From undecided to professional

When Tatiana Chin walks across the stage at the University of South Carolina’s commencement this August, she’ll be one step closer to a path she started down when she was 8 years old. The curious kid loved playing with gadgets and taking apart computers, but she didn’t know that was a possible career field. 

As a political science and pre-law major her freshman year, Chin was still unsure of her future. But her University 101 professor got her to question her path and Chin discovered the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management’s integrated information technology program. 

“It was great since then. I’ve loved all my classes,” she says. “I started taking those classes my second semester and I knew it was what I wanted to do. It unites technology, computing and people and business.” 

As she graduates, Chin won’t be worrying about finding a job: She will start working for IBM as a global security consultant. She’ll be traveling every week to meet with clients across the world about enterprise security projects. She’ll leave her hub in Atlanta for Dubai, Shanghai and Europe. 

“I wanted to work in security because it’s a really big up-and-coming thing,” she says. “I knew I wanted to work with a larger company like IBM. The day before my 21st birthday they gave me an offer. “ 

Her work capitalizes on her internship and classroom experience at Carolina. Chin says she’s thankful that her professors in the integrated information technology program were industry professionals. Professors taught their classes as if they were teaching IT professionals, not just students.  

“Before they were academics, they were all into their careers,” she says. “All my professors were able to give me career advice and kept it real with us from the first day. That made it really real for me. I always treated myself like a professional since I was a freshman.” 

The fall of her senior year, Chin visited the Boeing booth at the Career Center’s fair for the fields of science, engineering and technology. There she met with an alumna working for the aerospace company. A few weeks later, she had an offer for a position to finish her required coursework with an internship. 

This summer, she has been working in IT project management at Boeing headquarters in Seattle. She says she feels like she’s contributing to the team and doing valuable work for the company. 

“It’s been pretty fun. They let me get my hands dirty from the week I started,” she says.    

Chin says she’s most looking forward to no more homework assignments after graduation, but really she’s is excited for the time to pursue her passions. In April, she was a part of a team of women on campus who launched a conference to teach other young women professional skills. 

“The Chicks Conference has been huge for me. After that conference so many young girls have reached out to me about their internships and achievements. Being able to pursue that and get more young women involved with professionalism and leadership is going to be something I want to focus on. 

Chin also hopes to share the Carolina spirit in her new position and life as an alumna.

“It is a huge school. But you know what, the community feeling of being at Carolina is something you can never replace,” she says. “You have friends everywhere you go. I’m taking that kind of community feeling with me and hoping to find that in my work or the city I live in. I want to foster that wherever I go.”  

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South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal, the first woman to serve on the state’s highest court, will address graduates at the University of South Carolina’s summer commencement exercises Aug. 8. 

This year's S.E.T. Fair will be held Sept. 22 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. The Career Center's fair is an opportunity for students and alumni to meet potential employers to discuss internship, co-ops and full-time positions in the fields of science, engineering and technology. 

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