Staff Name: Samuel Lee
Position: Career Specialist
Alma Mater: California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (B.S. Business Administration ‘15), Azusa Pacific University (M.S. College Counseling ‘18, Ed.D. Higher Education Leadership ‘24)
Office Location: Swenson Hall N110
The future may seem uncertain for some college students, while others may have a clear path in mind. Whether pursuing careers in various industries or continuing their educational journey through graduate school, Fowler School of Engineering students have an in-house resource at their fingertips.
One of the many benefits of being an engneering student is access to our Career Specialist, Samuel Lee. Lee provides career advising for all Fowler Engineering students in the Career Services office, located on the first floor of Swenson Hall. As FSE’s Career Specialist, Lee is passionate about helping students achieve their career goals, regardless if it is within STEM, education, and beyond. While pursuing his doctorate in higher education, Lee continues to show his support for FSE’s students and offers some advice for students who are currently searching for jobs.
Q&A with Samuel Lee
How did you end up working for the Fowler School of Engineering?
Lee: “I was over at California State University, Fullerton, and I was looking for different types of opportunities for me to grow professionally. Chapman’s Fowler School of Engineering was one of the places I was looking into. Fowler caught my attention the most because there’s a lot of exciting things here and an opportunity to make the biggest impact. For me, I’m a perfectionist by nature, and I don’t like to do things half-hazardly. I took this role on, and it was a little intimidating because how do you start a career center from scratch and build a space for students to feel comfortable in? One thing I did working through that—having to juggle not only creating a strategic vision but also helping students—was trying to be as communicative and responsible as possible.”
What are some of your responsibilities as a Career Specialist? What do students typically come to you for?
Lee: “My position here is a little unique because we’re a newer school. Most of my role revolves around creating what the identity of Career Services would look like from the ground up and really just starting from scratch. On the immediate student support side, it’s everything you would expect to get from a center–resume writing, cover letters, practicing interviewing skills and answering questions, and going through steps to realize what you need to improve upon–and connecting students with different opportunities. A lot of times, it’s letting students come to my office and vent about the frustrations they have with finding jobs or internships or making a decision between a different career path and whatnot, and just providing as much support and listening as possible.”
What is a challenge or eye-opening experience you’ve had while in this position? How did you work through it?
Lee: “One of the great things I’ve realized about our School of Engineering is there’s a big stereotype and misconception about how engineering students are timid, quiet, lack personality, and don’t know how to behave in a networking and social setting. But I think that our students here flip that onto its head. Our students are so balanced and it helps me see that there’s a lot of potential here. There’s a lot of good things our students are doing here. That’s been a great learning experience for me because previously, I worked mostly with business students. They have their own stereotypes, and some may even say it’s the opposite of engineering students. But I think here, I don’t see too much of a difference. It goes to show that it’s not someone who is or isn’t one thing. It’s more about how they develop those skills, and everyone starts somewhere.”
What’s your favorite part of working at the Fowler School of Engineering?
Lee: “We’re in a very unique space where we’re not a small school with a small population of students, but we’re not very big either. We’re in this meet-in-the-middle, sweet spot where we can see growth and feel it happening. My other favorite part is the trust that staff, the team, and the leadership have in each other. There’s a culture of high support. If there’s an event like Senior Celebration, we’re all hands on deck, so the support factor makes it a really good experience.”
If you could choose one person to do your job for a day, who would it be?
Lee: “I would want Larry David to do my job. I’d want to have his day at my job recorded for a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode, because it would be hilarious!”
What advice do you have for students preparing for a career within or beyond Fowler?
Lee: “It’s okay not to know what you want to do for the rest of your life. If you do, you’re in a great situation and you’re fortunate, but by nature, we’re all learners and we’re all evolving. There’s no shame in pursuing your degree and realizing you want to do something else. At the end of the day, you’re the one who has to do the work and live that life. You just have to be okay and don’t feel ashamed or feel like you’re letting anybody down because you’re not pursuing what everybody thought you were going to be doing. You have to scratch that itch, and if you’re curious about something, you’re likely going to find yourself going back to it eventually.
Be a hard worker. It sounds simple, but people tend to like being around hard workers. They do what it takes to get the job done and can build a lot of resilience and confidence. Lastly, I want to say you’re going to be okay. You made it into college and an engineering program. Not getting what you want right out of college does not equate to failing. It might be uncomfortable but you have proven you are capable of success. At the end of the day I know our students will be okay. ”
For major-specific career support and guidance, schedule an advising appointment with Samuel Lee on Handshake, or contact Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org for further questions.