On Oct. 17, three Asperger Initiative students at Mercyhurst University (AIM) traveled to the First Annual Mentoring Day at PNC Financial Services in Pittsburgh, PA., in part to recognize Disabilities Awareness Employment Month. The AIM program is for students with Asperger’s syndrome, the high-functioning level of Autism.
Senior Dan Pietrasiewicz, a computer science major, is one of the AIM students who went to the event.
Pietrasiewicz and three other AIM students, along with five other students in the area, were chosen to participate in this event. The trip was paid by parents of a graduate who was also in the AIM program.
Pietrasiewicz described the event as: “meeting with a bunch of people of different fields that are picked specifically because of your resume. There’re going to give you about a 20-minute brief of their field and answer some questions, and we also spoke the with person in charge of the technology division. He spoke with us, and we did a Q & A panel, a quick one, where people just told us how they got where they are.”
The students then separated into groups and went to observe employees from a company. This is called shadowing.
“My group went to U.S. Steel, and we met with various people from various divisions,” Pietrasiewicz said. “They gave us some information, gave us contact information, and just gave us a quick overview of what they do.”
Pietrasiewicz previously thought that the students would be shadowing just one employer; however, he was surprised that it was multiple employees.
“I had the impression that we would be doing some job shadowing, where we be going around, following one person around,” Pietrasiewicz said.
“But that turned out not to be the case, it might be better that way, because we got more of an extensive knowledge of multiple fields than just a really good knowledge of a single field.”
Pietrasiewicz said that he learned a lot from this job convention.
“I learned that there’s a couple areas in my field that are going to be very viable in the short term future. There are some fields that people are retiring in. I learned that there’s some more programming numbers that I have to study at to be more successful. So I’ve got extensive knowledge that I can use to better prepare myself for when I graduate.”
Pietrasiewicz gave advice for students that are interested in going to a job convention.
“Have your resume ready, have a couple copies printed out, listen, do more listening than speaking, check to see about the field’s future growth potential, which basically means, how many openings there will be and how long will this be viable for,” he said. “Dress good, dress nice, take tic-tacks, make a good impression. And try not to be too funny, just be yourself.”