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New Graduates Building Careers | SUNY Plattsburgh

Many of the newest SUNY Plattsburgh alumni have already begun their first jobs as college graduates.

From computer hardware work with a defense contractor to service with a human development agency, the 325 students who graduated in December 2015 are pursuing a range of paths.

Kessley Duncan, who majored in computer science, is a hardware engineer for Lockheed Martin in Liverpool, N.Y. The department at Lockheed Martin in which Duncan works tests the hardware the company manufactures before it’s distributed to clients.

“They’re (Lockheed Martin) a defense contractor, so it makes sure no equipment fails when it's in the field or there’s no bug that could cause the wrong outcome.”

Annie Lecompte-Maynard, a human development and family relations major, is a skill builder at Behavioral Health Services North (BHSN) in Plattsburgh.

As a skill builder, Lecompte-Maynard works with children who have severe emotional issues to improve behavior and develop life skills.

While it is difficult, she finds her job rewarding.

“I value helping others,” she said.

Active Process

The two graduates said networking, internships and polished application materials were some of the biggest factors that won them success in finding jobs so quickly.

Lecompte-Maynard interned with BHSN during the fall 2015 semester. There is potential for professional growth at BHSN, she said, and she hopes to become a case manager there in the future.

Duncan’s path to his job wasn’t as clear cut.

In the spring of 2015, he applied for an internship at Lockheed Martin. He didn’t get it, but the process opened doors for him.

“(It) definitely helped in the (job) interview because more people knew my name and more people had read my resume going in.”

The core application materials Duncan submitted to potential employers were crafted with the help of the staff at the SUNY Plattsburgh Career Development Center.

“I had no idea how to write a resume and cover letter and that was a lot of help.”

The end result were documents he felt comfortable sending to many companies, he said.

“I sent my resume and cover letter everywhere I could.”

Helpful Faculty

In addition to the staff at the Career Development Center, Dr. Kevin McCullen, assistant professor of computer science, helped Duncan in his job search.

McCullen used his familiarity with hardware engineering to formulate questions Duncan was likely to be asked in interviews, he said, which gave him an edge over the competition.

Dr. Ona Belser, Lecompte-Maynard’s internship seminar professor, was especially helpful in preparing her students for life after college.

“She literally did anything she could to help us prepare for the real world,” Lecompte-Maynard said. “I owe a lot to her.”

While there’s a lot that goes into it, perseverance is the key when job hunting, Duncan said.

“The biggest thing I did, I used my resources,” he said, building a network of contacts who could help him get hired.

“It gets exhausting but you have to stick with it,” he said. “I never expected this kind of opportunity going in (to college).”

To land a job before or soon after graduation, Lecompte-Maynard urges students “to do more, to work a little harder at first and then the door is open and (you) see what happens.”

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