Make connections early – network as soon as possible
Jusline is resilient. When you listen to her history, you're left with no doubt that she is a determined achiever who sees obstacles as opportunities. Although she already had a two-year degree in Computer Engineering Technology in Syria, the country of her birth, Jusline and her family realized that further educational growth would best come from a move to the United States. So, they left behind their jobs, property and extended family - and ventured into the unknown.
When Jusline emigrated in 2007 with her father, mother and younger brother, she faced challenges that many young people would find daunting. She took a second-shift factory job to support the family as she attended classes during the day, including English as a Second Language (ESL). While saving to buy a used car for work and school, Jusline walked 30 minutes every day to a co-worker's house to catch a ride.
Even with such a chaotic schedule, Jusline made rapid strides towards her goals. She first attended Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC) where she earned a dual degree in liberal arts and education in 2011. In 2013, she completed a bachelor of arts in computer science at Bucknell University.
When asked what kept her going, she replied, "My father was a doctor in Syria and my mother, a nurse/midwife. When we came to the U.S., they also had to take factory jobs. They gave up so much for their children, I owed it to them. And I owed it to myself. This was my chance to make a better me."
In 2011 and 2012, Jusline was recruited for an Air Products summer intern. In her second internship, she traveled with the Network Technical Support team to California and installed data and voice network hardware to maintain viability and provide new capabilities.
Then she was hired in the Career Development Program (CDP). Jusline wanted to step out of her IT "comfort zone" and learn more about Air Products' businesses to better support them from an IT perspective. So she worked with business leads to create a custom assignment with the Enterprise Platform Renewal (EPR) project and became a Super Power User. The first day of work was in Dublin, Ireland. Overall, she spent about six months in the UK and Europe and traveled for work as well as on personal/vacation time. She revealed: "Traveling is very important to me – I love meeting people from different cultures. It teaches you to keep an open mind and to get a different perspective."
How did she find the Air Products culture? "I loved it!" she exclaimed. "When I did my first internship here, I was so scared! Coming from a community college, I felt unprepared and inexperienced. But everyone was so supportive. No one made me feel inferior. Everyone was so accessible and helpful." She was also impressed with the number of women in leadership roles. She liked the diversity and global reach of Air Products.
In retrospect, was there anything she would do differently? "I put limits on myself. For example, I put up barriers between myself and other young employees. I was just more comfortable around older colleagues. I judged myself more than anyone ever could."
What career advice would she give other women? "Keep an open mind so you don't miss out on experiences. Also, make connections early – network as soon as possible so people know who you are. Relationships are very important."
Jusline also suggests looking for leadership opportunities inside and outside the company. Today she serves on the board of Pinebrook Family Answers and she volunteers with Bethany Church as a Cultural Orientation Facilitator for new refugee families coming to the U.S.
When asked about her dream job someday, she smiles. "To be Chief Information Officer (CIO) at a great company like Air Products," she laughs. "Maybe you better not print that."
Read more about Jusline academic journey which brought her to Air Products
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