Tell me what you do in the Engineering Career Services office.
I like to think of myself as the director of first impressions. My husband made me a little sign with that on it years ago that I have sitting on my desk. I’m the first contact for people who come to the office – by face or by phone. It’s up to me to be as professional and welcoming as I can be. Our office helps both undergraduate and graduate students find jobs. Basically, I organize and facilitate recruiters – whether it’s signing up students for the online job board or greeting recruiters when they come in, I’m attending to their needs. I also do general problem solving.
What kinds of problems do you solve?
With recruiters, often they call wanting to post a job, and I’ll talk them through how to do that. There’s nothing more gratifying than when you can help someone and get the problem resolved and everyone is happy.
What are some things you do in your office that most people on campus might not realize?
We have two amazing assistant directors who will meet with students and offer career counseling, resume reviews, salary negotiating – basically anything that will help the student get a full-time job, a co-op or internship. We do six weeks of recruiting in the spring and 10 weeks in the fall, and we do two career fairs – one in the spring and one in the fall – usually at the Illini Union. We have 39 interviewing suites in our building. When the economy is at its best we have been known to have all 39 interviewing suites occupied at one time.
What are some of the things you take pride in about the office?
Our professionalism and teamwork. We work together as an exceptional team. No matter what your rank, everyone pitches in and we get it done. We (the women in the office) have fun while we’re doing it. We also do a little something at (holiday time) that a lot of people aren’t aware of. We decided we wouldn’t buy each other holiday presents. Instead, we’d pool our money and sponsor a local needy family. We ask how many children they have and what their wish list is. It’s an amazing thing. Everybody takes part in it. We put all the loot in (a conference room) and spend a lunch hour or two wrapping it. Then we get the delight of delivering it to the family.
Tell me something you’ve learned in your time at the UI?
I’ve learned a lot about recruiting – what it takes to get a student a job – and the dedication of all the professionals working here. There is nothing more rewarding and exciting than when you’ve worked with a student for many months and they’ll pop their head into the office and say, ‘I’ve got some great news – I got a job!’ We all celebrate when that happens. I feel I’m a part of that.
Tell me about your family.
I have two children. My son, Michael, 36, lives in London, and he and his wife are expecting their first baby in August, so I’m going to be a grandma. My daughter, Tracey, 33, lives in Connecticut. My husband, Bob Goss, is retired from the Air Force. He works at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
Where are you originally from? Why did you immigrate to the U.S.?
I was born in Singapore. My father was in the Royal (British) Air Force, but unfortunately we left when I was only 6 months old, so I can’t tell you much about Singapore. One of my goals is to eventually get back there.
My husband was in the American Air Force. We met on a blind date when he was stationed in England. It was the first time I’d ever gone on a blind date – first time and last time. The rest is history. We’ve been married for 38 years and it’s been a wonderful marriage. We’ve raised two wonderful children – life is good for me.
Do you ever miss England?
I did the first few years. I do still sometimes get homesick. I miss my family. My mother has passed and my father has health issues, but I come from a large family. I’ve got three sisters and two brothers – they’re all in England.
When I first moved to the U.S., there was a lot of adjusting to do. I think what helped me was my father being in the Royal Air Force. We were used to moving around all the time.
What are some of the things you had to get used to when you came to the U.S.?
Well, it’s a completely different way of life. Things happen so much faster here. For instance, if you need an electrician to come to the house in the states, they’ll be here the next day. In England, it could be next week. One of the lovely things that I easily got adjusted to is that everyone is so friendly here. In England, we tend to be reserved. Food choices are very different. The biggest thing I missed at first was my tea.
What other differences are most notable to you between the U.S. and England?
My father was an English gardener – that’s where I get my love of gardening. You can drive into an English village and everyone has got a beautiful garden. I just made the News-Gazette a couple weeks ago. Our garden was featured. It’s a very English garden. My husband likes to say it’s teamwork – that I’m the team and he’s the work.
ELAINE GOSS fast facts
Time at the UI: 12 years (seven years in the College of Business; five in Engineering Career Services).
Hobbies: gardening, traveling, knitting, running and biking.
Lived in U.S.: Since 1974 except from 1980 to 1984 when family was stationed in England with the Air Force.
Homes in the U.S.: Bangor, Maine; Biloxi, Miss.; Las Vegas; Phoenix; and Connecticut, Florida and South Dakota.
Favorite restaurants: Italian food at Biaggi’s; pizza at Old Chicago; steak at the Ribeye.
Favorite reads: books by British author Josephine Cox; health magazines.
Favorite TV shows: “Brothers and Sisters,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Army Wives.”