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CCCC SPIE Student Chapter hosts 'Interviewing Skills Panel' event

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Click to enlarge,  Kien Lao responds to a question on March 18 at the Interview Skills Panel event presented by the Laser and Photonics Technology program at Central Carolina Community College. Pictured are, left to right: Skylar Overby (Harnett County), first-year Laser student and SPIE Student Chapter President, who moderated the event; second-year Laser students Isabelle Karis (Cumberland County), Cameron Wiedholz (Chatham County), Robert Strickland (Moore County), and Kilvet Zalavarria (Harnett County); CCCC Career Center Coordinator Mary Parker, and CCCC Laser program advisor and industry partner Kien Lao.

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Kien Lao responds to a question on March 18 at the Interview Skills Panel event presented by the Laser ... (more)

03.27.2019College & CommunityCollege GeneralStudents/Graduates

LILLINGTON - The Central Carolina Community College SPIE Student Chapter hosted an "Interviewing Skills Panel" on Monday, March 18, in the Miriello Building Multi-Purpose Room at the CCCC Harnett Main Campus, Lillington.

The panel discussed successful interviewing skills, including preparation, interview questions and answering, and post-interview etiquette. The discussion and question and answer session was open to the public.

The panel was comprised of second-year Laser students Isabelle Karis (Cumberland County), Cameron Wiedholz (Chatham County), Robert Strickland (Moore County), and Kilvet Zalavarria (Harnett County). All four students have interviewed with multiple companies, and three of them have already accepted offers. Isabelle Karis accepted a position at MegaWatt Lasers and begins work on April 1st. She will be working in the laser lab and traveling to assist with international sales, mainly in Germany and China. Cameron Wiedholz accepted a position with Mazak Optonics and began work on March 25th. He will be working in the Field Engineering group, performing large laser system installs across the U.S. Robert Strickland accepted a position with Lawrence Livermore National Labs and begins work in June. He will be working in the National Ignition Facility (NIF), helping to control the 192 laser beams that form the highest energy laser in the world, which is used to create nuclear fusion. Kilvet Zalavarria is still interviewing and considering opportunities.

The students shared their job hunt strategies, including resume building, preparing for an interview, the interview, including sharing interview questions and follow-up after the interview. They also discussed how to professionally handle multiple job offers.

Kien Lao, a CCCC Laser program industry advisor, also served on the panel. Since his partial retirement, he frequently helps with volunteer projects aimed at helping to prepare students for a successful future career. He has a successful career in engineering technology, which includes years as an individual engineering contributor, engineering leadership, including Vice President of the U.S. engineering team of a multi-billion dollar engineering company, and then a successful 20-plus years owning multiple successful engineering companies.

According to Gary Beasley, Lead Instructor of the CCCC Laser Program, "Since Kien joined the Laser program advisory committee a few years ago, he has really been a true blessing. The Laser program advisors, like Kien, are one of the main reasons for the national success of the CCCC Laser program!"

CCCC Career Center Coordinator Mary Parker also served on the panel. She has a wealth of experience and education in the latest strategies for preparing outstanding resumes to land an interview, how to prepare for a successful interview, interviewing tips, and professional follow-up after the interview.

This third annual "Interview Skills Panel" hosted by the CCCC Laser Program SPIE Student Chapter Laser Club was a big hit helping first-year Laser students to know how to begin preparing for their future job interviews. According to Gary Beasley, "They need to begin getting ready, since laser companies will begin to seek them out for employment in less than a year." In fact, he noted, "One company is already scheduled to speak with the first-year Laser students, including interviews, about career opportunities in 2020, on April 16, 2019."

SPIE is an international society promoting an interdisciplinary approach to the science and application of light. Skylar Overby (Harnett County), who is CCCC SPIE Student Chapter President, served as moderator of the event. The CCCC Laser program student chapter club Foundation account helped to fund the event, which served pizza for students and guests.

To learn more about Central Carolina Community College's Laser & Photonics Technology program, contact CCCC Laser & Photonics Technology Lead Instructor Gary Beasley at (910) 814-8828 or by email at To learn more about SPIE, visit

To learn more about ways to help the CCCC Laser program student chapter club, contact CCCC Foundation Executive Director Dr. Emily Hare at (919) 718-7230 or by email at