Encouragement and advice for 2020 CSE Graduates

Words of advice and encouragement

"A couple of recommendations as you transition from college to a career. First, I think it is important to be a lifelong learner. The world and all of our professions are constantly changing. We need to always be ready for our next challenge by learning. Second, get to know the people in your new career opportunity. Each company's environment is different. It is important to understand how the organization is unique and how your skill can make a difference to be successful."
         -Mary Kurth (Physics '72, Accounting '74, M.B.A. '76)

"Develop not just your technical skills, but more importantly, your people skills."
         -David Stark (Geo-Engineering '78)

"In these unprecedented times, your creativity and imagination are more important than ever."
         -Amy Anderson (Computer Science '87, Journalism '87)

"When transitioning into a new beginning in your life, always know your self-worth, take care of your mental health, play to win, wish others well, open up to learning and new experiences, and connect with people from all [areas of] expertise."
         -Sylvester Nwosuji (Biomedical Engineering graduate student)

"Be curious, creative and tenacious. Create value for customers. Care for your values and ethics."
         -Padraig McGuire (Mechanical Engineering ’81)

"Look for the good, see the big picture, and be purposeful."
         -Jane Wissinger (Chemistry professor)

"You all have succeeded in engineering school because you are hard workers and have developed skills and tactics that work for you to figure things out. Your hard work ethic and the skills and tactics you have developed will continue to serve you well as you transition from education to your careers. Things are different once you are fully into your career, but what has worked for you in being a student will work for you in your job. And you will find you never stop developing more skills and ability. Work hard and you will do great!"
         -Eric Snustad (Aerospace Engineering '94)

"Always seek to learn, be humble in your successes, and maintain a positive outlook. You have learned to solve any problem, and that is the greatest skill!"
         -Alyssa Sandholm (Biomedical Engineering '14)

"Stay the course and be confident that you can solve whatever problems you encounter with the skill set you've been given. Never stop learning and questioning. There are no easy answers, that's why you chose engineering."
         -Mark Mixell (Aeronautical Engineering '70)

"Above all else, communicate with, and be responsive to your superiors as well as your co-workers and those whom you direct."
         -Richard Haney (Electrical Engineering ’60)

"These are strange times - give yourself some time to find a job or settle in at graduate school - whatever is next in your path. Remember that you will not always be able to predict what is going to happen next."
         -Paul Crowell (Physics and Astronomy professor)

"Say "yes" to as many opportunities that are presented to you as possible. You'll never know what will become your passion until you try it. Keep an open mind and educate yourself; professionally and personally. The experience and education you've gained at Minnesota will open many doors and cultivate many valuable relationships for you, but only if you take the initiative."
         -Ben Koch (Aerospace Engineering '04, Master's in Mechanical Engineering '10; CSE Collegiate Life)

"Take a moment to reflect on this milestone in your life. It's an achievement that deserves its own moment in time and will stay with you the rest of your life."
         -Frank Kelso (Mechanical Engineering '78, Master's '87, Ph.D. '93; Mechanical Engineering professor)

"Be hard working and humble, and you will find opportunities to pursue."
         -Paul Dauenhauer (Chemical Engineering Ph.D. '08; Chemical Engineering and Materials Science professor)

"Keep an eye on your short-term goals but be flexible so you can take advantage of emerging opportunities where you find them. Trust yourself, but don't hesitate to seek advice from your friends, colleagues, and mentors. Good luck!!"
         -Joseph Konstan (CSE Associate Dean; Computer Science and Engineering faculty)

"Don't forget your mathematics! No matter what career path or further education you choose, the more math you know and remember, the more you will succeed."
         -Peter Olver (School of Mathematics professor)

"Be a lifelong learner and never stop being curious. Your life will be more satisfying if you remember this. If you fail, get back up and remember that it is going to be okay. If you are to be truly successful, remember that setbacks are not brick walls. They are hurdles and you will overcome them. Aspire to do your best whenever you can and find joy in your work. If you value what you do, you will be successful. Your job is part of your life. It is not your life, so be sure to take care of yourself and those you love. You got this!"
         -Shana Watters (Computer Science '06, Linguistics '07, Ph.D. Computer Science '10; Computer Science and Engineering faculty)

"Follow your dreams!"
         -Evan Skillman (Physics and Astronomy professor)

"Congratulations! Your hard work will pay off."
         -Mark Distefano (Chemstry professor)

"Each of us must follow our passions. Each of us must contribute to society. If we do that, we will have a sparkle in our eyes forever."
         -Joseph Kapusta (Physics and Astronomy professor)

"It can get really hard out in this world. Most of you will have to start from the bottom and work your way up. This is okay and it is the way of the world. Be thirsty for knowledge, learn as much as you can from anyone that is willing to teach. Always be willing to do something out of your comfort zone, just to see if you can challenge yourself."
         -Karyn Schaar (Minnesota Geological Survey staff)

"Don't be afraid to take a leap of faith and follow your heart and your gut. Your brain will come with you and help you make a success out of whatever path you choose. There is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, but what is certain is that you have the knowledge, skills, determination, and power to make great things happen. Give yourself permission to try!"
         -Claire Schmidt (Master's Organizational Leadership and Policy Development '14, CSE Academic Advisor)

"Keep the faith. Hard work, intelligence and knowledge will pay off for you."
         -Perry Leo (Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics professor)

"The skills you learned in navigating the University and the current pandemic will serve you well in the future. Continue to be curious, flexible, and resilient!"
         -Kimberly Kosto (Chemical Engineering and Materials Science associate professor)

"Challenge yourself and seek to learn every day. Take pride in what you do and connect with others in your field and beyond."
         -William Arnold (Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering professor)

"Resilience is the key to success. Keep persevering through the setbacks, rejections, and nay-sayers and you'll achieve any goal you set your mind to!"
         -Lana Yarosh (Computer Science and Engineering assistant professor)

"Take some chances and seek out opportunities, it's amazing the places they will take you."
         Josie Kahlenbeck (Computer Science and Engineering undergraduate advisor)

"You are part of a community of over 70,000 alumni - tap into that network to help you when you need it. Collectively our alumni have lots of wisdom and experience, and in my experience most people are happy to share what they've learned if you just ask."
         -Joelle Larson (CSE Alumni Relations staff)

"May diligence, responsibility, ethos, and fairness always guide your lives."
         -Damian Damiani (Technology Leadership Institute student services staff)

"This was just the beginning of your learning. You built a foundation with the fundamental science of chemistry. You can take it in any direction you want to go. Keep learning, keep discovering, and keep enjoying the process that makes you grow."
         -Stephanie Stathopoulos (Business Education '94; Chemistry student services staff)

"As you commence your next chapter, I implore you to embrace the wisdom of Maya Angelou who said, "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." Hold yourselves to the highest standard possible—your personal best. Be open to continued growth and learning, especially from unexpected sources. Extend grace and forgiveness to yourself as often as needed (and it will be needed a lot!). College may be finished, but we are all imperfectly beautiful works in progress."
         -Kelsi Klaers (Master's of Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy '13; CSE Collegiate Life staff)      

"Be your whole self, keep growing both personally and professionally, contribute all your talents to causes worthy of them!"
         -Alon McCormick (Chemical Engineering and Materials Science professor)

"Never stop being curious and design your life so that it's easy to do the things you actually want to do. Make time to reflect on your life and don't be afraid to change course if you need to. Just because you have "X" degree doesn't mean you're stuck doing that thing forever! People grow and change; that means you too! Remember, we're all equally clueless about life, so don't feel like you're the only one who doesn't have it figured out; we're all in this together!"
         -Ben Guengerich (CSE Student Workshops staff)

"Don't be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone but do check in with yourself every once in a while to make sure that you're still finding joy, satisfaction, and growth in your work. If not, make a change!"
         -Sarah Erickson (Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance '12; Biomedical Engineering student services staff)

"Take a step back to determine your gifts, passions, and values and let them guide your path."
         -Megan Orr (CSE Alumni Relations staff)

"In success and in hardship, apply the principles we have taught you: be ambitious and passionate - reach for the stars; be humble and full of empathy - wherever you are, you are a human being first. Good luck!"
         -Shaul Hanany (Physics and Astronomy professor)

"Always stay open to learning new things, trying out new ideas, and taking new paths in your career!"
         -Ellen Longmire (CSE Associate Dean; Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics faculty)

         -F. Favonia (Computer Science and Engineering assistant professor)

"Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. The most growth, learning and success in your career will come from pushing yourself outside your comfort zone and taking risks."
         -Becca Dahlen (Mathematics '14)

"Live the life you dreamed of and be proud of your accomplishments. Keep in touch with your college friends, faculty and staff. We have so much in common now that you are a graduate!"
         -Susan Kubitschek (Assistant Dean, CSE Student Services)

"My advice: While it’s customary to wish everyone has a smooth path, in many ways, the challenges we face are what lead to growth. So, embrace the challenges. This is how you can continue to grow and learn more not just about the problem at hand but about yourself."
         -Sue Mantell (Mechanical Engineering professor)

"As you go out into the world, look for opportunities, take chances and continue to learn and grow! You will do great things that matter!"
         -Lorraine Francis (Chemical Engineering and Materials Science professor)