Casey DeCarlo

Class of 2021

Integrated Undergraduate Graduate Program

B.S. in Labor and Employment Relations, M.S. in Human Resources and Employment Relations

Textron Systems

Meet Casey

When Casey DeCarlo came to Penn State, she didn’t have a clear idea of what she wanted to do for a career. She started in the division of undergraduate studies (DUS) major. 

“I had an interest in criminology, but I quickly found out those classes weren’t for me. It’s not like what you see on TV,” she joked.   

On the advice of her advisor, DeCarlo took LER 100 with Dr. Paul Clark. That course helped her realize there were aspects of labor relations that aligned with her interests and values. “There are so many things you can do with the major and I liked the fact that there were so many paths within the field,” she said. 

DeCarlo completed a Bachelor of Science in labor and employment relations as well as a Master of Science in human resources and employment relations. She completed both degrees in just five years by being part of the school’s integrated undergraduate graduate (IUG) program.

DeCarlo said she initially didn’t have plans to pursue grad school but interacting with classmates who were already in the program piqued her interest. “It was nice to hear from my peers rather than just a faculty perspective,” she added.

The School of LER offers three different IUG programs. You can pair an M.S. with a B.S. in Spanish, psychology, or labor and human resources (formerly labor and employment relations).

How She Got There 

During her studies at Penn State, DeCarlo completed two internships which she says helped her land a full-time job after graduation. 

In 2019, DeCarlo interned at Textron System’s Hunt Valley, Maryland facility. Textron is a multi-industry company employing 33,000 people in industries including aerospace and defense, specialized vehicles, turf care, and fuel systems. The next summer, she held another internship with their subsidiary company, Bell Helicopter, in Fort Worth, Texas. 

“The company is big on promoting from within and retaining their interns,” DeCarlo said. “And like interns, we had the opportunity to apply for jobs even before they were posted externally to the regular job market. I had a job offer going into my graduate year, which decreased the stress of job hunting in a pandemic.”

DeCarlo started at Textron Systems as a University Relations Specialist and is currently part of Textron’s Human Resources Development Program. “Instead of being in a direct-hire position, I’m in a program where I’ll rotate for two years,” she explained. “The first rotation is the University Relations position recruiting for interns and entry-level hires.”

In her day-to-day work, DeCarlo helps oversee all the interns in Textron’s internship program, deals with new hires, puts out rehire offers, and builds campus relationships through career fairs or classroom presentations. She said Textron is focused on recruiting students to fill open positions and working with hiring managers to see what their needs are. “It’s great to go back to college and connect with students. It’s been really busy and it’s cool to see topics from my LER courses come into play,” she said. 

“I had fabulous professors who helped me really connect to the material and connect with other people, too,” she added. “I had close relationships with my professors, and I know that’s not always the case in a large university setting. That helped me with letters of recommendation and even job and internship opportunities.”

Something else that stands out to DeCarlo after her time in the school is how the faculty worked to bring in alumni to speak to classes and make networking connections.

Looking Back

Reflecting on her time at Penn State, DeCarlo said being part of the School of LER made it easier to navigate a large university. “It made a big campus feel smaller,” she noted.

DeCarlo also stressed the importance of taking advantage of career support through the school. Kim Plummer, the school’s career advisor, sends out weekly job postings. DeCarlo said, “That was so helpful because they catered to us with HR postings, labor relations postings, and things like that. Kim is also a helpful resource to reach out to with questions about everything from resumes to navigating job offers.

“It sounds a little generic, but there’s so much going on at Penn State and in the school that can benefit you in the long run,” she said. “It’s up to you to make the most of it.”

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