ERIE, Pa. — Dressed to impress, with resumes, breath mints and rehearsed questions, Penn State Behrend students and alumni tested the job market on March 29 at the college’s Career and Internship Fair.
Recruiters from 165 companies, including Bausch & Lomb, Nissan and Westinghouse Electric, staffed tables in the Junker Center, hoping to fill full-time, part-time, co-op and internship positions.
“My goal is to get as many people as I can to talk to me,” said Samara Steber, a human resources representative at the Chautauqua Institution. She hoped to fill several internships and seasonal jobs, including culinary, hospitality, arts and marketing positions.
Many of the Behrend students who attended aren’t yet looking for full-time work. Zane Lewis, a first-year student in the finance and accounting programs, was looking for an internship. He also attended the fall career fair.
“I am trying to get started early and get my name out there,” he said. “Behrend does a great job of providing opportunities like this, and it’s in a student’s best interest to take advantage of it.”
Emma Mailliard, a sophomore in the management information systems program, wanted to practice her interactions with potential employers.
“I hadn’t been to a career fair yet, so I wanted to get a feel for it, so I know exactly what to be looking for next year,” she said.
McKenna Shorts, a sophomore studying accounting, was following up with contacts at companies that she thought might be a good fit.
“I applied for some internships, so I was hoping to connect with some of the employers I applied to,” she said. “I’m trying to make connections and learn more about positions.”
Members of Behrend’s Career Services team were on hand to guide students who were new to the process. They offered conversational prompts that can help make the most of an interaction with a potential employer.
Students also could have professional photos taken for their LinkedIn profiles.
The recruiters also were eager to meet students and make new connections.
“Being able to access that many students in a short amount of time is beneficial,” said Matt Watson, engineering manager at AGR International. The Butler-based company already has Behrend alumni in its engineering group.
“I am looking for someone who has the confidence to look me in the eyes and be interested in learning about us,” said Carole Brandon, a software support manager at AGR. “Are they interested? Do they ask relevant questions?”
Kendra Culliam, a human resources generalist at Relucent Plastics Solutions, traveled from Colorado to meet with students. Several alumni from Behrend’s plastics engineering technology program already work for the company.
“We’re just really trying to find someone from this particular plastics program,” she said. “Someone new and ready to learn.”
Lucian D’Acchille, an engineering manager, worked the table with her.
“We are looking for that young, enthusiastic student who is looking to help us build our company,” he said.
Assistant director, news and information, Penn State Behrend