Category Archives: Tips and Advice

Women’s History Month is March 1st

March 1st marks the deadline for the Bernie Scholarship Awards Program, but it also marks the start of Women’s History Month.

Since 1972, Title IX has provided the right to education free from sex discrimination. With Title IX, women and girls have been able to make great strides toward sex equality in education, but many serious obstacles remain.

One of these obstacles is single parenthood, an issue disproportionately affecting women. According to US Census data, approximately 82.2% of custodial parents are mothers. For single parents, who are supporting children, going back to school can seem like an impossible dream. The Bernie Scholarship Awards Program strives to make these impossible dreams possible.

Many of Bernie Scholarship’s 500-some recipients have been single mothers working to achieve their academic and personal goals of upward mobility. One of these recipients is Yvette Hammond, a single mother who, through a Bernie scholarship, completed her Bachelor’s of Science degree and is now enrolled in a Master’s degree program. Because of Yvette’s hard work and dedication to her education and family, she was able to rise above her challenging circumstances, get a full-time job in Community Health, and purchase a new home.

To all the strong, intelligent, and hard-working single mothers, if you are looking to go (back) to school – whether for college or vocational training – the Bernie Scholarship Awards Program is here for you. Celebrate Women’s History Month by taking another stride towards equality in education and submitting your application to become a Bernie Scholar.

Timeline for Summer Internship Seekers

February

Finding & Researching Opportunities

Internship hunting can be daunting. If you’re not sure where to your search for internship opportunities, here are a few places to look:

  1. Your college’s career center
    1. Many colleges have an online database of internship opportunities you can search from
    2. Make an appointment with a career center counselor to go over your interests and ambitions and see if they can point in the right direction
    3. Many career centers also offer workshops on resume writing, practice interviews, etc.
  2. Your professors
    1. Professors are constantly doing research and may have some summer research opportunities available or know of one
    2. If there’s a particular class you’re interested in, go over your specific interests and ambitions with your professor and see if they can recommend a company, colleague, etc. doing similar work
    3. Many times (summer) fellowships require professor recommendations, so it’s always a good idea to establish a working relationship with a professor so that they can write you a good recommendation later on
  3. USAjobs.gov
    1. Interested in a government opportunity? Find internships for current students and new grads on the USAjobs.gov website
  4. Industry blogs, websites, and even social media accounts
  5. Internship/job search engines
    1. The Muse, Monster, LinkedIn, Indeed , etc.
  6. Company Website
    1. If you already know which companies you’re interested in, head directly to their website and see if they have any openings on their career page
  7. Your mentor
    1. Reach out to your Bernie mentor and ask if they can assist you with this or with any part of the internship seeking process

Once you start job searching, it can be easy to spiral down a rabbit hole of listings. Stay on top of internship priorities and deadlines by creating a spreadsheet, on Google or with Excel, to keep track of the opportunities you’re interested in. Some important things to record:

  • Name of internship opportunity
  • Company
  • Industry
  • Paid or unpaid
  • Location
  • Materials needed for the application
  • Deadlines
  • Name and contact information of the hiring manager
  • Name and contact information of any connections you have at that company

You can narrow down a final list to apply to based on certain priorities like paid or unpaid, location (affects transportation & housing costs, pay), etc.

Applying

Once you’ve gathered all your application materials and have had someone else to review your resume and cover letters, start submitting them! You can reach out to contacts in your network that may work for that company to let them know that you’re interested and ask if they’d be willing to refer your application.

March

En Process

If a company responds to your application, make sure you respond quickly. A good rule is to always respond within 24 hours. This is the time you will start getting interview offers.

Tips on preparing for the interview:

  • You can reach out to your network, alumni, etc. and see if anyone has insight into their interview process.
  • Do some research via Glassdoor and other similar websites.
  • Go through each responsibility listed on the internship posting and write a related skill, class, or experience that shows you are a good fit. Remember these for the interview.
  • Interviews require formal business clothing. Business attire is expensive. If you are not able to find affordable options, organizations like Dress for Success and the Hope Program offer free professional clothing for those who need it. Do not be afraid to use the programs that are out there to help you.
  • The interview is your chance to get clarification on any ambiguities you may have encountered – is the internship paid or unpaid, are you the only intern, how big is the intern class, are there any direct-hire opportunities after graduation?

April

Decision Time

You should have most of your offers in by now. All that’s left to do is to determine which offer most closely meets your interests, priorities, and budget. If you are relocating for the internship, now is the time to figure housing out.

May

Preparing for the big day!

Make sure that everything is in place for when your internship starts – housing, method of transportation, paperwork. Make sure you know where the office is, work hours, office dress code, and if there’s anything you need to bring on your first day.

Landing an internship is mostly staying organized, being prepared, and following up, so make sure you are staying on top of things! Good luck!

Did you know? BSAP Provides Ongoing Mentoring

The Merriam-Webster definition of mentor is “a trusted counselor or guide.” Mentorship is part of the mission of our foundation. One-on-one mentorship relationships between board members and scholarship recipients underscores our dedication to the success of our scholarship recipients.

The following is an interesting article that contrasts a coach to a mentor. While coaching is important and needed to assist at the task level, a mentor is committed to building a long-term relationship to assist in the development of the individual. Building a relationship based on trust and guidance is key. We will share stories of some of these relationships that have been built through our program in future posts.

Please share our page and posts with your friends, family and contacts who may benefit from our work of awarding scholarships to qualifying Montgomery County residents.

https://www.management-mentors.com/resources/coaching-mentoring-differences

26 Tips for Success in College

Recently, a post by Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld called, “How to Study Like a Harvard Student” has been making the rounds on the blogging site Tumblr. Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld is both a Harvard and Yale Law graduate and the daughter of infamous “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” author, Amy Chua. Studying for exams can sometimes be daunting, but if you pay attention, plan ahead, and study effectively, it will make a big difference in how confident you feel and how well you will perform. Read a paraphrased version of Sophia’s helpful tips below. You can find the original here.

Preliminary Steps

1. Choose classes that genuinely interest you – that way studying won’t feel like such a drag.
2. Make friends. See steps 12, 23, 24.

General Principles

3. Study less, but study better.
4. Avoid Autopilot Brain at all costs.
5. Vague is bad. Vague is a waste of your time.
6. Write it down.
7. Sometimes it can be rough, but buckle down and get it done.

Plan of Attack Phase I: Class

8. Show up to class. Everything will make a lot more sense that way, and you will save yourself a lot of time in the long run.
9. Take notes by hand. It is better for learning and retention and is less distracting than taking notes on a computer.

Phase II: Study Time

10. Get out of the library. The sheer fact of being in a library doesn’t fill you with knowledge. 8 hours of Facebooking in the library is still eight hours of Facebooking. Study without sacrificing your quality of life by quizzing yourself while still doing everyday tasks like eating or showering.
11. Do a little every day, but don’t let it be your whole day. “This afternoon, I will read a chapter of something and do half a problem set. Then, I will watch an episode of my favorite TV show and go to the gym” ALWAYS BEATS “Starting right now, I am going to read as much as I possibly can…oh wow, now it’s midnight, I’m on page five, and have done nothing for 6 hours.”
12. Give yourself incentive. There’s nothing worse than a gaping abyss of study time. If you know you’re going out in 6 hours, you’re more likely to get something done.
13. Self-care is important, but it can also be really tempting to take breaks when you really don’t need them. When you think about taking a break, try pushing through until you really need one.

Phase III: Assignments

14. Stop highlighting. Highlighting is supposed to keep you focused, but it’s actually a one-way ticket to Autopilot Brain. Write notes in the margins instead.
15. Do all your own work. You get nothing out of copying a problem set. If you don’t know how to solve the problem, attempt it anyways and review the answer key afterwards to help you understand what you did wrong.
16. Read as much as you can. No way around it. Stop trying to cheat with Sparknotes.
17. Be a smart reader, not a robot. Ask yourself: What is the author trying to prove? What is the logical progression of the argument? You can usually answer these questions by reading the introduction and conclusion of every chapter. Then, pick any two examples/anecdotes and commit them to memory (write them down). They will help you reconstruct the author’s argument later on.
18. Don’t read everything, understand everything that you read. Better to have a deep understanding of a limited amount of material than to have a vague understanding of an entire course. Once again: Vague is bad. Vague is a waste of your time.
19. If you do not understand an assignment, go to office hours. Ask for help. It will also help you get to know your professors, which is important for any letters of recommendation you may need to seek in the future.

Phase IV: Reading Period (Review Week)

20. Once again: do not move into the library. Eat, sleep, and bathe.
21. If you don’t understand it, it will probably be on the exam. Review your textbooks, ask your classmates, go to office hours, or looking it up on the internet.
22. Do all the practice problems.
23. You will be required to memorize formulas, names and dates. To memorize effectively: Stop reading your list over and over again. Say it out loud, write it down. Have your friends quiz you, then return the favor.
24. Ask your friends to listen while you explain a difficult concept to them. This forces you to articulate your understanding. Remember, vague is bad.
25. Go for the big picture. Try to figure out where a specific concept fits into the course as a whole. This will help you tap into Big Themes – every class has Big Themes – which will streamline what you need to know. You can learn a million facts, but until you understand how they fit together, you’re missing the point.

Phase V: Exam Day

26. Crush exam. Get A.

5 Healthy Recipes for College Students

Good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle, but tuition is expensive, and schoolwork is time-consuming. As a student, eating in and saving money is the practical choice, but budgeting for groceries and finding time to cook can be difficult. Here are 5 easy and budget-friendly meals (which include ready-to-eat grocery store purchases) to get you through the semester!

Rotisserie Chicken, Rosemary Fingerling Potatoes, and Steamed Broccoli
Yield: 5 Servings
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
(Inactive) Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Potato Ingredients:
• 1 tbsp chopped dried or fresh rosemary
• 2 tbsp Olive oil
• 3/4 tsp Kosher salt
• 1/2 tsp Black pepper
• 1lb fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
Potato Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, tossing to coat. Arrange potato mixture on a foil-lined jelly-roll pan. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender, turning after 10 minutes.

Steam 3 cups frozen broccoli in pan until tender. Carve rotisserie chicken, plate, and serve.

Leftover Rotisserie Chicken Noodle Soup
Yield: 4-6 Servings
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 1.5 Hours
Ingredients:
• ½ Rotisserie chicken
• 2 Large carrots, cut into chunks
• 1 Yellow onion, sliced thick
• 2 Stalks celery with leaves, chopped
• 2 tbsp Dried parsley
• 2 tbsp Dried oregano
• 2 tsp Salt (more to taste)
• 2 tsp Black pepper (more to taste)
• 6 ounces Bow tie pasta
Directions:
Throw all ingredients into a large soup pot and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Bring to boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and leave to simmer for 1.5 hours. Cook until vegetables are tender and flavors are well blended. Add noodles and cook until al dente.

Salsa Verde Chicken Soup
Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
(Inactive) Cook Time: 30 Minutes Stovetop, 6 Hours (Crockpot)
Ingredients:
• 6 cups chicken broth
• 3 chicken breasts (Can also be made with leftover rotisserie chicken)
• 2 cups salsa verde (I use the Trader Joe’s brand)
• 3/4 cup coconut milk
• 1/2 cup sweet onions chopped
• 1 can green chilies
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• 1 tsp salt and pepper
• 1 tsp coconut oil (leftover from coconut milk can)
Directions:
1. Add all of your ingredients to a crockpot and let simmer on low all day. (I will throw my chicken in raw and it will cook perfectly through the day)
2. If you choose to cook right before serving, simply boil your chicken in a large pot on the stove. Drain your water and add all of your other ingredients that are listed above. Allow the soup to simmer together for 30 minutes.
3. Before serving, use a fork to break up the chicken and shred.
4. Serve with fresh cilantro, avocados, and jalapenos.

Avocado Basil Pasta
Yield: 3 Servings
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Ingredients:
• 9 ounces (255 grams) uncooked pasta
• 1 medium garlic clove
• 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, plus more for serving
• 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
• 1 ripe medium avocado, pitted
• 1 tablespoon water
• 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• Lemon zest, for serving
Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. For a lighter option, serve the avocado sauce with zucchini noodles.
2. While the pasta cooks, make the sauce: In a food processor, combine the garlic and basil and pulse to mince. Add the lemon juice, oil, avocado, and 1 tablespoon water and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Drain the pasta and place it back in the pot. Add all of the avocado sauce and stir until combined. You can gently rewarm the pasta if it has cooled slightly, or simply serve it at room temperature.
4. Top with pepper, lemon zest, and fresh basil leaves, if desired.

Guacamole Grilled Cheese
Yield: 1 Serving
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 5 Minutes
Ingredients:
• 2 slices of Bread
• ⅓ cup Guacamole (store bought or homemade)
• 5 Fresh sprigs of cilantro
• 2 slices of Tomato
• ⅓ cup Cheddar, shredded
• ½ tbsp Butter
Directions:
1. Take two slices of bread and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Put some cheese on the bread, then add the cilantro and tomato (each on a different slice). Then top with more cheese.
2. Place the tray in the broiler just long enough for the cheese to melt, about 30 seconds or so. The key here is to melt the cheese, but don’t wilt the cilantro.
3. Remove the tray from the boiler and smear on some guacamole.
4. Add 1/2 tablespoon of butter to a skillet and melt it over a medium-high heat. Then place the assembled sandwich in the skillet and brown on both sides, melting the cheese further.

Tips for Applying to College

Written by Jessie Nolasco-Sandino.

1. Start looking for and applying to scholarships early on.

  • Most scholarships don’t have their applications available until late Fall or early Spring Semester of an applicant’s Senior Year. However, my advice is to stay actively engaged in the process.
  • Examples:
    • Reach out to the Scholarship board with questions in Junior year.
    • Have a friendly contact on the board who’ll answer those questions.
    • Routinely check updates on their websites and Facebook pages.

2. Stay organized.

  • The college application process can be already overwhelming without adding the stress of scholarship applications and the paperwork included. My advice is to stay organized with both processes from beginning to end.
  • Examples:
    • Have color-coordinated folders for each college and scholarship you’re applying to.
    • Use an agenda and colorful sticky-notes to remind yourself of daily activities and tasks.
    • Make a habit of having an active email account you’ll check daily to answer emails promptly.

3. Something I like to call CSS.

  • Commit yourself to the process.
    • Junior and Senior years are the two most stressful years of high school because of all the exams, homework and future decisions you have to do, but if you commit and apply yourself to achieving your goals, it’ll be rewarding when you make them a reality.
  • Stay positive and open-minded.
    • You may not get into your top university or receive the scholarship you really wanted, but things happen for a reason and hard work will eventually payoff. In the meantime, enjoy your Senior year and stay positive because things tend to work out for the best.
  • Surround yourself with supportive and responsible folks.
    • Count on teachers who’ll write recommendation letters and trust adults who’ll help you keep on track. Make friends who’ll accept you no matter if you end up in an Ivy League university, community college, trade school, or gap year.

Starting College? Here’s Some Advice

Written by Maryamawit Abate, 2017 Awardee

Like any new experience, entering college can seem scary or challenging. I too remember graduating high school and anxiously awaiting the start of my first semester of college. However, like any new experience, it is only a matter of time before you adjust. I hope that I can share the insight I have gained from my experience as a college student. Below, I have curated a list of advice for new college students.

The “I can’t do it” Syndrome
The situation may vary, but you may/will at some point doubt yourself. When such insecurity sets in, look around you and remember that most likely everyone has or has had a similar dilemma. The feeling may not go away quickly, but knowing that the people around you are experiencing similar things will hopefully let you know that, like everyone else, you will get through it.

Put You First
Whether it is as big as selecting a major or as small as picking a topic for a writing assignment, college can charge at you with options that require careful decision making. It can be a terrifying feeling figuring out what decision is best for you, but the one thing I advise when you are faced with making decisions is making sure that whatever decision you make, you do it for you and not anyone else.

One Size Does Not Fit All
You have probably heard from others that the college course load can be heavy and you will have to dedicate x hours each day to succeed in your classes. Hearing these kinds of things may scare you away, but don’t let it. Everything is terrifying until you try it. Rest assured that when the situation asks for it, you will most likely deliver. If others can do it, why can’t you? That is not to say, however, that you should compare yourself to others. In fact, I advise the contrary. Don’t ever compete with others. What may be for one person, may not be for you. The same goes for school. One method of studying that has worked for one person may not work for you. Therefore, when I say, “if others can do it why can’t you,” I mean to say that you can succeed with any amount of course load as long as you figure out what method of studying, time management, etc. works best for you.

General Tips

  • Stay organized.
  • Don’t waste time (there is always time for the things you want to accomplish as long as you manage your time wisely).
  • Create a positive space – surround yourself with friends who are rooting for you.
  • Go after anything and everything you want.
  • Believe in yourself
  • Create time for yourself and celebrate all of your accomplishments, no matter how big or small.
  • Enjoy the things you do.

Attention High School Seniors!

Are you a high school senior? Looking for a college? Make your choice by May 1st Decision Day! Tips:

· College should offer a variety of academic programs outside your major

· Choose where you can find mentors & networks to obtain internships & engagement with peers and faculty

· Ask how many 1st-year classes are taught by full-time professors

· Find out about how student advising works to guide your choices of classes & majors

· Visit a class or two

· Look into the college’s financial aid offers