David Arvidson

Check out David Arvidson, our May featured student employee. He is a senior electrical engineering major, and he is the ASSET ambassador for the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology's Office of Student Services.

Meet David

Description of the video:

LACEY SMITH: Hey, everyone. Welcome back to The Learning and Earning Podcast. I'm your host, Lacey Smith. And today, I am here with our May featured student employee, David Arvidson. Hi, David. And we're also joined by Katrin Danielson, and she is his supervisor. So David, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

 

DAVID ARVIDSON: So my name is David. I go to IUPUI obviously, as an EE major in the Engineering and Technology Department. I'm currently looking at the five-year Master's program, the BS/MS I started working on campus for this role on about 2019 I believe. And so I've been working here for quite a while. It seems like the time has flew by. And yeah I guess-- I'm originally from Elkhart, which is about three hours North. So Indy is new to me, but I like it so far.

 

LACEY SMITH: Yeah, for sure. One of my roommates actually is from Elkhart. So that's interesting. Katrin, could you tell us a little bit about you?

 

KATRIN DANIELSON: Sure. So I'm the Recruitment and Outreach Coordinator for the School of Engineering and Technology. So a prime role that I have is to meet with prospective students when they're visiting IUPUI and the School of Engineering and Technology to let them know all the cool things about our school and the resources. And that's where I rely a lot on our student ambassadors like David to really help me on our mission to bring students to IUPUI and share with them all the cool things that we have to offer.

 

LACEY SMITH: That's awesome. Speaking of which though David, could you tell us a little bit more about your position and what you do?

 

DAVID ARVIDSON: So my official title is Student Success Ambassador, and that really consists of quite a few roles. It can be anything from the front desk, to conducting tours, to getting more paperwork. But really, the main area I focus in is conducting tours. So I'll have to prep the folders for each student because each student receives like a special information packet tailored to what they're interested in.

 

And so we have to pretty much assemble that folder, hand it out to every student, talk with them for a while, and then I lead them around the campus.

 

LACEY SMITH: Awesome. And you've said that you've worked in your position since 2019, correct?

 

DAVID ARVIDSON: Yes.

 

LACEY SMITH: OK. And in that time, what would you say has been your greatest accomplishment?

 

DAVID ARVIDSON: I would say, funny enough, my greatest accomplishment was probably-- I'm not sure what year this was. But when I first started doing the tours, there's just this mysteriousness about giving the tour, and you have to sit-in and listen. And a lot of that time, I was listening to Katrin and going with her on the tours.

 

And I'd say my greatest accomplishment was when I gave my own tour. And I don't know. There's just a different sense of pride almost when you're like yeah, I gave a tour all by myself. And it's showing how much you've learned.

 

LACEY SMITH: Yeah. And finally feeling like, oh, I got this. I did it on my own. I can understand that. That's a good feeling. So you obviously had to learn how to do those things. But what has been the most important thing that you've learned in your position?

 

DAVID ARVIDSON: Probably the most important thing I've learned is how to actually carry a conversation. Because when I started at this position, I was shy, quiet. And just over time having to talk to people every day, random strangers, it just gets you out of your comfort zone a little. And it makes it so that now I am comfortable speaking to people. Public speaking-- those scenarios. And I don't have to put much thought into it anymore.

 

LACEY SMITH: Yeah, exactly. And I think too with learning that, it's also beneficial for your future. Because you're going to have to learn how to step out of your comfort zone and be more extroverted even when you're like, I'm an introvert. So that's definitely a very important thing to learn. So that's awesome.

 

And you started working before COVID. But you've worked through COVID as well. So what has changed during the COVID times about your job?

 

DAVID ARVIDSON: So much has changed. It's almost hard to know where to start. When we would first give the tours, we could have-- I don't know. It's been so long. I'm almost forgetting like 10, 15 people in a tour and just be this crowd following you down the hallway. And there'd be lots of students and lots of questions.

 

And we would enter every room. And we'd show them like these are the labs. You'll eventually be in here some day, because we deal with prospective students. And so we say this is what you could expect. But after and during COVID, it all changed. Because now, there are room limits for safe social distancing spaces. And so we have to limit it to three students and pretty much one or two guests every time.

 

And so it drastically changed. And there was always like a murmur. Whereas now, the student ambassadors, such as myself, has to fill the silence because they're only a few students.

 

LACEY SMITH: Yeah.

 

DAVID ARVIDSON: And we can no longer enter the room so it's just peek in, see what you can see. And you have to remind them make sure to keep your safe social distancing. And it's just changed a lot

 

LACEY SMITH: Yeah, for sure. With my position, I'm able to work remote. And with a lot of other positions, you are as well. So I never really thought about with touring positions. How much those would change. So hearing about that's very interesting.

 

KATRIN DANIELSON: Maybe I can add something to that. Because sometimes, I'm working remotely. And so I'm not in the office. And so basically, David is running the show in our room. So he's the first one that gets our meeting. They're coming in to check-in. So he's the first person they meet and then setting up the computer. So that way, I can remote into the room and do my little presentation.

 

And so then, David is going on the tour. So he's really working independently and doing all those things that usually when I'm there, I take over some of those aspects. But he's doing a great job with that, because I can totally just trust him to be there on time, be there to meet the guests. Say the right things to them., be like the best representation for our school and for IUPUI.

 

I'm so thankful that he's there. Because at times, when I'm remote, you feel really isolated from the things that you usually do on a day-to-day basis. So he's my lifeline in there. He fills me in, and communicates with me, and lets me know that they're checked in. So he's been going beyond what's generally required on giving a tour but being the person there instead of me when I'm remote.

 

LACEY SMITH: Yeah. And that's awesome too especially, in this time and just having someone there that you know will get the job done well and efficiently. So props to David for doing that. That's awesome. And it is National Student Appreciation Week or Student Employee Appreciation Week. And [INAUDIBLE] week. So there is some more appreciation for David too. And with your position, what has been your favorite memory so far?

 

DAVID ARVIDSON: I think my favorite memory, I would have to say was probably when-- you get all people who come in to these tours. And one family came in the tour, and they were asking a lot of questions. They were really involved. And I walked them around the campus. And they just kept asking questions, questions, questions.

 

And we got to the end of the tour. And they were saying oh, hey, why don't you come over to the campus and I'll buy you lunch? And I'm like no, you don't have to buy me lunch. It's OK, don't worry about it. But they're really insistent. And I very clearly remember that. And I think it's just because you realize that you actually are making a difference in their decision making, and how they view IUPUI. And it just never really dawned on me until that memory of that day.

 

LACEY SMITH: Yeah. And it's definitely those little things too that you'll keep with you in the future. And with it being someone that you didn't really know that's just something that's going to stick with you and just one of those things that you're going to remember in your future career as well. So that's awesome.

 

But with that, what's something that you hope to do soon career wise or school wise? What's something you hope to do soon or accomplish?

 

DAVID ARVIDSON: Well, right now, I think I mentioned I'm considering the five-year Master's plan, which is like your BS/MS together. And it was really hinging on a certain scholarship, which I'm still trying to decide what that's going to look like. But basically, if I were to proceed onward with that, I'd have a really nice position lined up out of state. But it would just tie everything together.

 

I guess you could say forward thinking, and I'm trying to plan once I'm out of college like what I'm going to do. And what I'm really looking for is a full-time position in power systems for electrical engineering. And that can range from I think sending power across the grid. So when you flip your light switch on, your light bulb actually turns on. Or it could be anything from powering a Mars Rover with solar panels. So I'm really excited to start actually in my career. And I'm looking forward to it.

 

KATRIN DANIELSON: Maybe you want to mention your internship that you have lined up too. That's a [INAUDIBLE][INAUDIBLE] you graduate.

 

DAVID ARVIDSON: So I actually do have an internship lined up this summer for Allison Transmission. And I'm going to be one of their electrical engineering interns. So Katrin's right. That's an excellent gig. So I'm very thankful I got that. And I feel like it's worth mentioning. I actually have my resume reviewed in the office. So connections is very useful.

 

LACEY SMITH: Yeah, for sure. For our listeners, we do, in our Office of Student Employment, we give resume reviews, cover letter reviews as well. And that stuff is super helpful, especially when you are applying to work positions or internships. Very helpful. Yeah. And that's awesome too that you have a lot to look forward to and things lined up especially for the summer, something exciting and new. That's awesome.

 

But Katrin, obviously, David has worked with you for a bit of time. So what is something that you value the most about David?

 

KATRIN DANIELSON: I think I touched on it a little bit. But I think just that I can rely on him to be there. He is really great about communication. And I think especially through COVID, that's been such an important piece to keep me up to date. If he's running a little late because he had an exam or something, he lets me now.

 

And I can really trust him to be there. Especially when I'm not on campus, I don't have any way to check in. So I need to trust him to be there to do his job. And let me know in case there are things coming up or people are having questions about things. So I think those are some of the main pieces that I value.

 

I know he's talking great about our school and is a great representation. But I think those things are really important to me that I know I can count on him to be there and be there on time and communicate with me in case there are things coming up.

 

LACEY SMITH: For sure. And actually, going back to before he did have his position, when you were looking at applicants for this position, what stood out to you specifically about David?

 

KATRIN DANIELSON: I know we looked over some of these questions. And honestly, I was not even part of the hiring process to hire David. But I know from my colleagues that when I talked to them about the students that we had in our applicant pool, they did say that David was really polished when he presented himself.

 

He had knowledge about our school, about the programs, and that is definitely true. I see that on a day-to-day basis. Even though I wasn't the one making the choice, I definitely would have made the same choice, because David has been great to have in the office.

 

LACEY SMITH: Yeah, for sure. And I think too with having a position with something you're going into engineering. So having a position with the School of Engineering is just-- you're obviously going to be interested and more passionate about what you do. So that's awesome. Another question about David is, is there any specific time where he exceeded your expectations or just in general too?

 

KATRIN DANIELSON: I'd say all the time obviously, because he's really thoughtful about how-- anything that he says could be perceived by a visitor. Because sometimes, it's as easy as saying something you haven't really maybe thought it through. But he's really putting thought in how his words matter, and how they can resonate with the students.

 

And sometimes, engineering is a pretty complex major. And so bringing those concepts down to make high school students-- sometimes, they can be as young as like freshman in the high school. Make those students understand what engineering is and explaining how it would be like for them to be a student at IUPUI and really drawing that image of OK, these would be classes you will be taking. You can do research. I have done this. You can do it too.

 

And I think he brings it across in a really honest manner and be able to explain it and really draws them their attention. I think makes them excited about hey, now, I can do this too. And so I think that's really valuable. And as I said before, we transition from in-person to online like doing virtual visits. Those can be strange at times because you have no idea who's popping up. In an in-person scenario, sometimes you can read like facial clues. But in a virtual world, if someone is not turning on the camera, you have to adapt and you have to just keep your cool and keep on presenting.

 

It's all going to work out. So I think being super flexible-- I can ask him to do anything. And he's like OK, yeah, I'll do that. I'll get that done for you. So I think just being willing to go with the flow, try something new, and be open, and embracing that has been really critical for us to be able to transition to an online environment. And then now going back in-person, even that can be strange at times Now, we're back in-person doing tours.

 

So I think just embracing that and being willing to do whatever, jumping in doing things around the office, whatever is needed not just for tours. But even thinking a step ahead and like hey, I went to Innovation Hall. I already saw these things there. And [INAUDIBLE] could be [INAUDIBLE] too We can talk about those things with respect to families. So thinking ahead and understanding what might really be resonating with future students. I think that's really critical for him doing a great job.

 

LACEY SMITH: Yeah, for sure. And in the time that he's worked there, what has he taught you?

 

KATRIN DANIELSON: I think that it requires more than just like being a supervisor. Being a supervisor means more than just telling you're OK. You got to do these things. I think about creating a relationship with the students. And just like any relationship, you start out. I remember when David was coming in, he was really shy. It was hard to talk to him at times because-- that's fine. This is OK.

 

But I think just really trying to get to know the students and meeting them where they're at because everybody is different. And we have to understand that. And so some people maybe need more time to open up and bringing out the best in people. And I think that goes for students. But even when we have our visitors, everybody's different. Everybody's story is different. And so just really connecting with each other and really finding like a meaningful balance there. Because at the end of the day, this is not just a job.

 

I think David has shared that with me that there's so many more skills that can be gained from this position that it's like a lifelong development and hopefully even down the road. Hopefully, we all look at oh, yeah. This was really insightful. I had no idea I would learn that from David, maybe David learned something from me. So it's just like a learning process. And I just enjoy having him in the office and be able to get to know him and being able to get out the best in him to help us with some of those visits and being able to showcase our school in the best light.

 

LACEY SMITH: Yeah, for sure. I think that's the awesome thing about working on campus or working through IUPUI is having your supervisor. Not only are you learning from them, but it's a two-way street. They learn some things from you. And through that, it's just you grow so much. And you can evolve too.

 

But with learning, one question that we like to ask at the end of every episode is what have you been learning and earning recently? So it can be this month, this school year, this semester. You can focus more on the learning part or the earning. But what have you guys been learning and earning?

 

KATRIN DANIELSON: Who's going first? [LAUGHING]

 

DAVID ARVIDSON: In terms of learning-- I'll focus on learning first. So when we're talking about learning, like what you said about you didn't expect tours to be so drastically affected by COVID, I didn't either. And so it was a huge learning curve. And you're adapting as things are going on because you might run into a situation where you have three students. And they each bring three guests like mom, dad, and brother, or sister. And now you have to decide, oh, no, am I supposed to kick some people out? How do I work with that?

 

I know Katrin said I'm her lifeline. But she's really mine too. Because as I say, Katrin, what do I do? And so it's just one of those things where you really have to go with the flow. Like Katrina said, your workplace is going to be constantly changing. Because every time we give a tour, it's different students. Each person is different. They might have different senses of humor. They might want to see different things. They might be way ahead of the game or way behind. And you just have to meet them where they're at. And just [INAUDIBLE].

 

LACEY SMITH: Yeah.

 

KATRIN DANIELSON: Well, I feel like what I have learned is that I want to appreciate our students more because we truly could not do it without them. David is just like one of the great examples in our office. But sometimes, we get just so busy in our day-to-day lives that we just have to get the job done. But I do think we need to focus time. And if someone did something great, we do want to acknowledge to appreciate that.

 

And I think that's-- we really could not do the same job without the help of our students. I feel we need to spend time on recognizing that not just when it's National Student Appreciation Week, but really all the time. And whether that's like a small thank you or sharing feedback from tours. Because a lot of times, we get like testimonials of parents are like oh, this was great. The students were amazing. Talk to my son and daughter about the programs. And they're really now inspired to pursue those.

 

So being mindful of continuously sharing that because I think that carries that excitement and makes us all involved in the job that we're doing. So I think that's my learning lesson there to be appreciative all the time and being mindful that I can appreciate it more often.

 

LACEY SMITH: Yeah. I think definitely with COVID too, I think that's one of the things I've learned is that life is short. So you really got to show some appreciation and love for the people around you, because those small things can make someone's day so much better. Just a little thank you or a little "I appreciate you". So yeah. That's definitely awesome.

 

But David, May is your month to appreciate you. And we're excited to have you as our featured student employee of the month. So yeah. But thank you guys for coming on to the podcast. And we appreciate having you here. So thank you.

 

DAVID ARVIDSON: Thank you.

 

LACEY SMITH: Thank you for tuning into The Learning and Earning Podcast and until next time.

Meet the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology's Office of Student Services

Interested in what's happening at the School of Engineering and Technology and how you can get involved? Looking for a scholarship or form? Need career and internship help? Then, the School of Engineering and Technology's Office of Student Services is the right place for you. Connect with them to find resources, information, and people who can help you make the most of your time as a student in the School of Engineering and Technology.