Bethel students had a rare opportunity to interact with local employers at the Bethel College Career Expo on Wednesday, Feb. 15. The event, which went from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m., was held in Bethel’s Art Center. It was designed for students majoring in Communication, Visual Arts or Marketing.
Twenty-two different employers were present from various lines of work including local media, insurance companies and marketing groups. Lunch was served and students were encouraged to go from table to table, mingling with different employers.
“Our purpose was to give students experience in talking to employers and seeking out jobs and internships in a non-pressure format,” said professor Elizabeth McLaughlin, who helped set up the event.
To some, the event still came with some pressure.
“It was scary,” said junior Kelsey Bucknam. “I was so unprepared.”
However, after the initial fear wore off, the opportunity to meet local employers was a fruitful one.
“It was good for me to experience that,” Bucknam said, “I felt like I was playing grown-up for the day.”
Not only was this an opportunity for the students, but the employers also found the event worthwhile.
“I’m really fired up about my job and like to share that with everybody,” said Mike Pease, the assignment manager at WNDU-TV. “Also, we want people to see that it’s not just local TV news that we do.”
Other employers shared similar sentiments.
“We feel that, in the long-term, it is in our advantage and it is our obligation to help people develop as journalists,” said Tim Harmon, the executive editor of the South Bend Tribune.
This was not the first event of its kind to occur on campus. Last year, the communication department held a very similar luncheon with a couple of the same employers attending. But this year, a few of the department heads decided that it was best to expand the event.
“(Professor Elizabeth McLaughlin) kept telling me how great it was last year, and we wanted to combine our departments to make it beneficial for all our students,” said Chris Stackowicz, the chair of the visual arts department who also helped plan the event.
From only having eight employers at last year’s event to the 22 which attended this year, the career expo has grown in impact and significance. It seems that this year’s version was quite successful and could very likely become a regular occurrence on campus.
“We will definitely make this an annual event,” said McLaughlin. “Bottom line, students had a chance to meet a broad variety of professionals in their fields and ask questions to gain knowledge and a vision of the future. How can that not be a rousing success?”
It seems that the Career Expo served its purpose of giving students some valuable experience, as they also had positive reviews of the event.
“I found it really helpful for myself,” said freshman Griffyn Carpenter.
“I did enjoy it,” said junior R.J. Loucks. “It was definitely a new experience, but I did learn a lot.”