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Lauryn Smith

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'20 Labor and Employment Relations | Senior Human Resources Assistant, Amazon | Albany, NY
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Lauryn Smith

Liberal Arts Major: Labor and Employment Relations

Liberal Arts Minor: Business and the Liberal Arts

Hometown: Smithtown, NY

Current Location: Smithtown, NY

What enrichment activities did you participate in as a student?

In the summer of 2018, I completed an human resources internship for  AHRC Suffolk, a company located on Long Island. Participating in that internship solidified in my mind that I made the right choice in switching my major to Labor and Employment Relations. The internship gave me a feel for what to expect when I officially enter the workforce as an HR professional. I also studied abroad during the following summer of 2019. My group and I were in Todi, Italy, for six weeks taking classes like IT 001-003, IT 299, and ARTH 299/499. I chose to participate in this specific program to help gain some credits toward my Art History minor. Being able to study abroad in Italy, travel every weekend, learn a new romance language, and see art pieces in person that I had only previously been able to see in a textbook was an amazing experience, and I would recommend this program to anyone as interested in the arts as myself.

What was your first job after graduating from Penn State?

I am an incoming Senior HR Assistant for Amazon. I will be located at their plant in Albany, New York, starting in September 2020 after training. Some of my daily tasks will include: supporting associates and managers with routine, day-to-day HR questions, needs, and inquiries; providing HR guidance to site leadership on achieving operational objectives; influencing leadership during associate-impacting decision making; and participating in HR investigations and coordinating appeals.

What was your favorite class and/or who was your favorite faculty member?

In my last semester at Penn State, I took my favorite LER class: LER 480. It is a Current Issues in HR class, and the relevancy, along with the professor, Rebecca Cianci, made the class easily my favorite. Topics we discussed will be relevant when I officially enter the workplace, so I feel more prepared. Rebecca was a great professor for this class, as she made a class that had the potential to be bland far from it. She paired her class slides with relevant and interesting videos to help keep the class entertained, and she all around made participating in class very fun.

How did your liberal arts education and skills prepare you for life after graduation?

Classes such as LER 488 and LER 489 provided me with great life advice that I feel no other class could have given me. For example, lessons on Financial Advising/Budgeting have helped me to create the budget I plan on living on when I am officially living on my own in Albany in a few months. Other classes like LER 472, LER 426, LER 480, and LER 201 have provided me with a basic understanding of the concepts, laws, and practices that I will inevitably partake in once I begin my position.

What networking advice would you share with current students?

I participated in many networking events my senior year, as a means for growing my personal network to land my first out-of-college job. While I eventually wound up finding my job through LinkedIn connections, I do not consider the networking events that I went to as a waste of my time. Something I wish I was told when I was a freshman was to not be so shy and to put your name out there as early as possible. It will only help to build your confidence for job applications when the time comes during your senior year. Some additional advice I would give to freshman, or any current student, would be to take advantage of Penn State's resources. LionLink, the Career Services Building, and more are great ways for students to connect with alumni, mentors, and career service advisers who want to see Penn State students succeed. They are not intimidating, so open up and let them help you.

What role have mentors played in your career progression?

Through resources like LionLink, I now have a network of mentors who helped me throughout my senior year. They were a great resource, as well as a great voice of reason when I had a difficult decision to make or just needed advice. I have also found mentors in my professors. Though I am a very recent graduate, I know I can and want to help current students as much as possible like other Penn State alumni were able to do for me.

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Flashback to Lauryn as an Undergrad:

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