Booths and business suits were wall to wall at University of Houston Engineering and Technical Career Fair held Feb. 6. Over 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students, along with several recent graduates, attended the event for the opportunity to connect with industry, and explore job and internship opportunities.
Sponsored by the Engineering Career Center, and coordinated by the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the bi-annual career fair is a powerful networking event that has become the greatest single resource for obtaining employment for engineering, science and technology students at UH. A total of 116 companies attended this semester’s event.
“Students walk away sometimes with three or four job offers,” said Vita Como, director of the career center at the Cullen College of Engineering. “The demand is so high for engineers right now, that many open positions go unfilled.”
Having grown immensely the last two years, the career fair continues to draw new and returning company recruiters annually—partly due to the career center’s new online employer-student database, but also because of the available talent pool at UH.
“The Engineering Career Center has done an excellent job of developing the students and acclimating them to key industry specifics,” says Lawrence Moreaux, lead recruiter for chemical engineering at Lyondell. “This event is a testament to the college’s investment in their students.”
Seasoned recruiter for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Carolyn Mercer, has been recruiting from Cullen College for several years. “Every year is better. The college is adequately preparing these students to compete in a global driven society,” she said.
In fact, many of these students often return to the career fair for the opportunity to recruit fellow UH graduates to their respective companies.
"University of Houston graduates are well represented in the pool of recruited university graduates at BP,” said Lizie Nguyen (2006 BSChE), subsea engineer at BP. "Not only are UH engineering programs nationally recognized, but the college’s location in the center of the energy capital allows students to gain significant industry experience before entering the workforce. I love coming back to my alma mater to recruit—it's always nice to catch up with the faculty and network with students."
Not only did the event receive positive feedback from companies, but also the student body. Carmel Glumac, sophomore mechanical engineering student, left optimistic at her chances of obtaining an internship.
“It is easy to get lost in the sea of students at career fairs,” says Glumac. “However, the companies seemed genuinely interested and took their time to address every student individually.”
Proceeds from the event provide operational support for the two student organizations coordinating the event, NSBE and SWE. In an effort to improve the recruiting facilities designated for on-campus interviews, NSBE and SWE donated a significant portion of their proceeds to the career center for the renovation of the annex offices that serve as meeting space for recruiters and students around the year.
“We are so pleased about the student groups’ voluntary generosity to give back to the college,” says Como. “They played an integral role in the success of this event and their contributions will continue to play a role in the success of our on-campus recruiting activities. We are also grateful for our group of platinum sponsors.”
Platinum sponsors for the spring fair were Baker Hughes, CGGVeritas, EPCO Inc., Fluor Daniel, Jacobs Engineering and Kiewit Corporation.