Experience Expo provides real-world opportunities

by Associate Life Editor Monday Sanderson

Students will have the opportunity to search for internships and potential jobs at the new Experience Expo April 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Guillot University Center Banquet Halls.

While the department of Career Planning and Development is focusing this event on internships, it is about gaining experience, said Employer Development Coordinator Amanda Terry.

“The ideal purpose of this event is to encourage students to think forward about the importance of obtaining experience,” she said. “Often times a degree now is prerequisite to apply for a job. Experience is that vital component that helps make yourself more marketable.”

Terry said different employers will offer volunteer opportunities, part-time jobs and internships.

“This event will be less formal than the Career Fair we have in the fall,” she said. “While it will be more laidback, students should still dress presentably.”

She said she recommends students bring a resume.

“If they are avidly seeking an internship or job, it would not hurt to go ahead and have your resume in hand,” she said. “Although, they are not required but being prepared will let you be one step ahead.”

Terry said this event is replacing the annual Career Carnival.

“The Career Carnival was a less formal event,” she said. “It was just kind of educating students about different companies and how you could get experience with them. This event is directly pushed toward thinking outside of the box. ‘How do I make myself more marketable?’”

She said internships are one way students can make themselves marketable.

Internships are helpful for future careers, and students should take advantage of them, said senior Abigail Ferris.

“I need an internship to graduate, but it is a great opportunity for experience,” said senior Jonathon Cutter.

This event will provide assistance to students, said Computer Science and Information Systems Department Chair David Nickels.

“I think it is a great idea because it publicizes the fact that internships not only are available and supported through Career Planning and Development, but also it kind of brings to mind to students that internships are important,” he said.

He said most employers look for graduates who have hands-on experience.

Ferris is a public relations major and said her internship helped boost her confidence.

“Through my internship experience, I have learned how to test my knowledge that I have gained in the classroom by dealing with real clients,” she said. “I now know that I can handle some of the responsibilities required in my field.”

Cutter said he has learned how to work better with others through his internship with the Huntsville Havoc hockey team.

“While everyone has their specific job title and job description, they also have to know how to do other stuff,” he said. “Us interns have to help with gameday operations as well as take ticket orders.”

Nickels said UNA offers many opportunities for internships and the Experience Expo provides a place for students to find those opportunities.

“I do think that for UNA as a whole it differentiates our new graduates from some other universities,” he said. “They get to go into real-world environments, and they work with professionals in their fields. They gain the experience of knowing what a professional environment is like.”

Cutter said he would have enjoyed going to an event like this.

“I would have liked to see what else is out there besides what I am doing,” he said.

Terry said students will benefit from coming to the event.

“The job market that (the students) are entering is very competitive,” she said. “Oftentimes a degree doesn’t mean a job. You have to stand out by having experience to add to that degree. It’s also a great way to network with staff in our department and employers.”