CALS Spring Career Fair in Full Swing

Sarah Hays

For eleven consecutive years, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) has welcomed businesses at Spring CALS Career Day. In the past, CALS Career Fairs only took place throughout the fall semester, but recently two career fairs happen per year with one in the fall and one in the spring.

“In the past, we just had a fall event,” says Mike Gaul, CALS Career Fair Coordinator. “But the demand for talent grew and we saw that talent here on campus, so we opened our spring career fair.”

According to Gaul, the fall CALS career fair is quite larger than the spring one, with 265 businesses searching out students rather than the 101 businesses in the spring. 92% of CALS on-campus interviews take place during the fall.

The fair may not be as mighty in the spring as it is in the fall, but it’s still another opportunity to land an internship, part-time or maybe even full-time job.

“The Spring Career Fair is a nice second chance for potential internships and jobs,” says Gaul.

A wide range of opportunities are available at the Spring CALS Career Fair. Organizations within and without Iowa State University are present at the fair.

Lori J. Lewis, with the Iowa Department of Agriculture, attends most spring career fairs to find eligible Iowa State students for internships. There are 27 internships available with the Iowa Department of Agriculture, and Lewis believes Iowa State students care about conservation and agriculture.

“A lot of ISU students are concerned with water quality and conservation,” Lewis says.

Even some graduates from Iowa State University are coming back to campus to recruit students for organizations they work with. BJ Rud, an Agronomist, graduated from Iowa State in 2009. He now returns to the Spring Career Fair representing Farmers Win Coop, a farming corporation with companies in Iowa.

With so many chances to gain an internship, job or even simply learn more about CALS, heaps of students pile into the Memorial Union for the Spring Career Fair.

All kinds of students with all kinds of majors approach booths at the fair.

Sunil Sukumar, a second semester graduate student with a degree in business comes to the CALS fair hoping to find some marketing possibilities.

“I am particularly looking at a role in marketing,” says Sukumar. “I never knew all these different roles were offered in these kinds of companies.”

As a senior in Microbiology, Ganeshi Kankani Vithanage has been to the career fair every semester since her freshman year. This time, she isn’t looking for an internship, but instead something full-time.

“I’m looking for a full time position and I am willing to relocate,” she says.

Edan Lambert, a senior in Animal Science, works with the career fair and hands out maps showing where all the booths are.

“Spring career fair is a great way to get a full-time job and internship before the end of the year,” Lambert says.

Sarah Orban, also working at the CALS Spring Career Fair, is an Animal Science major as well, with a minor in Agronomy.

“Ever since I was a freshman I came to the career fair,” she says. “It really builds confidence for when you need the jobs or internships when you are older.”

While most students are very serious about the career fair and landing that internship or job, Marcus Mandt, a junior in Ag Business, advises that seriousness is not necessarily the way to go.

“Don’t take everything seriously or else it gets really boring,” Mandt says.

Mandt has attended every CALS career fair since he has arrived at Iowa State. Professionally, he wore suits with the goal of landing an internship or job successfully. Now, wearing khakis and a button –down shirt, he says he is doing better than he ever was.

“This is my first career fair without a suit and I’m doing better than when I wore suits so I’m just not going to wear a suit again,” he says. “Hopefully I’ll find a summer internship or job and not break down crying in the process,” Mandt jokes.

The students at the CALS Spring Career fair are diverse in personality, major, and goals. Businesses around the country come to this fair for Iowa State University students to join their team. The various mixture of students in CALS sets up a multitude of opportunities for students, while the field of agriculture offers many different positions.

“There is something here for everyone,” says Gaul. “That’s the beauty of agriculture, it’s so diverse.”