For students looking to explore internship and career opportunities, the Mercyhurst Office of Career and Professional Development is hosting a total of four different career expos this semester. For the first time to date, this year the career expos are divided by an academic college and are completely virtual. For students belonging to Ridge College, Zurn College, and Hafenmaier College the events were held for four hours on Feb. 25, March 4, and March 11, respectively.
“We use Handshake for our Career Expos. There definitely was a learning curve in making the events virtual, beneficial and easy to access for all parties involved but overall, it has been going well,” Emma Kovacs, a counselor in the Career Development Center and organizer of the expos, said.
Each student is given a Handshake account when they begin their time at Mercyhurst. To access the career expos, students log in to their account and then follow the career expo link. Each virtual career expo presents students with a variety of employers to discuss opportunities with, as well as Mercyhurst alumni who can share their experiences. The expos may lead to networking opportunities, internships, and even full-time jobs. Even if students are not looking for any of those things, they can also just gain some valuable information about their field.
“Our office wanted to host events that would be advantageous to students at any level. We pride ourselves on encouraging students to make well-rounded career decisions through networking, informational interviews, and job shadowing,” Kovacs said. “Thus, we created the career expos, a career event that hosts employers and graduate schools looking for students as well as alumni to share insight and serve as a connection.”
While past in-person career expos have been more geared toward students looking for internships, graduate schools, or full-time jobs, this semester’s virtual expos have encouraged participation from students who may just be looking to explore their interests and potential future opportunities within their field. With this, the Career Development Center in-corporated alumni speakers for the first time.
Alumni speakers attending the Ridge College expo included Dina Bastianini, a litigation attorney; Gary Dagan, a retired FBI special agent; Christopher Kelly, an associate policy scientist; Matthew Gernold, a probation parole officer; and Dinorah Sanchez, an asset management subject matter expert, among others. Alumni speakers at the Zurn expo included Brendan Doran, a senior director of clinical operations; Mathew Jury, a student doctor; and Kaleigh Vinesky, a physician assistant.
When asked what has been most successful about the career expos, Kovacs said “the alumni participation and willingness to serve as connections to our students.” “We had top-notch alumni opening up their network and sharing career tips. That aspect of the expos is what I consider very successful and hope to continue this in the future,” Kovacs said.
Looking ahead, the Career Development Center will be hosting one more virtual career expo on Handshake, this time for Walker College, on March 18. Some employers attending this fair include GEICO, Barber National Institute, and Carlow University.“When an office creates a new event or a twist on an already established event (i.e. turning the campus-wide career fair into col-lege-specific career expos), it takes time for that event to gain recognition,” said Kovacs. “While we are happy with the results of the first two expos, the active goal is to have more student attendance at these events in the future.”If you are a student hoping to explore opportunities within your field, look out for more events hosted by the Career Development Center