Engineering Expo offers students science, technology opportunities

Hundreds of University students will gather in the Activities and Recreation Center Sept. 17 dressed in their best, hoping to dazzle recruiters from around the country.

The Engineering Employment Expo, which takes place Sept. 17-19, gives students from various majors the chance to talk with recruiters from over 240 engineering and technical based companies, such as Microsoft, Ford and ExxonMobil.

“This year we’re really excited because we’re currently scheduled to have the most in recent years,” said Elena Antonakos, co-director of the Employment Expo and senior in Engineering. “We also have a great variety of companies.”

The Expo attracts University students who are looking for internships or full-time offers, or who just want learn more about a company. It is open to all students, regardless of year or major.

“It’s primarily an engineering career fair,” said Henry Wolf, co-director of the Expo and junior in Engineering. “(Companies will look for) every discipline of engineering that is studied at the University.”

Other opportunities will be present for non-engineering majors. Business technology companies may be interested in students studying actuarial science, statistics or math, according to Wolf.

“There’s also plenty of chemical engineering firms, so I’m sure people studying chemistry or biology would be qualified for that. There’s some national laboratories, so maybe physics majors,” he said.

Wolf also encourages freshmen to attend the career fair to get experience talking to recruiters.

“It gets the jitters out of you …. You know what to say, how to get the recruiter’s attention, and it’s good preparation,” he said.

Ben Price, junior in Engineering, attended the Expo for the first time last year after he transferred to the University.

“I just went to talk to companies to get familiarity with job fairs,” Price said. “Because I wasn’t trying to get an internship, I was more comfortable asking probing questions and requesting some swag, so I had a good time,” he said.

Attending career fairs also helps freshmen choose a specialization or change majors earlier in their college career. Price said he knows freshmen who received internship offers at these events.

Price thinks talking with recruiters and reading the information at their booth is more helpful than looking at their company profiles online, which is why he attends every career fair he can.

“Free shirts and other (stuff) is also a good motivator,” he said.

He plans to attend the Expo again, this time in search for a summer internship.

In addition to the career fair, the Expo committee organizes information sessions and social events with certain companies. A corporate social event will be held the first day of the Expo at The Clybourne. The details of information sessions with several companies will be announced at a later date.

In a change from the usual, this year’s Expo will be held at the ARC instead of the Illini Union.

“We decided to host the Expo at the ARC in response to suggestions from recruiters and students that a more spacious venue be provided,” Antonakos said.

More companies will attend this year because of the change, and the space will be less crowded. Former attendees advise students to be prepared for the Expo.

“(Asking what they do) is a great way to learn about a company if you’re a freshman and not looking for anything, but if you really expect to get a job offer, you need to know who you want to talk to and plan things out,” Wolf said.

The Expo’s website hosts company profiles for all those in attendance, and Wolf encourages students to look up information on the site and on the company’s own website as well.

“Figure out … what the company does that interests you and inspires you, and go to talk to them about it because they’ll see if you’re passionate about something,” he said.