The Student Engineers’ Council at Virginia Tech is hosting the annual Engineering Expo, the largest career fair at the university, this week from Sept. 10 to the 12th in Squires Student Center.
The Student Engineers’ Council (SEC) is an umbrella engineering organization for the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. The organizer for the 2019 Engineering Expo is Matt Genberg, a junior majoring in electrical engineering, and the chair of the SEC Engineering Expo.
Boeing is the Expo’s biggest sponsor. Other companies that will be present this year include Google, ExxonMobile, Rolls-Royce and General Electric.
The SEC has been holding the Engineering Expo for 40 years, and the number of attendees has grown, according to Student Engineers’ Council President Chris Brassel, a senior majoring in industrial systems and engineering.
“Last year was 327 (companies), and that was absolutely capped for space, while we had around 400 companies that were showing interest in coming to the career fair,” Brassel said. “We did expand with the three-day career fair this year. With that, we’re at 350 companies and that’s expected to grow in the future.”
There are two goals for having the Engineering Expo according to Brassel. The first mission is to get students to connect with engineering businesses and companies for finding internships, full-time jobs and co-ops. The second reason is to bring in revenue for the SEC, so the organization can fund different endowments and other programs for the College of Engineering.
Brassel said the Expo funds go primarily to two places: the Design Team Endowment (DTE) and the Engineering Organization Fund (EOF). The DTE funds materials, entry fees and other tools to help design teams in the College of Engineering complete projects or compete in various competitions. The latter fund is broader and funds students attending conferences, developing projects and participating in the College of Engineering’s community outreach programs.
In addition, there are a couple of things students can do to ensure they’re prepared for the Expo.
With the help of a third-party app vendor, the SEC made a schedule on the Career Fair Plus app where students can see where specific booth locations for companies, a filtering feature to see what companies are looking for, interactive maps and ads for different companies.
Brassel also suggests students do their research on the companies before coming to the fair. Students can go on the Engineering Expo website and see what skills companies are looking for as well as the types of opportunities they’re offering.
Moreover, instead of going to their top-choice company first, students should “get their jitterbugs” out with trial runs at different companies. These company recruiters might even give feedback on students’ elevator pitches and resumes.
One reason the Expo was extended to a three-day event was to increase the number of companies attending to help connect students with as many companies as possible. Thus, different companies will be present on different days.
Cory Smith, a sophomore majoring in ocean engineering, said he is looking forward to giving his pitch to different companies at the fair.
“(The Engineering Expo) gives us the opportunity to talk to lots of big companies that we otherwise might not have had the chance to interact with,” Smith said. “I’m currently researching the companies that are coming in order to prioritize.”
Additionally, Smith will be updating his resume and buying a brand new suit for the event.
“I hope that I can come out with an internship close to home for the summer,” Smith said. “I’m really just hoping to gain experience and practice talking to future employers.”