” Ross has since served as Senior Advisor for Innovation to Hillary Clinton during her time as Secretary of State traveling to over 40 countries discovering technological advancements.

The Industries of the Future focuses on what businesses will drastically impact our world. Ross focuses on three main points: artificial intelligence, commercialization of Genomics, and languages. According to Ross, these industries could have a similar if not greater effect as the internet over the next ten years. In addition, Ross describes what educational supplements will be most beneficial to students outside of the classroom.

Over the next few weeks, I will be providing my thoughts and opinions as I work my way through this fascinating book. I will also be discussing how specifically Gonzaga is contributing to these areas of innovation.

My Millennial Experience


The workplace today seems to be especially interested in millennials. Why? Because they are the emerging generation in the workforce. Millennials have grown up as digital natives and are innately technologically savvy. Our world is moving mobile and millennials are a powerful resource in discussing this transition.

While interning this summer, I was the youngest millennial in my department. In fact, I was the only college student at my location. Millennials are often associated with social media. Coworkers constantly presented me with social media questions such as “how does your generation use this platform?” “How frequently do you use it?” “Do you engage with companies and brands on social media? Or is it just for personal use.” I was excited that my opinion was valued and that I actually had insight to offer. I would explain the social side of millennials using media and my coworkers would explain the technical and commerce side. It was a win, win.

Part of my internship work was directly connected to my identity as a millennial. I selected and wrote content for Instagram and cataloged Wells Fargo specific information to be published on other platforms. I would choose content that I thought would be relevant to Wells customers and make a positive and measurable impact to their online presence. In addition, I was able to select images that would best portray and reinforce the brand of Wells Fargo while communicating a story. I had a great time learning all about corporate media and the imperative role it plays in business. I was also able to conduct a research project and present my findings to my department. The presentation included company best practices, millennial interviews and potential use cases.

I was able to participate in meetings with leading social media companies such as Facebook and Pinterest. I was even able to attend a meeting held at Pinterest’s headquarters, it was like eating lunch in a pinboard itself. As an avid social media user it was an amazing experience working directly with the companies that I engage with every day.

It is clear that employing millennials is mutually beneficial. The companies are able to obtain first-hand insight to the generation’s lifestyle and the millennials are able to learn about corporate work culture while engaging with working professionals.

8 Keys to A Successful Internship


After my sophomore year at Gonzaga, I took a leap of faith. I purchased a one-way ticket to San Francisco, placed an order for a futon that I would call “bed” for the next eight weeks and packed my bags. I would be spending my summer in the Golden Gate City interning for Wells Fargo in their Enterprise Social Media Department. I am a Public Relations major with a minor in English and Promotion. Interning for a company as large as Wells Fargo was a daunting thought. However, working for a large corporation provided great training and experience.

Based on my time there, here are eight keys to a successful internship:

  1. Be a good listener: It is important to be a good listener. You will learn by listening. Go to every meeting possible. Even if you have to skip lunch, the time you are able to spend with working professionals in the field or industry that you are interested in is incredibly valuable.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions: The company/organization hired an intern for a reason. Companies want interns who are eager to learn. There is no textbook for how to have a successful internship so learn by experience. If they wanted an expert they would have hired a full time employee. Asking questions will help you make decisions about your career path. You can ask questions about work or professional life. Do you ever see coworkers on the weekend? Have you always been in this industry? How long is your commute to work?
  3. Always be early: Being early to work will show that you are excited for each day you have the opportunity to intern. You will learn by being early. Always give yourself ample time to get to the office in case of traffic or road closures.
  4. Keep an in-office journal: I kept a journal of industry terminology I heard around the office and in meetings. I would research and memorize them on the commute home from work to ensure I could meaningfully participate in conversations. Bring your journal to meetings or conferences, if someone asks you your opinion.
  5. Keep an org-chart in your desk: Your first week you will most likely be given a flow chart of your organization- hang on to it! If you are not given one don’t be afraid to ask. Your employer will like that you are taking an initiative to learn more about the company culture. Keeping an org-chart in your desk will allow you to understand the structure of your company. Who is your boss, who is your boss’s boss etc.? It will also help to put faces to names. Co-workers will be impressed that you know who they are.
  6. Be yourself: Always be yourself, a professional and genuine version of yourself. It is easy to tell if someone is being disingenuous and that is not the image you want to portray. If you are not yourself, you will never know how well you assimilate with the company environment.
  7. Study the company: Studying the company is especially imperative when interviewing. Understand what your company stands for rather than just what they do. Who are their competitors, why are they competitors? Who are the largest shareholders? Who is the CEO? Have they had any recent mergers? Where is the headquarters?
  8. Keep a personal notebook of your experience: It is easy to remember highlights of your experience and specific skills acquired at the time but what about 3 or 5 months later? Keeping a personal notebook to document your experiences is a great way to never forget what you learned. Make sure to date the pages so you can track your progress. Tape business cards and interesting meeting quotes inside. Make it reflective of your time. This will also come in handy if you ever have to write about your internship experience in class or discuss work experience with future employers.

Treat an internship as a full-time job and embrace every minute of it. Don’t worry about making mistakes- everyone makes them! I had my fair share of office mishaps. Whether it’s burning something in the office kitchen, getting a nametag stuck in your hair at a conference, or showing up to three wrong buildings before finding the correct location, mistakes happen. They are part of the learning experience!

Millennials: Significance of Self-Expression


Social media has led to a new era of self-image and expression. Millennials have higher numbers of untraditionally dyed hair, piercings and tattoos than any other generation. The growth of social media has been a large contributor to this. “Body art” now has an audience. Millennials tend to feel more comfortable expressing themselves because everyone around them are doing the same.

Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest allow photos to be posted and individuals to actively engage with published content. Commentary and affirmation are received on photos and users are able to communicate with a global audience. Blogging has also assumed a huge role in the millennial world. Blogs are managed by individuals, groups or companies and may differ from personal dairies of fitness and weight loss to sports, politics, business, and entertainment.

YouTube has also played a large role in the embracement of self-expression. YouTube is a video-sharing website that engages the publics from around the world. Videos may include news streaming, tutorials, movies, animal videos, humorous self-submitted videos etc. YouTube even offers videos of tattoo artists administering tattoos if one is interested in getting their own piece of artwork. According to the organization Generation Waking Up, 53% of the total blogging population is 21-35 years old and over half of YouTube’s users are under 20 years old. In addition, Pew Research found that “three quarters have created a profile on a social networking site and one in five have posted a video of themselves online.”

For many millennials, they view themselves as a brand and social media is simply a means of promotion.

According to, 42% of managers said their opinion of someone would be lowered if they had visible body art. This is simply a mindset that will have to change if companies want to attract millennials. In general, tattoos are becoming less taboo and more accepted. Employers will often care less about professional appearance and more about the work produced. Of course, the extent of self-expression in the workplace will differ by company, clients and management. For example, an advertising firm may have different guidelines than a more conservative company such as a bank. It is important to remember that these guidelines are not to hinder the freedom of employees but uphold company and brand image.

Forbes found that millennials are also the most ethnically diverse generation which may translate to more prominent cultural expression in the workplace. Whether this expression is displayed by physical appearance of practice the workplace is becoming a reflection of global business.

In a study conducted by, Atenga Inc., “millennials showed they value self-expression up to eight times more than Baby Boomers.” Millennials are immersed in a politically progressive era and are less likely to pass judgement in the workplace.

Millennials: Transforming the Traditional Workplace


Millennials possess the power of adaptability. This is due to the fact that they were born and raised in a dynamic environment that has learned to embrace change simply because it is inevitable. In many cases change actually excites millennials. According to The Daily Muse, the desire for flexibility in the workplace is attributed to four main reasons: “work-family balance, continuing skills education, the disappearing corporate office, and the company’s bottom line.”

Millennials, just like anyone else, are involved with their families. Whether caring for their children or their parents, millennials are occupied by personal responsibility. Many are also perusing a degree while working. Graduate or undergraduate, this generation is continuing their education. In fact, companies occasionally pay for schooling for their full time employees. Often, millennials report that working in the morning and taking classes at night is the only option for pursuing a graduate program.

Collaboration is also embraced by millennials. Many meetings are conducted virtually due to the continued growth in global business. Companies often have contract employees in other countries and on other continents. Businesses and individuals have realized traveling halfway across the world to attend client meetings is unnecessary when technology can often facilitate the same communication (Skype, Facetime, etc.). This saves both time and resources.

Millennials are constantly in search for work with a purpose. They want to make an impactful contribution the world around them. This desire is what often leads them to smaller companies and startups. In fact, millennials often explain that working for a startup or creating their own is their dream job. When one hears the word startup, they often think of company equity, flexible hours, an energetic atmosphere, and having a voice. Startups are notorious for their reputation of having relaxed environments. They often offer complementary food, drinks, an on-site gym, ping-pong tables etc. Why is this? Newer companies promote an entertaining and interactive workplace to attract top talent. Startups dismiss the traditions of a suit-and-tie workplace in favor of a more relaxed and self-expressive environment.

Many millennials also work multiple jobs. Therefore, flexibility is imperative to their financial stability and professional future. According to The Washington Post, lack of flexibility is a leading reason why millennials have quit their jobs. Ernst and Young found that millennials want flexibility and to still “be on track for promotion.” For millennials, flexibility is an expectation rather than a reward.

Stanford economics professor Nicholas Bloom concluded from a study that working remotely actually increases productivity. Over the duration of nine months, Bloom observed 250 employees of a travel website. Half of the employees worked from home, and the other half worked in office. Bloom found that by diminishing the time it takes to physically commute to work and eliminating the distractions of an in-office environment produced a measurable and positive outcome. Bloom found that the out-of-office employees increased their overall performance by 10% compared to their fellow employees in office, saving the company $1,900 per employee. In addition, not only did their productivity increase but as did their overall job satisfaction.

It is important to understand that employees are the most expensive part of a company. According to Forbes, 87% of companies report a cost between $15,000 and $25,000 to replace each lost millennial employee. Employment Network Hourly, recorded that “full-time telecommuting can save companies between $20,000 and $37,000 per employee per year.” TIME Magazine pointed out, by the year 2025, Millennials will comprise 75% of the global workplace. If companies want to save money and retain talent it is clear that they will have to embrace this change in work culture.

Millennials: Thrifty and Thriving

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According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, millennials are the most well educated generation in America’s history. Education is expensive; this cost translates into high levels of debt and unpaid student loans for graduating students. Millennials value their dollar and are more likely to spend money on advantageous experiences, such as college, than mundane material items.

According to LinkedIn Business, the degrees most likely to be held by a millennial are: information science and technology, computer science, electronics, international business and computer engineering. All of which are deemed extremely lucrative and sustainable careers.

A leading reason for this is that the millennial generation witnessed firsthand the repercussions of the stock market crash and are instinctively frugal with their spending. Bloomberg refers to millennials as the “frugal generation”, and states that they often consider the “resale value” of a product before making a purchase. In fact, a study conducted by Accenture concluded that 43% of millennials identify themselves as “conservative investors.”

This conservative nature has led to an increase in self-employment. Many millennials forgo joining large companies due to the fear of another economic crash. They would rather be self-employed and in control of their own paychecks. Millennials believe that self-employment offers a sense of financial security.

Goldman Sachs found that millennials are also more likely to rent than buy, use public transportation than own a vehicle, and prolong living with their parents in hopes of gaining financial stability. They often maintain the mindset of purchasing what they need, not what they want. Another contributing factor in this decision making process is that millennials change jobs far more frequently than those before them. According to Forbes, 91% of millennials expect to stay in their current job for less than three years. This means that millennials may change jobs 15 – 20 times over the course of their working lives.

It is evident that millennials embrace flexibility in the workplace. This flexibility ranges from a change in hours or location to an opportunity for promotion and balancing work and family life. Overall, flexibility is imperative to this generation. Next week we will be exploring how flexibility plays an important role for millennials and their careers.