UB students attend STEM job fair
Notable companies present at UB job fair to scout for prospective STEM talent
Olivia Gustafson said she finds the gender gap at STEM companies a little intimidating, but she uses it to her advantage because it makes her “stand out.”
Gustafon, a junior mechanical and aerospace engineering major, was one of the students who attended Wednesday’s UB STEM UP job and internship fair. The annual career fair in Alumni Arena and focused on giving students in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors a chance at networking with prospective employers.
This year's fair featured notable companies such as Bloomberg, General Mills, Con Edison, Moog, PepsiCo and many others.
“I was actually told that at Moog they tend to look for more female candidates because a lot of companies are trying to bridge the gender gap in engineering,” Gustafson said.
The ratio of male to female attendees reflected the gender disparity in STEM, a problem Arlene Kaukus, director of career services, said employers in the technical field are working to fix.
UB has worked with student clubs involved in STEM to help create special opportunities for underrepresented groups in order to connect them with the employers who are seeking them out, Kaukus said.
Garrett Munguia-Amabile, a junior mechanical and aerospace engineering major, said his previous experiences with the job fair helped him become familiar with companies he did not know existed beforehand.
Munguia-Amabile prepared for the fair by going to a seminar that gave him pointers on how to dress and deliver his elevator pitch to increase his chances of employment.
Isaac Reath, a UB alumnus and software engineer at Bloomberg, said he tries to recruit students who are involved on campus with extracurricular activities related to their major.
“When it comes to software engineers, in particular, one thing we really look for is whether they were a teaching assistant or a research assistant,” Reath said. “That will really propel you to the top of the list, I’m pretty sure for most other companies as well.”
Reath said they look for students who are not only technically proficient but also creative.
“You can get ideas about a student’s creativity by looking at their resume and seeing whether they build projects in their free time and things like that,” Reath said.
Reath said Bloomberg hired 16 UB alumni the previous year and he would like to see that number increase.
Steven Williams, a senior aerospace engineering major, said he wished he’d attended a job fair earlier than his senior year, but thinks his major gives him a better chance of finding employment than liberal arts majors.
Kaukus said she disagrees with the ideas that STEM graduates are more competitive in the job market.
“Liberal arts degrees come with soft skills, critical thinking skills, communication skills, and these are skills that employers, regardless of the sector that they are in, are demanding from new employees,” Kaukus said.
Kaukus advised future job fair attendees that to be successful, students must be prepared, have a high-quality resume, know your elevator pitch and don’t “just stand in line without knowing anything about the company.”
Haruka Kosugi is a staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org