Winter Career Fair connects students, employers
Christopher Parker | Wednesday, January 29, 2020
The elevators of the Duncan Student Center were crowded with black skirts, blue coats and resumes Tuesday evening as they carried students up to the Dahnke Ballroom for the Winter Career Fair. Hosted by the Meruelo Family Center for Career Development, the event ran from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and provided an opportunity for students and employers to connect.
Employee engagement director for the Center for Career Development Kate Cover said 111 total employers attended the event. Employers ranged from government agencies to private companies to non-profit organizations.
Students could explore different tables and booths looking for volunteer, internship and full-time positions. Grace King, a representative from accounting firm Grant Thornton, said that her company was providing information for students as well as keeping an eye out for future talent.
“We are trying to proactively recruit,” she said. “The years have really changed the recruiting process, especially for firms like ours … we start ID’ing people when they’re freshmen. If they’re interested in accounting, we want to get them in the door with Grant Thornton and show them our culture, our people and our differences.”
For some students, the Winter Career Fair is a chance to enhance relationships from previous networking events.
“I hear that a lot of these companies are looking for interns for this coming summer, and I’m hoping that since I also met with them at the Fall Career Fair, that will kind of help me, knowing that I’m interested,” sophomore Ronan McCarter said.
Other students attended the Career Fair with an interest in learning more about their own paths forward. Sophomore Noelle Dana said going to the Career Fair was more a matter of curiosity than a set agenda.
“I’m not particularly seeking anything actively, I’m just keeping an open mind, [to] maybe network and see what opportunities there are,” she said. “I browsed the list, and since I want to be an MD/JD, I’m looking for policy internships where I can explore a path with both of them.”
Regardless of their objective, many students find the Career Fairs a resource for honing skills that they will use later in life. Sophomore Aidan Becklund said the practice in talking to employers helped him build confidence last year as a freshman.
“It was kind of different for me,” he said. “It was my first time networking, talking to a lot of different companies. But it felt natural, comfortable after a little bit. I kind of enjoy it now.”
The spread of corporate, service-based and government employers can help students understand where their interests can be applied professionally. McCarter said he could see himself using his computer science major in different ways but hopes to stay in that area.
“I’m not just restricting my options to just computer science, but there’s a reason I chose that as a major,” he said. “It’s not just that I wanted to do computer science to get a good job. It was mostly because I’m really interested in doing that as a profession.”
Although some students might leave the Career Fair discouraged or overwhelmed, King said her employer has a lengthy and substantial history with the event.
“We’ve been coming here for at least 18 years to recruit talent,” she said. “Eighteen years ago, we hired one of our current partners.”