Career fairs can be nerve-wracking. For freshmen, sophomore and junior students, the future of their careers can ride on placement into a respected internship or co-op. For seniors about to graduate, the pressure to find a position in the real-world can add overwhelming anxiety to a year already filled with tough classes and rigorous schedules.
When the doors opened at the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources' two-day career fair this fall, nearly 80 percent of the 150 companies in attendance sought to ease the pressure by sending back employees that have stood in the shoes of these Statler College students, according to Sarah Glenn, assistant director of employer relations at West Virginia University's Career Services Center.
"Alumni are our greatest advocates when establishing recruiting relationships with new companies," said Glenn. "The quality of their work provides the organization with an inside look at the talented, hard-working and intelligent graduates coming from WVU each year."
This inside look is what sends Braskem, an international petrochemical company, back to the Statler College career fair year after year.
"I fully believe that my success at Braskem thus far comes from the preparation I received from my classes and professors at West Virginia University," said Riley Stevens, a May 2015 chemical engineering graduate.
Stevens is in the associate program at Braskem, which is designed to give new employees a thorough understanding of the entire company. She will rotate through two, year-long positions before receiving her final placement. Coming back to WVU to recruit fellow Mountaineers just seemed right.
"The more gold and blue we get the better," she said. "At Braskem, we believe you are the CEO of your career. WVU prepares its students to hit the ground running and fit into that company culture."
As a junior design engineer at Bohler Engineering, Greg Pais was happy to come back to WVU and help recruit for the company's internships and full-time positions. A 2015 civil engineering alumnus, Pais knows just how vital the College's career fairs can be to a student's start in industry.
"Attending the career fair as a student was a great way for me to learn more about the companies hiring with my degree and find out what they had to offer," said Pais. "After talking with Bohler Engineering at the career fair last year, I received an interview a few weeks later. I've been with the company for four months now."
Chris Del Checcolo, a DevOps engineer at Noblis, likes to come back to recruit at WVU to inspire students to take advantage of the opportunities he wasn't aware existed when he was a student.
"I really wasn't aware of all the opportunities available to me that I really would have loved to take advantage of," said Del Checcolo, who received his bachelor's and master's degrees in computer science in 2003 and 2005, respectively. "It's really nice to come back and talk to WVU students about it and encourage them to take advantage of these opportunities, especially since I know what it's like."
As a company overflowing with alumni, Del Checcolo and his colleagues at Noblis have found that WVU produces the right kind of well-rounded employee for the company's culture.
"Coming out of school, I was impressed with just how well the computer science program here prepared me to join the work force," he said. "We continue to get quality employees from recruiting at WVU."
An experienced Statler career fair recruiter, Randy Moulton, chief engineer at Triad Engineering, was looking to fill full-time positions and internships at this year's event. For Moulton, whose father was one of the founders of Triad, summer and winter break internships were a staple during his collegiate career.
"While I was in school I worked through my breaks, evenings and weekends for Triad," said Moulton, who received his bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering in 1976 and 1980, respectively. "By 1978, I was working full-time for the company while finishing school. I've been here ever since."
Moulton believes that WVU offers him the best well-rounded, hard-working employees.
"We don't necessarily have to have the students with the highest grade point average; what we want are employees that have a passion to do good work and have good energy," said Moulton. "We will train our employees from the ground up, but we like the solid foundation we find in employees that received their education at WVU. We try to be as faithful as possible when it comes to hiring WVU graduates."
For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources:
College Relations office: 304-293-4086
Office of the Dean: 304-293-4157
Other College administrative and department offices: Administration