BSN Benefits - A Personal Experience


From time to time, when discussing the Berkeley Science Network (BSN) the idea of “program benefits” comes up.  What’s to gain from joining?  Admittedly, the idea of program benefits is a bit nebulous, especially for programs that are quite young.  Simply put, a lot of the members in programs that have freshly started haven’t had the time for the benefits of the program to fully manifest.  In this blog post, I want to share how Berkeley Science Network (BSN) has helped me outside of having a mentor.

Being involved in the program allows for one to have outside leadership opportunities.  So when I was asked to help match new students with mentors, I jumped on the occasion.  I saw it as a great opportunity to help the program and get to know my fellow students in the network.  What I did not anticipate was the opportunities that would come out of this.  Firstly, because of my participation with the program, I was given the chance to share my opinions with the campus newspaper, the Daily Californian.  Soon after the story went public, I started to get tons of emails from other news sources (The Guardian, Chemical and Engineering News, etc) wanting to also to do stories on the BSN and CA programs.  At that point, I decided that in grad school that any type of outside attention that you get must be good for your career and gave these other news agencies my thoughts on the CA and BSN programs and why I thought they were beneficial.

Fast-forward five months.  On campus interview season.  Probably one of the most stressful times of the year.  Everything you’ve worked for for the past 5 – 6 years boils down to a 20 minute interview session with recruiters from different companies .  It’s easy to get lost in the crowd of your peers too; after all, they all went to Berkeley and studied the same things you did too.  But before my interview with DOW chemical company, something awesome happened.  I had one of the interviewers come up to me to say that he already knew who I was.  Naturally, this all caught me off guard, but it turns out he had seen my interviews about BSN and CA in Chemical and Engineering News when they had come out months ago.

It’s this type of exposure that get’s me excited about the program.  No I didn’t get the job at DOW, but I’m sure my participation in the program helped me to stand out a little bit more during the process and gave me a leg up.  I anticipate too that during other interviews in the future, this will happen again.