For the first time, a diversity organization collaborated with a non-diversity organization to host the College of Engineering Fall Career Fair on Tuesday at Mizzou Arena.
The Engineering Student Council and National Society of Black Engineers joined forces to organize the fair that, according to Jack Gilkey, co-chair of the Engineering Career Fair, hosted nearly 150 employers.
“It’s actually one of the first times that this kind of collaboration has happened for any event, let alone the biggest event we put on,” Gilkey said. “The only event larger than this is graduation, so it’s a really big deal.”
The idea to collaborate on organizing the fair came from former NSBE President Chris Trunell, who approached Gilkey last year. Trunell, on behalf of NSBE, proposed that the two organizations work together to run the fair because he knew that NSBE had too few members to run it on its own.
“We’ve kind of geared more towards events and what not just amongst our own group,” said Walta Abraham, current NSBE president and co-chair of the Engineering Career fair. “So, last year we were trying to make sure that we can expand from that and partner with other organizations on campus.”
In the past, only one organization would run the fair. According to Mary Paulsell, director of the new Leadership Academy of the College of Engineering, each organization writes a proposal explaining why it is fit to run the career fair. The organization with the right amount of people, drive and resources obtains the job.
MESC and NSBE had been planning the career fair since last spring.
“We worked together from the get-go, really starting early on last spring after we got the career fair,” MESC President Becky Gann said. “So, we’ve been planning since last spring with them and throughout the summer. They’re the ones who delegated the tasks leading up to it early on in the semester, including this week.”
The collaboration helped to make the career fair more successful. More people running the show meant more students to help work the event.
“Normally about two weeks before the career fair we only have about 60 percent of our slots filled, but the partnership actually allowed for us to have 90 percent of the slots filled,” Gilkey said.
Furthermore, the collaboration benefited the members of each organization, who were able to meet people outside their normal social spheres.
“It was a great opportunity because you got to learn from other engineers that have similar, yet different experiences on campus at the same time,” Abraham said. “You kind of got to see what kind of different skills people have, how they go about executing things, which is nice because I feel like I’m constantly growing. We’re all constantly growing, so it gave us the opportunity to work with people we are not used to working with and see how they go about things”
According to Paulsell, the collaboration was a success because of the amount of student involvement.
“We like to have [student] involvement because they are such excellent leaders and they know how students think,” Paulsell said. “They’re really invaluable to us. None of these events would be possible without their help.”
Both MESC and NSBE agreed that more collaboration will happen in the future. Abraham expressed an interest in holding collaborative workshops between the two groups.
“One of the biggest things that MESC wants to do is collaborating with all the different types of diversity we have in the College of Engineering to really make the experience for the student as good of a representation of what the college is itself,” Gilkey said.
Edited by Sarah Hallam | firstname.lastname@example.org