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A Temp Summer Job Between Semesters: A Q&A with Wayana Dolan

Wayana Dolan is a young professional on the move. This spring, she graduated college in LA, only returning to Seattle for a brief summer break before starting a masters’ program in North Carolina the fall. During her summer in Seattle, she sought out Parker to help her find a summer job; something to keep her sharp before moving to Chapel Hill for her next chapter. Sensing the motivation, drive, and professionalism from Wayana, our recruiter, Kelly, set her up with Delta Dental in their new office space.

Wayana recently completed her contract assignment through Parker; however, right before she left for graduate school, she allowed us to interview her about her experience.

The Convenience of a Summer Job for Wayana

// Hi Wayana, thanks for chatting with us. Let’s start with your summer job. Can you tell us a little bit about the role you were placed into by Parker?

Parker placed me into a temporary receptionist position at Delta Dental of Washington. The company recently moved to a hip new office in South Lake Union and, for the first time in several years, had a lobby that required a receptionist to be present at all times. My primary responsibilities were to greet and check in guests as well as to act as lobby security. Since this was a new position at Delta Dental, I also worked with my supervisor and other administrators to define the role of the receptionist.

// What a great summer job opportunity between semesters! So, how did you come across Parker in the first place? Can you describe what the process working with Parker was like?

I lived in Los Angeles for the past year after graduating from Occidental College in 2016. Once I made the decision to attend graduate school in North Carolina, I decided to come home to my family in Seattle for the summer before getting my masters. I wanted to work; but I needed something temporary.

My mom works at Tableau, and she connected me with one of the receptionists there who was placed via Parker. The receptionist then introduced me to Kelly! She was able to meet with me the day after I moved up from Los Angeles. The Parker team found the position for me at Delta Dental within a week!

What the Future Has in Store

// So, you are heading back to school at the end of the summer. Can you tell us a little bit about what you are studying?

I will be beginning a M.S. program in geology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. I’ve always been interested in earth science that impacts people—whether that be extreme weather, earth quakes, landslides, or climate change. After travelling to Northern Norway last summer, I fell in love with the arctic. I decided to apply for graduate programs that might one day allow me to return to north of the Arctic Circle.

The project that I am set to work on involves using satellite imagery to create maps of river ice in the northern hemisphere over the last ten to fifteen years. We want to better understand how river ice breakup has changed during that period. NASA is sending up a new satellite called the SWOT (Surface Water & Ocean Topography) mission in 2021 whose instruments are geared towards remotely sensing water and ice. Our research will hopefully provide a good reference point for people when they begin using the data from SWOT.

// Wow! That sounds like such an exciting project offering some great experience for you. What ultimately would you like to be doing once you wrap up with school?

What a challenging question! I chose to do a M.S. rather than a Ph.D. primarily because I wanted to leave several options open. My dream job, which would eventually require a PhD, would be working for the United States Geological Survey (the USGS) making maps that show things like climate change impact areas or earthquake hazards. However, I could also see myself going into academia or into something more policy related.

Maintaining a Well-Balanced Life

// Last question, and it’s one that might be most helpful for others that are in a similar situation as you! As a student, how do you balance the demands of your workload with internships and part time work?

Looking back on my undergraduate years, I managed to cram in a lot! During my first two years of school, I worked as a barista. Then during my last year, I had an off-campus internship at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and tutored students on campus in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Additionally, I was in three different musical ensembles, danced in Occidental College’s Dance Production Club, and hosted a radio show for two years.  I managed my time by scheduling every minute with Google Calendar. I also didn’t bring work home from my jobs, internship, or extracurricular activities. That way, once I was home, I could focus on school work and studying. 

Special thanks to Wayana Dolan for taking the time to answer a few questions for us. We’re very excited to see what the future holds for Wayana & wish her the best of luck at the University of North Carolina!

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