Graduate Institution: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership, M.Ed.
Undergraduate Institution: California State University, Monterey Bay, Film and Television Production, B.A.
Department: Baskin Engineering Career Success
Erin Busch worked in professional development in the financial services industry for 12 years before joining the Baskin School of Engineering last summer as a career engagement specialist. She specializes in career coaching and professional development programming. She is passionate about helping students navigate internship and career opportunities and gain the skills needed for long-term professional success.
What drew you to the Baskin School of Engineering?
Prior to joining the Baskin School of Engineering, I worked in professional development in industry for 12 years. I primarily did continuing education programming for financial executives. I found myself wanting to do something more meaningful, so when the pandemic hit, I thought it was a great opportunity to go back to graduate school.
I knew the educational component of professional development was my favorite part of the work I was doing, so I went back to school to get my master’s in education from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. After graduating in spring of 2022, I was determined to find a role in academia. I saw that UCSC was hiring for an engineering career engagement specialist. I thought that this role was an excellent fit as it combined a lot of work that I had been doing to the work I was striving to do. Also, I’ve always enjoyed the beauty of this campus and its strong research commitment. I’ve been here for almost a year now, and I’ve loved every day of it.
Describe your role as the Baskin Engineering Career Engagement Specialist.
There are essentially three components to my role. One component is working one-on-one with undergraduate and graduate students, where I do career coaching, advising, and counseling—basically everything from career exploration to job offer evaluation and negotiation and all that falls in between.
Another aspect is creating career education programming, which includes developing workshops, panels, and training that prepare students for career success. The last component is working with industry. Getting industry partners to come and speak at workshops and teach on professional development skills is my primary focus when forming connections with industry. I also hope by gaining these connections to industry, it will help create pipelines for students and allow me to gain a deeper understanding of what industry is searching for in their applicants so I can better prepare my students. One of my longer-term goals is to collaborate with faculty to develop experiential learning opportunities for engineering students.
What are a couple programs that you’re involved in and would like the engineering student community to be aware of?
In addition to individual career coaching and advising, I host one or two alumni panels per quarter, touching on things like a day in an alum’s life to a spotlight on a specific industry role. Other programming includes technical interview workshops, resume workshops, and company spotlight talks. You can find upcoming career success events and workshops listed on the UCSC Handshake platform. In the interest of keeping things fresh, I’m always seeking new professional development ideas, and encourage students to reach out to me with their suggestions.
What’s your favorite thing about being a part of the Baskin community?
I love the energy and ambition in our community. It’s really great to work for a mission-driven organization, and I’m continuously inspired by our engineering students. My role is very rewarding. It’s great to have students come back and tell me that they landed that internship or job I helped them apply for or express their gratitude for the advice and guidance they’ve received.
What advice do you have for students looking for internship opportunities?
Most of the time, companies have their summer intern selections confirmed by the fall or winter prior, so it’s critical to start applying to summer internships as soon as you return from summer break, if not during. If you don’t land an internship right away, get involved in as much as you can, such as collaborating on research projects, joining student clubs, and flexing your creative skills. All of these will help build up your resume and increase your chances of being selected for a future internship or job opportunity.
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