Employers gathered in the Shepherd Union Building ballrooms Tuesday to meet up with Weber State students who are thinking of where they want to work when they graduate. The career fair was focused on science, technology, engineering and math programs, or STEM.
The STEM Fair is held every year in collaboration with the College of Engineering, Applied Science and Technology, or EAST, the College of Science, and WSU Career Services.
It’s free for students to attend, and is an opportunity for students to network. Many reputable technology-focused employers attend to speak with students.
Job fairs are usually geared towards junior and seniors who are approaching their graduation date and are wanting to network and discuss their future.
Freshmen and sophomores can start networking as well, but it’s also a good opportunity to search for internships.
Career Services encouraged students to bring their resumes to pass out to employers, to dress up and to prepare an “elevator speech,” which is a sales pitch of why you would fit in with a company.
“It’s a great opportunity for employers to have access to our amazing students,” said Kimberly Ealy, career adviser and coordinator for EAST.
Ealy even hosted a class for students so they could be prepared, especially if they were just stopping in between classes.
There were about 60 employers that showed up for the event. “We wanted to focus on quality, not quantity of the employers,” said Ealy.
This is Ealy’s first year at WSU, and the first time she’s ever been involved in a job event this large. “It’s great learning and it’s fun,” Ealy said.
A new addition to the STEM Fair was a photo booth to get professional head shots done for free.
While the event was in full swing, Ealy added that things were going as planned, and that it was nice to see students spread out speaking to different businesses, instead of being clustered in one area. “I think the headshots helped with that,” she said.
Employers were out in front of their tables, eagerly shaking hands with students. Devon Flores, a recruiter from Vivint, said the event went well.
“I think people are looking for more specific jobs that don’t exactly relate to us, but it’s still nice,” he said.
Similarly, Rob Christiansen of Simple Finance said he’s looking for students with hands-on experience. “It goes a long way,” he said. “I like to see people that have not only done their classwork but gone beyond that.” Christiansen also mentioned that WSU seems to have a wide variety of talent.
While employers found good prospects in WSU students, the students had a hard time finding something that fit with their major.
Elizabeth Grant, a Web and User Experience major and junior, said that even though she talked to nearly every employer, there was a lack of opportunities for her to pursue.
“My professor suggested that I come, and I figured if he suggested it, then maybe it’s worth checking out,” she said. “I talked to everyone just to talk to everyone, but there were only a handful of people I would want to work for.”
Because there are a lot of engineering jobs and IT jobs, there weren’t many that fit with Grant’s major. “I’m front-end,” she explained. “I’m like hostess at the restaurant that makes things look pretty, verses the cooks in the kitchen.”
Similarly, WSU student Angela Holbrook had difficulty finding what she was looking for. Holbrook already has a degree in mathematics, and is currently pursuing a degree in Computer Science.
“I find that a lot of employers here want business, or engineering, or science things, so there’s no real ‘M’ in STEM,” said Holbrook. “Utah is really bad at hiring mathematicians, which is why I’m doing computer science now as well.”
Even though some students weren’t able to find what they were looking for, senior Bryant Morrill, a Computer Science major, was able to pass his resume to some employers.
“I have a vague idea of what I want to do after graduation, but I’m coming here to see what the options are and pass my resume out and network a little bit,” said Morrill. “I found some really interesting prospects, and a lot of employers are willing to hire students who haven’t quite graduated.”