Inaugural STEM fair opens new doors for students

Emily Harris/The News
An Occupational Safety and Health major, Mathew Cardani, sophomore from New Philadelphia, Ohio, met with Flint Howard and Tim Wallin, representatives from Flintco, during the STEM Career Fair Wednesday.Emily Harris/The News An Occupational Safety and Health major, Mathew Cardani, sophomore from New Philadelphia, Ohio, met with Flint Howard and Tim Wallin, representatives from Flintco, during the STEM Career Fair Wednesday.

Story by Teddy Martin, Contributing writer

Emily Harris/The News An Occupational Safety and Health major, Mathew Cardani, sophomore from New Philadelphia, Ohio, met with Flint Howard and Tim Wallin, representatives from Flintco, during the STEM Career Fair Wednesday.

Emily Harris/The News
An Occupational Safety and Health major, Mathew Cardani, sophomore from New Philadelphia, Ohio, met with Flint Howard and Tim Wallin, representatives from Flintco, during the STEM Career Fair Wednesday.

A career fair for the prospective science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students opened up Wednesday, providing an opportunity for employers and students to congregate.

The fair was meant to showcase businesses to students and provide openings for careers and internships.

“There are so many reasons why we put on this fair,” Ross Meloan, director of Career Services, said. “The major reason was that Murray State’s career fairs were getting out of hand. We just didn’t have the space, and logistically, it wasn’t working out. In other words, it’s difficult to do this career fair along with the general fair we’ll be having on October 15th on one day. So we’ve separated the two and we decided to do it along STEM lines.”

Meloan said this was the first career fair the university has had like this. He said Career Services may expand upon the fair in the future.

“That depends on the economy driving this,” he said. “We have a lot of companies who are moving in the direction of construction and development, so we’re excited about that. As markets emerge, we want to respond to the demand for our students, our university, for our community.”

Aaron Dentin, with the director of human resources and training of Batten & Shaw, said they are looking for potential project managers, superintendents and anyone who wants to be in the field or office.

“Our main goal for the students and what we look for are very driven and want to succeed in their profession,” he said.

For the job field, Dentin said internships benefit students as a whole, in addition to making students look more desirable on a resume.

Volunteer activities, Habitat for Humanity and other organizations all are perfect to catapult students into the job world.

Joshua Reed, a graduate student and Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) major, said the career fair helped him reach his college goals.

“The point of coming to college is to get a job,” he said. “So this is game time for what you’ve been working for after five years.”

Reed said the fair was a huge opportunity for students to get the job they’ve been pursuing after several years at the university.

“I expect to learn about the different industries, different companies and different opportunities for my major specifically,” Reed said. “You have to ask yourself where you can take your degree and ‘where can I see my future going.’”

Reed said the fair could be a very intimidating atmosphere but he wasn’t worried. He said the university would not send employers to make students feel small, rather to help them into a career for the rest of their lives.

Andrew Porter of Tennessee Technological University’s College of Graduate Studies said he was representing graduate school for those interested in defining their career in STEM.

“We don’t specifically offer internships, although universities are a good place to work, so there are job opportunities,” he said.

Porter advised students to research and know who they were going to be talking to. He said companies like people who are thorough and interested in the machinations of the firm.

Jeremy Booth, sophomore from Paris, Tennessee, said he was trying to get a summer internship.

“I’m an OSH major,” Booth said. “I’m very open with my options. For my fellow students: relax. Talk to people and be confident at what you do and you’ll succeed at anything.”

Booth said he wanted to be a superintendent for a company one day, so the career fair was a good jumping point for him. He said he just wanted to be in the field and not the office, actually doing hands-on work.

“I hope to get an internship and different insights on companies and what they’re about, what they do and what I’d be doing during my internship,” Booth said.

Meloan also mentioned another career fair coming up Nov. 13 for teachers because of the shortage in the U.S.

He said the key to the fair and the reason why Career Services holds them is an opportunity to bring companies to Murray State so the students don’t have to do this on an individual-by-individual basis.

This way they can browse the career fair and companies in one location at the convenience of their home.

“Let us help in Career Services because the statistics on this are very plain,” he said. “Those students who allow Career Services and the university to assist them in finding a position in employment, do well and do better than those people who don’t.”