Students seek jobs at Concord University career fair


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Students looking for jobs attended the Annual Career Fair and Teacher Recruitment Day Wednesday at Concord University.

Concord reached its highest vendor turnout in recent years, according to the Director of Career Services Courtney Clarkhill.

"We're really excited. We've had a record turn out of employers, 80 vendors total," Clarkhill said. "Both are part of the teacher recruitment day and career fair. There's more than 15 school districts down in the state room so student teachers are talking to different students about job opportunities."

Graduate assistant for student research department and career services, Olivia Bekelesk, helped set up the event. She has been attending the career fair her entire college years and encourages all students, seniors or not, to attend.

"Even if you're not looking for a specific job, kind of gauging what you want to do in the future gives you a lot of perspective and opportunity to meet new people," Bekelesk said.

"I came here a year ago and I liked it just as much as last year," chemistry student Jasmine Palmer said. "Students should assess their options, so I feel like career fairs are really important for that."

Career fairs are not only great for networking, but for considering other career options. Concord student Katherine Webb switched majors after attending the university's fair in her freshman year.

"Coming to the career fair in my freshman year is what changed my career path," Webb said. "I was originally going into pharmacy work, and then I met one of the research assistants from Princeton Community Hospital and she was talking about how she does cancer research and then I changed my major to chemistry."

Donna Shepard, program assistant for the New River National Gorge River, has been a vendor at Concord's Career Fairs for 22 years.

"It's a way for us to be part of the community and I try to do it," Shepard said. "I want to let the under-represented and diverse community know you can get employed as well."

Downstairs in the student center, the Teacher Recruitment Day was held for students looking for schools to work at before senior graduations in May.

Many teachers have returned to join the recruitment day after successfully finding well qualified students in the past, including Bland County Public Schools Human Resources employee Michelle Willard and Botetourt County Public Schools Director of Human Resources & Health Services staff member Tim McClung.

"I came last year and we had a lot of foot traffic." Willard said. "We got a lot of good applications from Concord. So it's a good resource for us to find new teachers," Willard said.

"We've made some good contacts, and great quality individuals came through today," McClung said. "Concord has a good reputation for having good teachers."