Life After Uplift provides an in-depth look at what Uplift Education alumni experience after graduating and going off into the real world.
In this edition of Life After Uplift, Khalil Payton takes us through his experiences after he graduated and his journey in the early stage of his career.
Khalil, a graduate of Uplift Hampton Preparatory, first became interested in engineering when he joined the robotics club during his freshman year of high school. It was that spark that eventually led him to Tufts University.
“My favorite subject in school was definitely math,” Khalil said. “Higher-level math was challenging and enjoyable.”
While on a Road to College trip, he convinced his Geometry teacher, Ms. Rubenfeld, to take him to her alma mater, Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts. While there, he toured the campus, spoke with other students, and even met with the Director of Mechanical Engineering.
“I had the opportunity to actually engage with people that were actually at the campus, not just tour guides,” Khalil said. “It was the first time really meeting students and faculty in the field that I wanted to study.”
Khalil applied and was accepted to Tufts, which was a huge accomplishment. U.S. News & World Report names Tufts’ undergraduate admission as the “most selective”. Tufts accepted only 15% of their over 23,000 applicants for the class of 2024.
While at Tufts, Khalil took advantage of everything the school had to offer, from different cultural centers to state-of-the-art facilities. Most importantly, Khalil took advantage of the career services offered by the school and credits them for preparing him to eventually land his dream job.
“They helped me restructure my resume, encouraged me to network, looked for companies that might fit my interests, and informed me of any job listings that I should apply for,” Khalil said.
Upon graduating from Tufts, Khalil wanted to get a job in Boston, but things weren’t that simple. After about a year or so of job searching, Khalil decided to move back home to the DFW area.
“I was working at Amazon at the time, and I had just gotten tired of it,” Khalil said. “It was a lot of physical work, and I went to school to avoid that.”
A connection he had with this freshman English teacher at Tufts led to his current career.
“She had a friend, and he went to business school with someone who operates in the DFW area, and he happened to know the President of the company I’m now working at, who also just so happened to have a job opening for an engineering grad,” Khalil says. “It was basically a string of coincidences, but it kind of worked out that I was able to form a good connection with someone at my school that led me to the position I’m in now.”
Khalil currently works for LinkUp International, a sheet metal manufacturer in Roanoke, as a design engineer. LinkUp serves railroads in thirteen different countries and provides professional sales, engineering, manufacturing, and distribution services to the railway industry through a wide variety of railway products and equipment.
His most significant piece of advice for anyone looking for a job is to network.
“Find a group of people, stay well connected at your school, and get to know people who work at your school’s career services center,” Khalil said. “Let them know your interests, what you’re majoring in, etc. They’ll be on the lookout for jobs that are on your radar; they’ll work with you on your resume and help with a cover letter when it’s time to apply.”
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