Professional Development

Paying it foward: Mengliu Zhao, Computing Science PhD candidate, on her proactive career strategy

July 04, 2014
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This post is part of a series exploring ways graduate students and postdocs are taking proactive approaches to their career development.

It doesn't have to be all about you. It can be all about you, and all about them at the same time--at least according to one of the latest concepts to hit the field of career development.

"Self-leadership entails an outward-looking mindset – being conscious and careful in sharing our ideas and opening up our networks (source).

In other words, it’s about doing things to help others that over the long term will help you set and achieve your own professional goals. And Mengliu Zhao is already doing it.

Last May Mengliu organized an event focused on helping her peers understand how to improve their programming skills, access opportunities and adapt to organizational culture of Amazon. The event included three speakers from the e-commerce company inlcuding Nazanin Bakhshi, Kara McNair and Sara Yadegari.

With over 50 students in attendance, it was Mengliu’s biggest event as president of Computer Science Graduate Students Association (CS GSA). 

“Most of the time I am in my lab, lately I thinking about what I can do now to pursue my future now.”

By helping others achieve their goals, Mengliu is establishing a network which will likely help her out over the duration of her own career.

Mengliu is currently enrolled in the APEX Certificate program, designed to help graduate students define and pursue their careers. See our site or contact jamsden@sfu.ca to learn more.  

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