They were looking for more than just gophers and coffeemakers.
The companies, nonprofit organizations and government entities—many of them returnees from last year—came to Graham Conference Center on Thursday, Nov. 1 because they had heard about Central students far and wide.
“A lot of the companies came back this year because they had such good experiences with Central students they had hired as interns,” says Lindsey von Gillern, a senior communication studies major from Omaha, Neb. As a member of the Career Leadership Board, she helped plan last week’s event.
Central students turned out in droves to visit the fall Internship Fair—for networking and interview practice—not to mention the chance to land an interesting and résumé-boosting internship.
“I thought the fair was a great way for students to interact and network with regional employers and discover opportunities,” says Kory Borcherding, senior actuarial science major from Manchester, Iowa, who worked the fair as part of his work study job.
Planning the fair this year was a piece of cake, since employers started contacting the Career Center on their own, asking to be included because of last year’s high turnout.
“We were thrilled with the number and variety of employers who attended and their enthusiasm about Central students as potential interns,” says Pat Kitzman, director of the Career Center. “We were also happy that 150 students attended and received helpful information about future opportunities.”
The students were thrilled, too, especially about interacting with professionals with real-world experience. “The fair was very useful in helping me hone my skills of just walking up to people that I don’t know and talking,” says Carson Claypool, a sophomore exploring major from Newton, Iowa.
Other students used the fair as an afternoon to contemplate their futures. “The internship fair helped me to realize what opportunities are out there and gave me an idea of what kind of jobs I could potentially get with my major,” says Emily Koontz, a junior Spanish and business management major from Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Seniors, especially, appreciated the chance to look not just for internships but for potential jobs after graduation. “It was nice to meet a variety of employers that are excited to meet college students,” says Nick Beyer, a senior economics major. ” As a senior graduating in May, I was glad to see a lot of the employers were not only interested in offering internships, but also full-time positions after graduation. I got to know a lot of people, and I have already been in contact with several of them in search of a career.”
Forty organizations showcased their internship programs and jobs at the fair, including Pella Corporation, Iowa Sports Foundation, Wells Fargo, Pella Regional Health Center, the City of Pella, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Army Corps of Engineers.
“It was a great way to get your name out in the world,” says Cameron Macdonald, junior information systems major from Urbandale, Iowa. “Whenever there is a chance to talk with professionals, it is good learning experience.”