As a teenager, Tina Batten viewed working for her dad’s various businesses and in her mom’s office as just a way to make money. As it turned out, it was good training for where she is now, working in corporate relations for the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS).
“I worked all the time. I thought it was great, whether I was volunteering for a charity or working at my mom’s office, it all felt very grown up,” she says.
In college she followed her heart and studied English as her major with minors in history and Spanish at Walla Walla University. Her plan was to teach high school, but she realized when she did student teaching that it wasn’t the career for her.
“I’m really grateful for the background. It gave me a chance to work with diverse groups, and I learned a lot both about myself and about working with different types of people.”
After determining teaching was not her calling, she got the chance to work with some engineering professors. It was the chance of a lifetime as the job would eventually lead her to Oregon State. “So, even though my career path didn't start out the way way I thought it would, I'm very happy with where I am now,” she says.
One of her favorite parts of her job is creating opportunities for students through industry contacts. “I really enjoy seeing our students connect with industry and go out and join the workforce.”
A key program to helping students network is the INSPiRE industrial affiliates program. The program connects undergraduate students with business people through annual recruiting events, the Capstone Senior Design Course and regular club seminars.
Students benefit by learning about what’s happening currently in high-tech industry and specifics about jobs. They also have opportunities to interact more directly with companies and gain real-world experience by collaborating with their industry clients.
“It can be very impactful for the students,” she says.
Batten really likes the collaborative and friendly environment in EECS. “People are genuinely interested in working with each other here. They like each other. They get coffee together, their kids play together, and that's something you don’t see every day. If you can collaborate, then you can leverage what you have to become so much more. It’s exciting,” she says.
While she admits science and math are not her strengths, she loves being around technology. Currently, her favorite piece of technology is her TiVo. She explains that her passion for literature extends to television and film. And although she has her favorites, she finds herself hooked on public television. “I love my TiVo. It manages my addiction for me,” she says with a laugh
—By Rachel Robertson