In the world of university life, students' success often hinges on the doors that open to them. One door that students at Southwestern Adventist University eagerly await each year is the Pathways Career Expo. This career fair offers students networking opportunities with businesses of every scale, and a lot of the credit for its success goes to the folks in the Department of Student Success. Jean Carlo Fernandez is the Director of the SWAU Pathways to Success program and he had some details and insight to share about this essential college event.
"Pathways to Success's main reason for existing is to (at the risk of sounding redundant) support students so they are set up for success. This applies to all spheres of life, including professional aspects such as attaining meaningful employment and internships. It's important to host events such as the Paths Expo to facilitate student access to real opportunities that will allow them to develop their skills, gain valuable experience, and get exposure to situations that will help their professional growth.
The event has been successful in the past, as I've spoken to many students who reported getting internships/employment as a direct result. Also, at the very least, students get an opportunity to network with experts in their respective fields of interest, getting immediate feedback on industry-specific matters. Finally, getting face-to-face time with employers, in an era where everything is done online, is a refreshing and helpful opportunity for our students to polish their social skills and learn how to best highlight the personal and professional qualities that make them exceptional.
This year, the event took place at the library. The hope was that the more elegant and intimate setting allowed students to take some of the nerves off that come from what already can be an intimidating activity to some. We've also made significant efforts to engage companies that haven't been with us in the past but have quality opportunities available. Two main ones that come to mind are the American Red Cross and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Students should definitely work on their resumes before any career fair, making sure it's up to date and highlighting the most relevant skills and qualifications to the industries/roles of their choice. Additionally, they should practice their interview skills and prepare their "30-second elevator speeches", expressing who they are and what they offer as professionals in a concise way.
It's my hope this event generates many opportunities for our students across all majors. Opportunities that will fit their desires and lifestyles, and above all, will serve as important stepping stones that will make it easier for them to reach their ultimate goals."