January 21, 2016

More than two dozen undergraduate students discussed potential internship opportunities and engineering careers with representatives from chemical company BASF as part of the first “Take a Tiger to Lunch” event of the new year.

The program, which invites undergraduate students from various disciplines to interact with corporate and industry partners during a casual lunch on campus, began last year and has since expanded. To date, IBM, Entergy and BASF have hosted sessions, and Entertainment Arts (EA) is next in line.

Erica Pater, assistant manager of external relations, said the program is designed to bring industry leaders to the students and to provide a space for them to interact in a relaxed atmosphere.

“We wanted these interactions to be more intimate and feel like conversations, not interviews,” she said. And so far the events have seen great success.

“Our students seem to get a lot out of these sessions,” Pater said. “Many of them have no idea what they want to do after graduation, and this is a good way for them to explore their options and hear from the employees first-hand.”

Annie O’Keefe, a chemical engineering sophomore who attended the BASF session on Thursday, said she enjoyed the “more informal environment” of the lunch.

“I didn’t feel rushed,” she said, noting that some networking events, where lots of students are competing for time with company representatives, can feel crowded and overwhelming. What’s more, she said: “The representatives today were really open and honest.”

Five BASF representatives, most of whom were only a few years removed from college themselves, led Thursday’s lunch discussion. Sarah Roark, a project and process engineer at BASF and a 2010 chemical engineering alumna, was among them.

“This was a really great environment—for us as recruiters and for the students,” Roark said. “It was relaxed, which enabled them to open up and ask good questions.”

The question-and-answer portion of the discussion touched on everything from how to be successful in the company’s internship program to whether students should list their GPA on their resume to financial responsibility after college.

Roark said students she talked to afterward all had positive feedback, and she hoped they gained a better understanding of what BASF had to offer, among other takeaways.

“LSU and BASF have a great, strategic relationship,” she said. “And it’s mutually beneficial.”

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To learn about upcoming Take a Tiger to Lunch sessions, visit the College’s event calendar or follow @LSUEngineering on Twitter for updates. To learn more about how your company can host one of these sessions, contact Erica Pater at 225-578-8408 or at ericap@lsu.edu.



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