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Living and Learning

University Program Leads to Impressive Internship

ALBANY, N.Y. (Jan. 9, 2017) — University at Albany sophomore Ayman Salloum knows better than most what it takes to work towards success.

Syrian-born Ayman Salloum found a home — and career inspiration — in the World of Career Discovery Living-Learning Community. (Photo by Naomi McPeters)

He says this success would not have been possible without his Living-Learning Community (LLC) and his faculty mentor.

As an immigrant from Syria, Salloum found integration into American life difficult in the four years since his family gained permanent residency in the United States.

Things changed when he got to UAlbany. Upon acceptance to the University, he joined the World of Career Discovery Living-Learning Community (LLC), one of more than 20 freshman LLCs that allow students to live and take classes with others who share interests and majors. Every LLC has a different theme or academic focus, and each has a faculty mentor teaching a theme-focused class.

Salloum, now a resident assistant in State Quad, believes that having a mentor is one of the most important things a college student can have. His own mentor’s advice, he said, has helped him grow academically and prepare for his professional life.

“For me, Noah Simon has been my main mentor. Noah gave me a lot of advice about how to prepare for an interview, and throughout the whole process. This is the thing I love. He is ready to help you on the spot and he has a lot of connections.”

Simon, the director of Career Planning at the Office of Career and Professional Development and the faculty mentor for the World of Career Discovery LLC, said that Salloum has been successful because he took what he learned in the LLC class and always looked to learn more. “We talk about applied learning, and recognizing what you love doing. That is really what Ayman does,” said Simon.

Salloum is no longer in the World of Career Discovery but has remained connected to Simon. This relationship, and the fact that the LLC class taught him how to write resumes and cover letters, and how to present himself professionally, helped him land a competitive internship with General Electric in Schenectady. He will be doing software work for the Digital Technology Leadership Program this summer.

“He’s very humble, hardworking and appreciative of every opportunity he’s been offered. He has a lot of traits that are going to allow him to go far. Being at GE is a wonderful opportunity for him,” said Simon.

Salloum is majoring in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics. “Over the summer I said ‘Ayman, you have to get an internship before the end of sophomore year.’ And when I said it, I really had a plan in my head, I really worked for it, and I finally made it happen.” The process of being prepared for the professional world started in the first semester of his freshman year, in the LLC class.

Salloum says that being part of an LLC enabled him to meet new people from different backgrounds, kept him motivated to do his academic work, introduced him to community service and campus resources and, most importantly, gave him career preparation tools. These three things, he said, give students "a much better chance of getting a job in a specific field. Having a very effective resume and cover letter helped distinguish my GE application from other ones.”

And now, Salloum sees hope for a future he never could have imagined.

“I have gone from someone who came from a completely different background, from all the way on the other side of the world, to a country where I had difficulties speaking the language and adapting to the culture, to someone who just received an internship at GE. I’m very appreciative for it.”

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.