Online WestPACS job fair offers greater accessibility

Gillian Mazur, Managing editor

On Oct. 21, the Western Pennsylvania Career Services Association (WestPACS) will host their bi-annual career and internship fair.

WestPACS is one of the largest job, internship and graduate school fairs throughout Western Pennsylvania and surrounding regions for college students. E

stablished in 1988, a team of dedicated Career Service professionals connect with students and recently or soon-to-be graduated alumni.

The last fair took place in-person on March 11, 2020, right before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down most institutions and businesses, Mercyhurst University included. With over 50 member schools and universities, WestPACS hosts over 40 graduate schools and 150 employers seeking potential students, employees and interns.

Mercyhurst Career Counselor, Emma Kovacs, spoke about how some aspects of the fair might be different considering it will be held virtually instead of in-person.

“In a way, I think the virtual fair will be more efficient for both students and employers. Students can sign up for times to talk to the employers they are interested in,” Kovacs said. “This helps students because instead of taking a whole day off to drive to Monroeville, they can now more easily work their schedules around the virtual meetings and information sessions.”

In turn, the new virtual format also eases employers’ schedules who can now fit the fair around their daily routine.

Young Hoon Choi, a recent Intelligence Studies graduate of Mercyhurst, attended the in-person fair in March.

“As a senior last March, personally there were more internship positions than full-time jobs, but I believe at least putting myself out there was a beneficial experience,” Choi said.

While the virtual aspect of the fair makes it more time-efficient, many may find it harder to add their personal touch and convey their personality through the screen.

One obstacle that many interested students will have to hurdle is the loss of communication through body language. Through in-person body language, both parties can gain a more well-rounded understanding of one another.

“While the technology is outstanding for virtual face-to-face communication, I see a lot of value in the idea of in-person communication as well,” Kovacs said.

Another challenge that some students might face with an all virtual fair is the inability to attend due to lack of technology resources. Other technology issues such as a slow, lagging computer or a bad WiFi connection also pose a threat to the virtual fair.

For those worried about technology issues, Mercyhurst’s Career Development Center is willing to go above and beyond to accommodate any student.

“I am also happy to see that career fairs are still happening because I think virtual fairs and even virtual jobs in some areas could become the new norm,” said Kovacs. “I want Mercyhurst students to feel confident in that virtual world.”

In regard to current students, Choi recommended that if possible, it could be very beneficial to attend a virtual session.

“I believe that even practicing talking to the recruiters and seeing what they are looking for can be very valuable,” Choi said. “You might not get an internship, but you can at least observe and understand the needs of companies and recruiters and try to build your resume.”

In addition to the WestPACS fair, the Career Development Center also has a graduate school fair coming up. They will also be hosting workshops to help prepare students for the fairs.

To find out further details on career and graduate school fairs, Kovacs suggests that students check their Mercyhurst emails regularly.

In addition, one can reach out to Kovacs by email ( or through Handshake. For those interested in attending the WestPACS fair, one can register at