August 28 — 7:07 am, 2019

Carver junior learns value of networking at Drexel

"First impressions go a long way."

Unique Dilday (Photo: Paul Jablow)

Today’s employers often say that many young job applicants they see who are smart and well-trained still lack the “soft skills” of getting along in the workplace.

This is unlikely to be the case for Unique Dilday after this summer’s Philadelphia Youth Network internship with Drexel University. Dilday, a rising junior at George Washington Carver High School of Engineering & Science, was originally supposed to work only in the areas of government and community relations, but her supervisor felt she would benefit from a broader experience, so she was also given tasks in research and insurance.

Some of the work, such as alphabetizing and uncluttering contact lists, seemed mundane, but she said she learned to respect its importance.

“I also worked on big projects, including patents” held by Drexel students and professors, deciding which ones were still in force and which had expired.

“All my supervisors were very helpful in answering my questions,” says Dilday, 16, who lives in Southwest Philadelphia. She worked with a paralegal to help screen Drexel police applicants to see whether background checks had been completed.

“I got to meet very, very important people who had great jobs,” she says. “Just talking to them about what they did to get where they are really opened my eyes.”

After graduation, Dilday wants to be a pharmacist and is aiming for Johns Hopkins University or Drexel University.

Her biggest takeaways from the summer?

One was “being more organized,” she said. “I’ll take that with me the rest of my life.”

Another was “Don’t burn any bridges. … Keep in contact. … They taught me about networking. I didn’t just meet people in my building.

“First impressions go a long way. Always be kind and nice. When you first meet a person, you don’t want to be rude or ignorant, even if you think you may never see that person again.

“You never know.”

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