Connecting STEM Scholars with Employers Worldwide
STEM career opportunities are plentiful worldwide; however, students are not always able to find those opportunities due to location, time constraints, and other barriers. A significant component and goal of the 2015 National Science Foundation S-STEM grant received was to develop a program that increases career exploration opportunities for scholars who are from underrepresented populations in STEM fields. With entering grant year three, scholars are graduating with their master’s degree and are seeking advanced STEM career placement. By implementing a virtual career fair, access to the career exploration process increases for students including the STEM Master Scholars.
The University holds a traditional career fair targeting students in STEM fields with nearly 100 STEM employers participating. STEM Master Scholars are limited to attending traditional career fairs located near them since these students are distributed across the United States while they complete their degrees online. In addition, barriers such as the space limitations and travel costs of a traditional career fair can leave interested employers without a booth and an opportunity to meet with students. With the opportunity of a virtual career fair, STEM Master Scholars will be able to receive similar services to on-campus students and employers will have the opportunity to meet with students
Virtual career fairs provide an opportunity to students in any online program worldwide. A virtual career fair allows students to connect with employers whom the students may not be able to engage with due to previously mentioned limitations. Research shows that companies have attended virtual career fairs in the past.
The inaugural virtual career fair, which will be open to all campus students including the STEM Master Scholars will be held in spring 2018. Prior to the virtual career fair, the STEM Master Scholars will attend a professional development opportunity online to help them to successfully and professionally navigate and interact within a virtual career fair. Topics to be covered in this opportunity include resume preparation, career fair etiquette, and online interview practice.
This poster session will highlight the preparation and results of the inaugural virtual career fair by showcasing a variety of assessment metrics such as participation analytics of both the student and employer use of the event, qualitative data from both students and employers, as well as feedback from staff coordinating the event.
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