Career fair provides future opportunities for students


Katherine Camarata

Company booths lined up to offer students internships and jobs.

Katherine Camarata, Staff Reporter

The SURC Ballroom bustled with dozens of company booths and students eager to make career connections Thursday Oct. 7 during the first Engineering, Technologies, Safety and Construction Fair since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Companies were ready to be back in action.

“A lot of the students come here not sure what they want, and I would really like them to all walk away with an idea of a career choice and a career path,”Jerilee Thurston, representative for J. H. Kelly, a commercial mechanical contracting company, said.

Some students had never attended a career fair before, but were eager to reap the benefits. Josh Carnahan, a student at the fair, prepared for the event in advance.

“I’m looking to get an internship this summer for my major, so I shopped around beforehand and came with a handful of companies in mind and went and talked to them all,” Carnahan said. “It went pretty smoothly. My favorite booth was Ballard Marine Construction.”

Photo by Katherine Camarata. Ballard Marine Construction was a favorite booth for students at Thursday’s career fair.

Many company representatives wanted students to find their own passions and be an individual in the workplace.

Ballard Marine Construction representative Rebekah Troxell said, “I hope that we will be able to impart a little bit of our mission onto students, and hear their vision for their futures.”

Other representatives expressed pride in their company and hoped their management style would draw students in.

Ballard Marine Construction representative Jayme Newbigging said, “We purely run our company based on merit and how hard you work. We are proud of our company and think it can be appealing to a younger generation.”

Students had an overall positive reaction to the career fair and felt a connection with the companies.

“I had a very nice time today. A lot of the people running the booths were very informative about what they do as a company and what they’re passionate about,” Binyam Ayele, a student attending the fair, said.

Most booths focused on construction, but the Lamb Weston booth was unique: their company manufactures french fries.

“There’s more out there in safety than just construction,” Lamb Weston representative Mary McCurdy said. “We are hoping to get some high quality safety professionals to show interest in our company and come work for us. Whether it’s an internship or full-time, CWU has a great program so we always have good luck with their students.”

While many booth attendants said the traffic was a little slower than previous years, companies remained optimistic for the event.

“There’s a lot of opportunities, even if it’s not directly in the major you’re looking for,” Caley Larson, a representative for Sellen Construction, said. “There’s a lot of overlap between different positions. Most companies you can find a fit with.”

Many companies hoped that students would gain an understanding of their business function.

“My hope is that students take away what we do every day for work, because what we do [with fire sprinklers] isn’t very well-known throughout the industry,” Jim Stewart, Western States Fire Protection Co. representative, said. “I’m hoping the students are getting comfortable … interacting with people who do hiring and get an understanding of what people in business expect.”

The Engineering Technologies, Safety and Construction Fair will continue virtually on Friday, Oct. 15 from 1 – 3 p.m., where students can find more employment and internship opportunities.