Student Profile: Britni Hutchinson
A Look at UMaine Composites Center Human Resources with Britni Hutchinson
The University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center is a 100,000 ft2 accredited testing laboratory with 180 faculty, staff, and student employees annually. Human resources is a vital part of the center’s operation. Britni Hutchinson is a fifth year double major in Elementary Education and International Affairs from Turner, Maine. She has worked for the center’s internal human resources team for over three years.
“My favorite part is all of the different projects and the people we work with. It’s really cool to see how this research unit at a university in Orono, Maine, has such a worldwide effect.”
Hutchinson began working at the UMaine Composites Center in the Fall of 2011 during her first year of college. She was initially offered a student position as a result of winning a science competition in high school, the Maine Wind Blade Challenge.
“In high school, we did the Wind Blade Challenge in my Honors Physics class, and my group came in first place. A part of the prize then was anyone who came to the University of Maine would get a job at the center. So that’s how I ended up here,” Hutchinson said.
Although she had never heard of the UMaine Composites Center before participating in the Maine Wind Blade Challenge, Hutchinson soon realized how interesting the center’s research was.
Hutchinson started working in the lab, assisting technical and laboratory staff with various projects. After a few months, Hutchinson realized that there were other opportunities that she wanted to explore.
While she had never had experience working in HR, Hutchinson was eager to learn about employee advancement and the hiring process.
After shadowing during interviews, Hutchinson soon took on more responsibility from writing interview questions to observing interviews. She soon found herself ingrained with the human resources team, assisting with employee advancement and organization.
“It’s nice to work with the center’s employees. I’ve assisted with employee advancement; it’s nice to know that I can help other people advance their careers, too.”
Now, Hutchinson’s work has led to an opportunity to work in the center’s front office. Her experience since starting in the lab has helped her settle into a position that requires a lot of knowledge about the center’s overall operations. “Both working in the lab and working in HR helps me in the front office immensely because I know the layout of the lab, I know where people’s offices are, and I know about the different parts of the lab itself. It definitely helps.”
Hutchinson is now working with the front office team to schedule tours, organize meetings, and assist with tasks that help keep the center running smoothly. Hutchinson believes that the diverse skills she uses every day will help her land a job after graduation.
“Working at the center has helped me in my professional career and in my life. Knowing what people are looking for, and knowing how to best interact in an interview is crucial. All the different people I’ve interacted with will be really beneficial for interpersonal communications and connections for me in the future.”
After graduation, Hutchinson wants to pursue a career in Maine teaching fourth or fifth grade.