WORDS OF WISDOM
Eighteen alumni offer the Class of 2021 advice to live by.
KA-PI HOH ’84, MS ’87, PHD ’89, Organizational Change Manager, research chemist, Lubrizol Corp., Painesville, Ohio, Macromolecular Science and Engineering
Know the business you’re in and how you contribute to the bottom line. Network broadly to understand how the organization works and who does what. Sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know...
and, even more importantly, how you work with them. Cultivate your emotional intelligence and your ability to work with others.
Even after graduation, continue to learn, develop and grow yourself. Take risks, be flexible/adaptable and be open to feedback. Identify and tap your passions and your strengths.
There are more opportunities to be successful
doing something you enjoy.
Take notes and take risks: As you move on to exciting new opportunities, take good notes. Overconfidence bias lets us think we’ll remember what seems clear to us in the present, but it’s so easy to forget why you made a certain decision or how you calculated a certain result. I have a lab note- book I maintain in Google Drive for each of my projects, with headings for each calendar date I worked on the project along with whatever I learned. This is like a searchable augmented storage system for your brain.
Also, take risks! You’ll never again be as young as you are today (that’s true for all of us!) so try saying yes to new experiences. It can help you overcome fears and you can almost always change your mind if it doesn’t work out.
IAN CHARNAS ’05, Co-founder and Director of Innovation and Technology, Sears think[box], Cleveland, Ohio, Mechanical and Computer Engineering
CARMEN FONTANA ’00, MS ’05, Leader of Modern Software Delivery practice, Centric Consulting, Chagrin Falls, Ohio, Computer Engineering and Management
My best advice is to be “open to opportunity.” Your career does not need to be linear – don’t feel obligated to stay in one lane. Some of my best career growth came when I took a step off the beaten path to try something completely unexpected.
If you have the ability, focus on working on things that will fundamentally improve the world, society, or even life for a small group of people. Alternatively, work on things that help other people build things that improve the world, society, or even life for a small group of people. Question whether every piece of work you’re about to do has a meaningful outcome. Focus on these outcomes, not just output. It’ll help you make meaningful change that will compound. Also, these things worth doing and building are often really, really, hard. But that’s what makes them worth doing.
PRINCE GHOSH ’19, Co-founder and CEO, Workbench, Palo Alto, California, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
GLENN RICART ’71, MS ’73, PHD, Computing pioneer, enshrined in the Internet Hall of Fame, Salt Lake City, Utah, Computer Engineering
You’re much more likely to achieve a goal if you plan for it. There are few limits to what you can accomplish if you don’t take credit for it. Let your skills support your idealism.
LARRY SEARS ’69, Inventor/developer of new technologies, including remote meter reading, Chagrin Falls, Ohio, Electrical Engineering