Take the Leap Abroad and in All You Do
Boston is a great college town, and it can be a major draw for Northeastern University students. It certainly was for Macy Parchment, E’22, a junior chemical engineering student. While being in Boston has certainly had many advantages, it’s her international experience that stands out as she looks back at her college career so far.
In 2019, Parchment took the opportunity to study and do research at the University of Sydney in Australia.
“I truly enjoyed my research opportunity because I got the chance to go somewhere as cool and beautiful as Australia, and at the same time gain experience in my field,” she says.
From May to July, Parchment worked in the lab of a professor at the University of Sydney, and with his grad students, researching better sustainable battery materials. Not only was it enjoyable to be immersed in a totally different culture, the experience helped her further focus on what she might want to do after graduation.
“It was nice to get hands-on research experience,” she explains. “It showed me that I wouldn’t mind working in a lab in the future.”
Back in the United States, Parchment is currently on a co-op with TechnipFMC in downtown Boston. She works with a team of process engineers creating delivering status updates, generating deliverables for process design packages, and ensuring the safety of chemical plants by doing things such as process safety valve calculations for different projects.
While she hasn’t figured out her exact career path yet, Parchment’s co-op experiences have helped her narrow her focus.
“I plan on using my current and future co-op experiences to narrow down my field of choice,” she says. “I think I would like to be in the environmental sector, but as I complete my co-ops I may find something I like even more!”
Parchment is active around campus, as well. Since she started at Northeastern, she has been involved in Northeastern’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, the Black Engineering Student Society (BESS). In addition to the academic and networking benefits, the organization has felt like home.
“This Black Engineering Student Society has really enriched my time here by providing me with a space where I feel truly at home with people I could ask for help with anything,” she says.
Parchment also recently earned the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) scholarship, which is offered as part of Northeastern’s new partnership with the organization. Not only will the scholarship help with expenses, it opens up networking and career opportunities, as well.
“Being a NACME scholar and Northeastern student gives me a very large network that I will be able to use to get job opportunities,” Parchment says. “Thanks to Northeastern’s co-op program and a NACME career fair I attended, I had the opportunity to talk to reps from big companies and will hopefully land a co-op — and maybe even a full-time offer — at one of the companies.”
Based on her experience at Northeastern, Parchment emphasizes the importance of networking opportunities for those interested in a career in engineering. Being an engineer, she also has some practical advice: Build a professional LinkedIn profile — including a good headshot — so you’re ready to take the next step with those company reps you meet.
She also stresses the importance of “going for it,” as she did by taking the jump and traveling to Australia.
“Just because you might not have all the preferred qualifications for a job or internship does not mean you can’t apply,” she says. “If you like the job and believe you can do the work, apply!”