Making the Most of your Second-Year Experience

My name is Kali Soltano and I am a sophomore majoring in Civil Engineering with a construction engineering management concentration here at Clarkson! I love spending time outdoors with my friends and meeting new people. I keep myself busy by involving myself in a multitude of activities and organizations around campus during the school year. I ask a million questions in my daily life so I try my best to answer questions as a university tour guide, recruitment chair of SWE, Public Relations Coordinator of CUSA and just as a talkative human.

While balancing your classes and clubs may seem like a lot of work, it helps to keep you focused and manage your time better. On-campus organizations I am involved with include being the recruitment chair for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the Public Relations Coordinator for the Clarkson University Student Association, as well as a University tour guide. I also work for the University Rock Climbing Wall. I get involved off campus by hiking and hanging out with friends. We like to go to cafes and study on a weekend to relax. 

Student Leadership

I have been fortunate enough to hold leadership roles in both SWE and CUSA Senate. In SWE, I serve on the board and I am responsible for recruitment. This means I am in charge of organizing the SWE chapter to participate in open houses and accepted student days in an effort to get more students involved in the organization.

My second leadership opportunity is through CUSA Senate, as the Public Relations Coordinator, serving on the Executive Board. The title has come with many large responsibilities with devoting at least 5 hours a week to CUSA-related activities. I coordinate events for CUSA Senate in the fall semester like pre-orientation and the CUSA Carnival. The biggest part of the role is planning and coordinating the pre-orientation (pre-o) experience for incoming freshmen. This is a large project that helped develop my leadership skills. Pre-O is one of my favorite events to plan because it is a great opportunity for new students to be welcomed to Clarkson. I have had other leadership roles before but this one was an eye opener and I had to rethink my work/life balance and how to manage my time, especially as a sophomore. I learned that the phrase, “leading by example” is not just a phrase but a helpful tool and a reminder that humans can only do so much – especially college students.

One of my responsibilities is to lead the activities committee within the CUSA Senate. I had so much fun getting to know what goes into planning large-scale events and all the different moving parts that help these events run smoothly. There are a lot of logistics, planning, ordering and organizing that goes into these events that I am responsible for and I find it to be the most exciting part of the job. 

Professional Development

The career fair is an invaluable opportunity to attend at Clarkson. The connections that I have made during the career fair led me to get a job working for the Federal Highway Administration last summer, and an internship for Whiting Turner this upcoming summer. My advice to any student is to continue to make connections and take the first step to talk to others; this has helped me in many different ways. My leadership roles have helped because employers are interested to know more when I say that I planned a $22,000 event as a rising sophomore. The experience of planning and executing an event of that scale is a good conversation starter and shows how you can manage large tasks/projects and instills confidence. 

If you are interested or need an international experience, the International Center is the place to go. This upcoming spring semester, I am studying abroad in Scotland at Strathclyde University. I am very excited and can’t wait to meet new students, make new friends and explore a new country.

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