Career fair showcases companies looking for college students


Linh Tran

Dawn Schmitt, representative at WQPT PBS, talking with MacKenzie Kent.

Jack Brandt

On Tuesday, Feb. 28, more than 100 companies took part in a career fair hosted by five institutions including Augustana, providing students and employers a chance to interact in person. The fair took place at the Vibrant Arena at The MARK, formerly known as the Taxslayer Center, in downtown Moline and transportation was provided. Students had the opportunity to speak with potential employers about job openings, internships, work atmosphere and vocation.

Students who ask questions and show interest in the people around them as well as their employer tend to stand out. Alum Mitchell Owens (‘21) works as a tax consultant at Deloitte and was present at the fair. As a student at Augustana he made use of career fairs.

“Deloitte has over 400,000 employees, but working in the Davenport office, you kind of have a smaller group of people,” Owens said. “At the end of the day, they’re just a normal person like you.”

Small institutions like Augustana provide an environment where students quickly get to know each other and form friendships with peers as well as with their professors, who can help them later on in joining the professional world.

“Your professors actually know who you are,” Owens said, connecting the close environment of classes at Augustana to the important interactions that he had at career fairs.

A busy corner of the convention center, with students and representatives from different employers attending the Career Fair. (Linh Tran)

Employers at college career fairs appreciate students who seek out conversations and demonstrate an understanding of what the company does. Alum Anna Reyman (‘13) works in human resources (HR) at Muscatine Community School District and was also present at the fair.

“As young people coming into the job market, it’s overwhelming, it’s nerve-wracking, so a willingness to sit down and chit chat with someone is a huge quality,” Reyman said.

Career fairs also give students a chance to see themselves in some of the people they meet, from a shared interest in a certain profession to shared experiences as a student.

“Those positions that I held all throughout my time at Augie really mirror what I do now,” Reyman said.

Augustana promotes a liberal arts education, where students are encouraged to keep up their interests and take classes that strengthen skills other than those within their major. Alum Leigh Cornell (‘06) majored in elementary education and minored in art and was also at the career fair.

“You had your major, but you also had other areas where you learned and were able to grow,” Cornell said. “In this role it’s really important to be reflective, and I think that Augustana helped ingrain that into my work.”

She said that an ability to adapt has helped her excel at various positions. Owens made a similar point about the learning and growth that comes from pursuing interests at Augustana.

“Growing up with sports, it teaches you a lot of things,” Owens said. “It teaches you how to deal with failure, especially the game of baseball, and that’s kind of like life, someone saying we don’t have the internship or you didn’t get the opportunity.”

In any case, students should keep an open mind when visiting a career fair.

“It’s really helpful even if we don’t have a current opening,” Cornell said. “That doesn’t mean we won’t have an opening in the future, and now we have your résumé.”