Bucky Walkush ’81 graduated from Cal U with a math and computer science degree — and a bit of a revelation.
“When I started working, I quickly realized that I could out-code my co-workers,” he says. “At Cal U, the equipment was great, and the program had a great reputation.That was proven with my first job.
“Cal U keeps expanding its programs, and those degrees fit very well in a plant environment.”
Walkush should know. As process control director at U.S. Steel’s Mon Valley Works, he has recruited students from the University for years to fill internship and co-op positions.
He targets students majoring in computer science, computer engineering technology, electrical engineering technology, mechatronics engineering technology, robotics engineering technology, and industrial technology management.
“They aren’t just making coffee and copies,” Walkush says. “When we get students, we put them right inas full members of the team.”
U.S. Steel is a co-op program,says Meaghan Clister ’88, ’91, director of the Internship Center at Cal U.Students are paid to work full time in the summer and part time during the academic year.
“Most of the people we hire permanently at U.S. Steel come to us through the co-op,” Walkush says.
Craig Lion ’18 and Edwin Valentin’17 both work for the Washington WildThings, a professional baseball team based in Washington, Pa.
Lion, who studied graphics and multimedia at Cal U, now works in creative services. Valentin, who was a sport management major, is in charge of ticket sales.
Both say being recent graduates helps them to recruit and mentor interns.
“I know what the students have learned already and how I can help them have an even better understanding of video, photography and design,” Lion says.
Valentin works with Dr. LauraMiller, associate professor of sport management, to identify students who are interested in an internship with the Wild Things.
“That major is all-encompassing –sales, marketing, finance – so I make sure to give interns the opportunity to do a variety of things,” he says.
All three agree: An internship experience is an important step toward a student’s career goals.
“An internship means you’re out there, feet on the ground, helping to run the game-day production and all the aspects needed in a sports organization,” Lion says. “If you don’t have that experience on a resume, you’re going to get pushed to the bottom of the pile.”
“Professional connections formed during an internship are also vital,” Valentin adds. “This can be a ‘who you know’ business.”
For Walkush, being an employer in a position to helpCal U students is a satisfying way to pay it forward.
“George Novak was instrumental in helping me obtain my first internship, and he’s helped countless students find internships over his many years at Cal U,” he says of the recently retired math professor.
“I’m glad that I’m in a position that can take advantage of the diverse computer and engineering technology programs that Cal U has to offer its students.
“It’s apparently a good match for U.S. Steel, since over 35%of my team members are Cal U grads!”
Is your workplace looking to fill internship or co-op positions? Contact Meaghan Clister, director of the Internship Center, at 724-938-4057 or firstname.lastname@example.org.