IAC career fair canceled

Students speak with recruiters from Delta during the Ivan Allen College career fair event hosted on Sept. 24 2019. // Photo by Taylor Gray Student Publications

Early last week, the Institute decided to cancel the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts’ third annual career fair. The news came about a week before the fair which was set to be held on March 1 from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

“Over the past couple of years, we’ve tried to set up some events for Ivan College students specifically in order to alleviate some frustrations that our students had with the all-majors career fair,” said Dr. David Shook, associate dean for undergraduate studies of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts (IAC).

While the Institute had every intention of making sure this event went underway, an unfortunate dilemma ended up bringing the fair down: there simply were not enough students that signed up to be a part of it.

“We actually only had eight students sign up for our career fair this year,” Shook said. “They’ve been working hard to get this together, and it’s a shame that we had to cancel it. We didn’t want to have a bad showing and all, so we decided to cancel it instead.”

With COVID-19 still raging, a lack of interest in a virtual career fair seems especially strange.

When asked about whether they were planning on attending the event, some LMC students expressed frustration with lack of event advertisement and an unclear registration process. Others were completely unaware the event was happening in the first place.

Kathryn Higinbotham, fourth-year LMC, expressed frustration at being pigeon-holed into a career post graduation by the Institute.

“The focus for post-graduation plans for LMC majors are careers, which is all well and good, but it leaves those of us seeking to pursue graduate education and/or a career in academia on our own,” she said.

“We already do a lot of things differently in the LMC department. Why can’t we also get over the ‘North Ave Trade School’ mindset and engage with the numerous, fantastic opportunities for continuing our educations?”

She mentioned that a grad school fair catered to the liberal arts community would be more applicable to her major track.

However, despite the rather low interest in this particular event, Institute staff members are still showing interest in providing Ivan Allen students with as many opportunities as possible and are continuing to take steps forward to help ensure this goal is met.

“The Career Center and the Ivan Allen College have hired a career educator position to be someone that works specifically with IAC students,” said Dr. Shook.

“We will be working together jointly in order to enhance and expand the career options available to Ivan Allen College students, both while they are at Tech and when they prepare to graduate to the real world.”

While the Institute may be best known for its engineering and science disciplines, the IAC website states, “liberal arts have always been a part of Georgia Tech, with English one of six subjects offered when we opened our doors in 1888. We have not stopped innovating since.”

The IAC student body has much to offer potential employers – nearly 40% of undergraduate liberal arts students have conducted research, and the same percentage has completed an internship.

Despite the career fair cancelation, with the addition of a new career advisor, IAC students can look forward to increased opportunities in the future.