RIT university-wide career fair draws thousands of students in search of new pathways

Elizabeth Lamark

RIT’s university-wide career fair, Sept. 21, drew more than 4,000 students and alumni and hosted nearly 230 companies. Tomorrow, companies have the opportunity to invite students back for more in-depth interviews.

RIT student Praneeta Sambaraju came to RIT’s university-wide career fair in hopes of finding a summer or fall co-op experience working with medical devices or pharmaceuticals, all with a strong research component. She is most looking forward to speaking with representatives from Johnson & Johnson and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.

Sambaraju, a second-year biomedical engineering major from Buffalo, N.Y., joined roughly 4,000 other students and alumni in search of co-ops, internships, or full-time employment on Sept. 21 in the Gordon Field House. Recruiters from nearly 230 local, regional, and national companies, including Thomson Reuters, Kodak Alaris, Collins Aerospace, L3Harris, and O’Connell Electric Co., were present.

“The career fair is really fast-paced, so I’m hoping to do my best to make a great first impression quickly,” said Sambaraju. “I did my homework when it came to reading up on the employers, so I think I’m prepared to offer them the skills that they’re looking for.”

RIT’s co-op program is one of the oldest in the nation, beginning in 1912. More than 5,000 RIT students typically complete a co-op each year.

“The students are so excited for this year’s fair,” said Maria Richart, director of RIT’s Career Services and Cooperative Education. “There has consistently been an amazing turnout from our students from the prep events all the way through to the actual career fair. And our employers are top-notch, as usual, and know the quality of the students that they will be hiring.”

Preview events for the career fair included classes on cover letter and résumé writing, how to deliver effective elevator pitches, and mock interviews.

Second-year biomedical engineering student Kaitlin Lockhart, from Binghamton, N.Y., took full advantage of the offerings.

“My goal was to be prepared and confident and these co-op classes helped me greatly.”

Jamie Howard ’08 (computer engineering BS/MS), a senior design architect and project manager for the ASIC engineering group at Ciena, is back on campus to recruit.

“I love the energy of co-ops and new recruits. That’s where I feel innovation comes from, that energy partnered with experienced people who have been in the industry longer,” said Howard, who is also a member of RIT’s industrial advisory board for computer engineering. “When I’m asking an interview question, I don’t necessarily care if they get it right, but I want to see that spark in their eye that says they’re interested in the problem.”

Jake Colucci ’22 (computer engineering), an embedded systems software test engineer at MKS Instruments, is recruiting after graduating last spring. “I’m excited to be back here just because of how nervous I was being here at the career fair as a student, and so I wanted to at least be an approachable person to talk to,” he said. “And to be honest, I wanted to see my little brother walk around here, too.”

Jake’s brother, Joe, a third-year industrial engineering major from Canandaigua, N.Y., is searching for a co-op experience related to renewable energy.

“I like that we’re able to make connections with hundreds of potential employers that are all in one place,” said Joe. “And I’m excited to see my brother in his role as a recruiter, but I won’t be interviewing with him,” he joked.

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