On Thursday, Sept. 26, Lawrence University hosted a career fair where over 25 companies came to give their pitches and make connections with college students. The companies involved included everything from tiny, 15-person startups to massive 40,000 strong companies like Johnson Company, which makes almost all of the thermometers in the country or local nonprofits like the Riverview Gardens. The FBI even had a representative at the fair.
Each organization gave a short pitch about what they do, who they are looking for and what kinds of jobs are available. From there the fair split up and students were able to wander around and make connections with any of the companies that sounded interesting.
It was a great experience for students to network for possible future jobs and internships. Approximately 100 students were at the fair, and not only did the amount and variety of companies appeal to every student, but the positions they were seeking to fill could fit any student as well. Some companies were hiring full time and were looking for about-to-graduate seniors, while others were just looking to fulfil internships for underclassmen in the summer, and everything in between. Any student that went would have gotten much out of the event.
The fair itself was put together by the Center for Career, Life, and Community Engagement (CLC), who are looking to expand what they do in order to help every Lawrentian graduate with a fully formed plan. The Lawrentian was given the opportunity to sit down with the Riaz Waraich Dean for Career, Life, and Community Engagement, Mike O’Connor, in order to see what kind of direction the department wishes to head. O’Connor himself was brought in just at the end of last year and hopes to make some big changes in the department itself. Most notably, he said, “We are trying to build ourselves into the first year experience.” According to him, one of the biggest issues is that students do not have a plan for when they graduate, instead waiting until the last minute or even worse, thus leaving with no direction. However, CLC is a fantastic, often underutilized resource for students. They can help create plans by working with you to see where your skills and interests are and what fields that can push you towards, or they can do simpler things like resume help or practicing for job interviews.
Their plans for interacting with the student body are only getting bigger and better. For example, they are starting to partner with alumni and various organizations to give current Lawrentians contacts for the future, and they are hoping to work with various clubs and groups on campus to give the ability to utilize some of those skills. In addition they will continue events like the career fair in order to continually connect Lawrence with the outside world. Much of what they are doing, spearheaded by O’Connor himself, is breaking down the Lawrence bubble to ensure the success of every Lawrentian. The CLC can be found at the back of the library or on the second floor of Chapman Hall. Utilization of these resources can be done by making an appointment via email or by using walk-in hours four days per week.