The National Society of Black Engineers/Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Career Fair is a tremendous undertaking, one that is appreciated by every member of the student body that receives an opportunity from it; however, this year’s fair could be improved upon for next year. The organization and timing of the event made it more challenging for students already juggling lots of work to get the most out of it.
The Career Fair was over the same weekend as Reunion & Homecoming 2009, the official opening of East Campus Athletic Village, and between weeks when many students had exams. The timing of the event led students to choose between improving or maintaining their GPA by testing well, or working on a resumé to get a co-op, internship, or full-time job.
In addition to the poor timing, the event was less organized in comparison to previous years. Registration for the career fair closed approximately one week before the event, and it was not easy to e-mail a coordinator and register late. Last year, the website was a valuable tool allowing students to sort companies by major and what day each would be available, something that was sorely missed this year.
There were also fewer companies overall, especially for fields other than engineering. Granted, the economy is bad, and this is a well-known fact; however, given the timing of the event, it wouldn’t have been unreasonable to try to get as many companies as possible to come.
While it is a point of pride for NSBE and SHPE that the career fair is so large and entirely student-run, the fair should definitely be looking to improve next year given the challenges of finding jobs and work in general. It’s possible that professionals paid to work on such a project would be more capable of getting a variety companies and opportunities for students. The CDC will have their chance in the spring, and the community can see then if they are more capable.