Over 2,400 students flooded into Binghamton University’s Events Center on Wednesday, Sept. 13 — but it wasn’t for a basketball game or a social mixer. Instead, they gathered for the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development’s fall Job and Internship Fair.
The numbers this year were higher than last year, both in terms of students and employers in attendance. Last year, 1,758 students attended the fair, networking with 130 employers. This year, students could speak with a diverse array of 141 employers.
“We are getting back to pre-COVID numbers and getting close to breaking student attendance records,” Corrina Clapper, the Fleishman Career Center’s events coordinator, said.
Part of that increase comes from the Fleishman Center’s hard work engaging with employers, but Clapper said that the caliber of Binghamton students is another contributing factor.
“Our students are eager to work and are willing to put the effort in to get themselves out there,” Clapper said. “I witnessed several great conversations between our students and employers and expect to see many more as the year goes on.”
“This year we noticed that students were exceptionally prepared and engaged,” Julia Sullivan, Fleishman Career Center assistant director of communications, said. “I had several employers tell me how impressed they were with the students.”
“So far today, I have been really impressed with how well-prepared everyone has been,” Shirly Wild from New York State Public Health Corps said. “We got lots of résumés, and students have come up to us with great questions.”
“We’ve had lots of great conversations with students today,” Jonah Bremenkamp, a talent acquisition specialist from Glens Falls Hospital, said. “We’ve met students from all sorts of backgrounds and received lots of engagement.”
Students also spoke highly of the variety and the quality of the employers in attendance. Andrew Ashinoff, a sophomore studying English and policy, politics and law, said that the fair offered him useful skills for his future career trajectory.
“My networking and communication skills improved just by spending and an hour and a half there and talking to different employers,” Ashinoff said. “Overall, it was a really productive time and definitely helped me narrow down potential career paths to pursue.”
The Fleishman Career Center made it easy for students like Ashinoff to find opportunities of interest in their preferred industries. The employers were spread out across the Events Center and separated into sections. Students seeking information on jobs and internships in healthcare could go straight to one area, while students interested in engineering could head to another.
“There’s a little something for everyone,” Emma Brace, a junior studying cinema and business, said. “No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find something.”
After the fair, students had the opportunity to attend the Diversity Roundtable, a smaller networking opportunity focused on students and employers who share a passion for diversity, equity and inclusion.
Tiffany Soto, diversity engagement specialist at the Fleishman Career Center, structured the event to maximize opportunity for meaningful connections and conversations. Students and employers sat in small groups and had a few prompts to get conversation flowing. From there, lively discussions about diversity, resources and the transition from college to career ensued.
“We created this event to give students and employers an opportunity to connect on a more personal level following the Job and Internship Fair,” Soto said. “We aim to inform students on what inclusive environments can look like as they prepare for their own job and internship searches. Also, we support our employer partners in recruiting and retaining diverse talent by providing them with direct insight from students.”
Stephanie Ramirez-Cisneros, a senior double majoring in sociology and political science, has attended the roundtable event for the past two years. “In connecting with employer representatives during this event, not only did I learn more about positions and programs, but I was also able to gain insight on their personal experiences working there,” she said. “I also received information about scholarships, steps on how to apply to their programs and contacts in the companies.”
“The Job and Internship Fair and Diversity Roundtable are golden opportunities for students to get in front of employers and make a connection,” Sullivan said. “Our students definitely took advantage of that.”