On Tech ‘s Diversity First Career Fair Mixer

Participants from diverse backgrounds mingle at the mixer, providing attendees exposure to a wide range of narratives and experiences. // Photo by Stephen Fitzmeyer Student Publications

With Career Fair season in full swing, the Career Center hosted its Fall 2023 Diversity First Career Mixer on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023 from 6-8 P.M. 

The event aimed to help employers connect with students from historically marginalized and underrepresented communities, share current and upcoming company positions with students and allow student leaders to discuss employer engagement opportunities offered by their student organizations.

To provide all attendees with an engaging experience, the mixer was split into two parts. The first consisted of a reverse career fair style setup as corporate representatives came to learn about supporting the student organizations showcasing their accomplishments near the center of the event.

“I really liked the fact that unlike a career fair, the organizations got a chance for employers to come up to us. They have to ask us questions so they can better know the campus, our stories and our demographics. We are not always just talking to them,” said Camille Trotman, fourth-year LMC and student representative for Tech’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Trotman chose to participate in the event for its emphasis on supporting the diversity of student organizations at Tech.

“Being the NAACP, when we see the word diversity, we always want to jump on it. So the fact that the Career Center was willing to host something that was focused on making sure that every student at Tech felt represented and had a place with employers as organizations on campus, we wanted to be a part of that,” Trotman said. 

Student leaders described the environment as informal and open to all attendees, organization representatives andemployers present at the fair.

“It is kind of a career fair mixed with a casual vibe. People are just getting to know other people, whether it be employers getting to know other employers, getting to know students, students getting to know other students. So honestly, it has been very welcoming, and I am happy to see a lot of people here,” said Chase Pettiford, third-year BIOL and NAACP student representative.

Positive interactions with both students and employers contributed to a valuable experience especially for the
NAACP at the Institute.

“We had a lot of employers asking us about our organization. We have had students come up and just seeing the amount of students who are able to interact in such a diverse environment, I feel like every corner of campus is represented here today. And the employers that I’ve talked to all seem to have a really open mind, so I have loved [the event],” Trotman said.

The second part of the event was similar to a traditional career fair as employers were given designated areas to display information and opportunities related to their own companies. 

Victoria Tsai, first-year IE, felt that attending the career mixer served as an informative first experience similar to a career fair at Tech.

“I decided to come because I wanted to sort of see how career fairs work and get a little bit of experience before later down the line where I will probably be more serious about it, so I feel like this was a good opportunity to sort of make mistakes and get a general feel for attending a career fair-type event,” Tsai said.

Paloma Santiago, fourth-year BMED and Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) representative, found the mixer to be successful in terms of providing students with new opportunities for their on-campus organizations and themselves. 

“I think this event has been really successful. There are so many companies and so many students. I really did not expect this turnout, but it is just very energetic. People are excited to be here. They are eager to give opportunities, and the students are very willing to meet and talk with people in the network,” Santiago said. 

She concluded by explaining the significance of hosting the Career Mixer at Tech and its importance to student diversity.

“This is a very important event to host because it highlights that Tech cares about diversity in all fields, so I think it is important that Tech sponsors these types of events and gives us the spotlight to share the initiatives that we have as student organizations that care so much about the diversity on our campus,” Santiago said.

With the ever-growing diversity of students on Tech’s campus, the Diversity First Career Mixer proved to be a successful event. Students and employers were encouraged to learn from one another as they networked. Ultimately, the event paved the way for meaningful connections and opportunities that will allow students to prosper in a diverse world.