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Higher Ed in 2015: A Year for Career Preparedness

by Moses 0 Comments

Will 2015 be the year of career prep? Recruiters want it. Students want it. But time and again we see that it’s not happening.

At Seelio our mission is to create and connect the world’s most prepared students to amazing and important work. We see college as an important time for students to develop skills and interests that set them on a path for lifelong learning. Our goal is to help students connect the dots between what they learn in and outside of the classroom with their career goals.

A summary statement of Seelio's mission

As we focus in on a new year of opportunity for supporting students and their institutions with better career preparedness, we wanted to take time to see where students stand so we can be a better advocate and partner for them throughout their educational journey.

We surveyed a sample of students on Seelio about their skills and workplace preferences and as we looked for correlations in their responses, we found that respondents fell into one of five categories:

  • Structure Seekers
  • Early Stagers
  • Traditionalists
  • Opportunity Seekers
  • Worker Bees

Categories of student respondents from Seelio Career Survey

While this is only one cross-section of our student members, it helps us focus in on their career goals and how we can help them solidify, document, and articulate their skills so that by the time they graduate they can find the workplace best suited to their unique skills and abilities.

We also captured additional insights from our survey in one-page career conversation guides for students, career services teams, and employers.

We’re excited about a number of new research initiatives we’re launching to further explore how we can help students connect learning to greater career preparedness and how by doing so, we can increase persistence and retention so more students graduate and find real value from their education.

Are you passionate about student success? We know that it takes a village and we’re always looking for partners in this effort. Let’s work together to create the world’s most prepared students!

Seelio Joins the PlattForm Family

I was at a graduation event last month talking to Sarah, a student from my entrepreneurship capstone class, and she passionately told me how proud she was of her semester long team project.

“I tell everyone about my project! Working on it was one of the best experiences I’ve had in school and I gained so many skills from it.” As an educator, I was thrilled to hear those words because it’s the outcome I want every student to have.

Students on Seelio at Scripps College of Communication

We started Seelio to give students like Sarah a space to capture and share their experiences with the world and to move the conversation beyond GPAs, bullet points, and school diplomas to who they are as a person and what they know and can do.  Today we are impacting thousands of students’ lives by giving them a stage to communicate and showcase their learning, skills, and experiences. But we’re not satisfied. We want to reach even more students because we believe the work we are doing can really change lives.

That’s why we’re thrilled to announce that we are officially joining forces with PlattForm, a leader in delivering student lifecycle solutions to higher education institutions. 

Three years ago, Seelio began with a simple prototype at a kitchen table in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  We worked with hundreds of students, educators, and employers to build and refine it into something students could use to proudly capture and showcase their college experience and get an edge when applying for internships and jobs.

Seelio In Action

Along the way, we realized that we could do more than simply provide a technology tool, but that we could really help students with the process of discovering who they are and who they want to become. That’s when we started partnering with universities to bring Seelio straight into the classroom to help students start preparing for their careers from day one.  Universities from across the country saw the value and decided to bring Seelio directly to their students, from the University of Toledo, to Georgia Tech, to West Virginia University, to Colorado Technical University.

And our team continued to grow in size. Talented people from across the country joined the adventure as advisors, investors, ambassadors, employees, interns, and volunteers. Without their support we would never have been able to reach this point.

Seelio Team with our partners from the University of Toledo

Today you’ll find every one of us on the Seelio team working to find a way to ensure that every student can achieve the maximum return on their educational investment. As you can imagine, building this technology and service model requires a lot of resources and expertise (by denise). That’s why we’re so excited to be able to partner with PlattForm, a company that’s been focused on changing lives through education since 1989.

You may be wondering what will change with all of this— and how it might affect you. That’s the even better news! The only changes you’ll see are more innovations in our technology and service model, more friendly faces to help with your questions, and a continued focus on stability and growth for our platform. You’ll still see the same folks here on the Seelio team, enjoying Waffle Wednesday, and thinking about ways to make your Seelio experience the best it can be.

Seelio Waffle Wednesday

Seelio will still be Seelio, as it’s own unique brand. We’ll keep innovating on our technology and service model. But along the way we get a leader and partner to help us grow and bring Seelio into the hands of more students and universities around the world so everyone has a chance to get the most out of their education.

I want to acknowledge the amazingly talented Ann Arbor community, the best place in the world to start a company that can change the world. Thank you to the University of Michigan, our first official Seelio partner, and Menlo Innovations, for letting us crash on your couch as a company during our formative stages.

Moses and Rich on Seelio's last day at Menlo Innovations

I also want to take a moment to thank the Seelio team for all of their effort to make Seelio what it is today. And thank you to PlattForm and all of our investors for believing in our vision and helping us grow.

And of course, I want to thank each and every member of our Seelio community. We couldn’t do what we do without you and it’s a joy to build something that we truly believe will make a difference in your lives.

To changing lives through education,


MIT’s Justin Lai: Why Engineering Portfolios are Important

Engineering Portfolios

Why engineering portfolios are important, from MIT’s Justin Lai

If you’re an engineer, you better start thinking about your engineering portfolio

We recently sat down with Justin Lai, Invention Education Associate with the Lemelson-MIT program, to talk about the need for engineering portfolios. Previously, Justin was a researcher in the MIT Ideation Lab.

As a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Justin’s research looked at how people design through process and in practice, how to teach students to design products for people. Two significant teaching projects Justin helped create are 2.97 Designing for People (two week short course) and Discover Product Design (one week pre-orientation program).

How did you become such an advocate for student portfolios at MIT?

At the MIT Ideation Lab, under Prof. Maria Yang, I co-led new efforts to bring the product design process to students, especially earlier in their time at MIT.

With my colleague, Geoff Tsai, we interacted with many students who were interested in getting product design work experience. As portfolios are a must have for the application process, we realized there were no resources tailored for our Department of Mechanical Engineering students that would help them in the portfolio creation process.

Then, with the guidance of our advisor, along with Prof. David Wallace and Writing Across the Curriculum lecturers, Jane Connor and Jane Kokernak, Geoff and I developed a basic lecture workshop that outlined the beginning steps of making a engineering portfolio.

From your experience, what benefits do students get from creating an engineering portfolio?

Overall, the students are able to communicate about their past experiences more clearly, regardless of whether the actual portfolio is needed in a given application process. Also, once they’ve created their engineering portfolio they are able to respond to unexpected opportunities of displaying their work (there’s no replacement for being ready now). For any sort of creative work, the portfolio is an example of how they can creatively communicate. Finally, going through the portfolio process once will give them motivation to better document future projects.

What are your top tips for student on how to build an engineering portfolio?

  • Consider your audience. One version of your portfolio will not suit the needs of all your users.
  • Document now. Filter and sort later. Try to capture everything you can and don’t assume you’ll be able to go back to re-document; you often won’t have time.
  • Develop a workflow to archive and retrieve the raw materials of each project.
  • Design on paper first.
  • Get feedback often. It’s the easiest way to discover what isn’t clear

What excites you most about Seelio?

Our main message to our students has been about the process of making a portfolio—that the process is more important than getting bogged down in how to use specific design tools. We were excited to see this platform that isn’t focused on a particular industry, like ones that typically ask for portfolios (graphic design, architecture, industrial design), and allows you to get your projects displayed quickly.

Take a look at some engineering portfolios from current MIT Students: