Annual Career Fair At Full Capacity, Full of Opportunities

– Story by Loukaia Taylor

– Photos by Susan Allen

Galloway, N.J. – Just as the campus continues to grow, so does annual programming like the Career and Internship Fair, which surpassed its goal of serving over 600 students and housing over 100 employers on Tuesday, March 5, in the Sports Center.

Employers came, ready and eager to meet Stockton University students and find new members of their teams, while students dressed to impress with resumes in hand.

Frank Napp ’23, a recruiter for Live! Casino and Hotel, said his job search included attending the Career Fair and looking online when he first graduated from Stockton’s Business program. He eventually found Live’s Management Development program, where he was able to explore different departments to find one that worked best for him. Now, he gets to be on the other side of the table.

“We’re looking for a graduating senior in any area of interest — whether that’s marketing, finance or HR — who will go through the rotation that I’m currently going through,” Napp said. “I hope to recruit another Stockton student like me.”

He may have found one. Melanie Olivia, a Hospitality major who plans to graduate in May, is currently looking for a full-time position. She said Live! was one of the organizations she was interested in pursuing.

“A lot of them are offering full-time positions, manager positions, supervisor positions – all things that I’m interested in getting to learn more about,” said Olivia, of Colonia. “I got a lot of contact information, and I’m looking forward to hearing from these companies or reaching out to them and checking out their websites to see what positions they have available.”

Even first-year students benefited from attending the fair. Amaya Robinson, who’s in the Communication Studies program, became interested in studying abroad with a company offering internships in Europe, South America and Asia.

“I don’t have a clear idea of what I want to do yet in the future, but it’s just good to look around and see the opportunities and different careers that I didn’t even know I could get into with my major,” said Robinson, of Cherry Hill.

Other companies, such as Kramer Beverage and Sesame Place, weren’t just interested in recruiting new employees; they sought out students who were looking for ways to develop professionally, and they considered Stockton a great resource for that.

“We have a 12-week internship program where they start in frontline roles before getting the tools and knowledge that they need in order to succeed at any career that they go in, whether it’s with Sesame in the long term or somewhere else later in life. We hope to meet students who are willing to work and are passionate about the development of themselves and their team,” Sesame Place recruitment manager Julie Robinson said.

“It’s been a great turnout with alumni as well as students here. We come out every year in order to get some more people for our summer internships, and we get really good people from Stockton,” said Cookie Velasquez, Kramer Beverage’s talent acquisition coordinator, before turning and smiling at the alumna next to her who was talking with a student about their resume.

When students weren’t mingling and chatting with recruiters, they were getting resume tips and practicing their elevator pitches with alumni volunteers in the “Decompression Zone,” an initiative spearheaded by Megan Hart of Alumni Relations during the fall of 2023.

Since the fall, the zone has more than tripled its volunteers and now includes QR codes to resources such as a map of the recruiter tables and valuable tips, such as how to research organizations that are hiring and how to make a great first impression during an interview.  

“We’re super excited to be doing this again,” Hart said. “Having this many alumni helping has helped us connect with students more, and it helps them navigate the tables. We have a lot of good stuff happening, and we just want to keep improving every semester and making it a good experience for the students.”

Utilizing the zone has had a profound impact on participants, who mentioned how it helped them get rid of the pre-pitch jitters.

“It’s inspirational to meet alumni, and that motivates me to keep studying hard. At the same time, this area gave me some tranquility and helped me relax. I was very nervous and stressed, but they provided snacks and photo services, so that was very helpful. I really appreciated it,” said Carla Rodas, a Business major from Ecuador.

According to Netesha Peterson, assistant director of Career Education & Development, preparing students for their futures beyond Stockton starts long before the Career Fair. She does so while maintaining a diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging lens, such as helping transgender students navigate conversations about identity in the workplace and running practice interviews with autistic students.

“My role in career services in higher education is constantly evolving, therefore demanding more time and consultative support for students. I want to make others aware that, for career services professionals, student appointments are no longer a 30-minute simple resume writing conversation or only a career fair prep classroom presentation because life is a significant variable,” Peterson shared. “It is apparent that workforce diversity is an important aspect of preparing students for the workplace. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to work with and support these brave and positive students along their academic journey. Seeing some of those students at the career fair yesterday made me proud!”

All in all, the Career Fair is a space for students to practice being in professional networking settings and to set them up for success when they eventually leave the nest.

“So, for me, I feel like this is early exposure in helping us get familiar with this type of setting so that, in the future, when it comes time to go to these types of things, it’s going to be easier to adjust, and we’ll know how to handle it,” said Cassidy Clark, a Communication Studies major from Pennsauken.

“I’m amazed at all these opportunities. I just want to say thank you to the staff and to everyone who made this possible for us because we all have to start thinking about the future and how to grow professionally,” Rodas said.

By Dayna DeFiore
Dayna DeFiore Assistant Director