Fair offers opportunities for grads

James Ahrens

Washburn students interested in finding a high paying job, help in deciding on a graduate school or seeking a career are given the chance during the Career and Graduate School Fair held in Lee Arena on campus. The event was Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Local businesses, national firms and graduate programs from various colleges, including Washburn, were present.

Exhibitors by major ranged from Accounting to Social Work. Communications to Business. Notable local programs included Stormont-Vail HealthCare along with St. Francis Health Center, Washburn’s Schools of Law and Business, Frito-Lay Inc. and national businesses with representation in Topeka such as Payless Shoe Source and Cumulus Broadcasting.

Daniel Hersch said he is looking for career leads, networking and contacts. He is looking for businesses who will be able to give him financial benefits and whom he will be able to wake up and be happy to work for.

“If you’re a student looking for a good opportunity in the Kansas City, Lawrence or Topeka area [the career fair] is a good place to communicate with people,” said Hersch. Most of the advertising booths were representing the Kansas area so the recruitment is limited.

Students have problems with the fair, similar to Hersch’s.

“It was too hot,” said Matt Howell who was professionally dressed. The temperature in Lee Arena was not conducive to a suit and tie event. Howell and some of his friends complain of the scheduling problems. Professors won’t work with students to solve overlapping career fair times and class obligations. It’s either miss class for a potential job opportunity and risk a quarrel with a professor or find a potential job. Hersch also made a point, saying employers were often too impersonal, directing students to Web sites rather than talking specifics in person.

Still, Howell said the Career and Graduate School Fair is worth attending to build networking skills.

Flexibility is a must in most of the fields represented at the fair. Students who are looking to become strong workers and are committed to becoming a part of a working team will succeed and benefit the most from their educations at Washburn. Many of the people who had set up elaborate booths said that their recruitment teams are interested in active students willing to break the cycle of the “norm” and are looking toward future plans in the field of his or her choice. To many recruiters, a positive attitude and a good conversation is the step through the door that many are looking for.

Some recruiters at the fair were simply looking for students and young personnel. Pittsburgh State University offers a graduate school on the university grounds and also has a satellite in the Kansas City Metro Center. Victoria White from the KC Metro Center says she is looking for students with a passion for learning and who display a professional attitude.

“The center gives students the opportunity to learn in a graduate setting while not having to travel far,” said White. “The satellite center offers master degrees in teaching and continuing education.”

Christine Johnson, promotions director at KMAJ radio said that Cumulus, the parent company of KMAJ, looks for qualified individuals based on the different positions available. Each position has a different ideal for a worker, but a four-year degree is a must.

Kent McAnally, director in the Washburn career services office, said that the event is organized by a small group of people but that the fair is more than just a ‘job fair.’

“Students need to dress to impress,” said McAnally.

McAnally said that because the fair is held twice a year, the time between allows businesses the opportunity to organize informative booths in order to grab the students’ attention. Businesses pay to display a booth that in turn provides money to fund the fair. Along with the money generated from recruitment booths, this year’s fair was co-sponsored by The Topeka Capital Journal and Cumulus Broadcasting.

Johnson said that the combination of a huge turnout and student interest makes for a great event. The next career fair is scheduled for February 18.