Special to Darkhorse Press
By Bruce Coleman
William Smith carefully surveyed the colorfully decorated tables lined three rows deep along Pedestrian Street on the Mississippi College campus, selected an inviting display, and approached the representatives sitting behind it with a hearty handshake.
The senior computer science major at Mississippi College was on a mission to gather information from as many businesses as he could during MC’s 2021 Fall Graduate and Job Fair Oct. 12 at the Christian University.
“It seemed like a wonderful opportunity to see the different fields that are available,” Smith said between table stops. “I’ve spoken to almost all of the software representatives, the computer science people, I’ve spoken to some of the military, I’ve spoken to health care and banking representatives. Even though they may not be explicitly looking for my major, they all have different areas where they’ve said, ‘You’d be a good fit here.’
“It’s definitely helpful to realize that your major has more career branches than you think – you’re not just having to remain in one area and that is where you’ve got to stay.”
Just a few tables away, Brittni Orr, a senior at MC, was also learning about the many opportunities available to her after graduation.
“As a psychology and Spanish major, I’m really interested in helping children in foster care, foster care counseling, and adoption agencies – especially children from other countries,” she said. “I’ve been to every Job Fair at MC. It’s really good for making connections and getting your name out there, especially at a time when there’s so many different directions you could go in.
“It’s really good to come and talk with people and get a feel for what they do and what they’re about, to be able to decide if your beliefs and values fit in with the beliefs and values of the companies here. It’s really good to get your foot in the door, to get more of a foundation so you feel like you’re ready to go out and do what you want to after graduation.”
Representatives from more than 30 local businesses, companies, and organizations looking to hire interns, part-time employees and full-time employees set up tables alongside recruiters from various graduate programs at MC and other institutions during the outdoor fair. Mississippi College Career Services joined forces with Graduate Admissions and the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies in the combined event to help MC students chart a clear path for their futures.
Abigail Franklin, MC graduate admissions counselor, said the fair served as an informal showcase for MC’s graduate programs.
“It’s a good way for students to get in touch with what MC has to offer on the graduate level,” Franklin said. “A lot of students who know they will be going to graduate school, enrolling in doctoral programs, or going to law school can find out about what they will need to qualify for those programs.”
Taylor Ormon, director of career services, said the fair provides an excellent networking opportunity for MC students.
“If they’re graduating in May, they can come shake hands, pass out their resume, and get their name out there,” she said. “With the job market right now, employers are coming to offer internships, part-time and full-time positions. They will be getting to know our students, letting them know what they do, and how they can help them with their career path.”
Hannah Lopez understands how important making connections with potential employers or graduate school programs can be. The MC student has worked three job fairs as a peer mentor, answering questions from students and encouraging them to meet different employers.
Now a senior psychology major, Lopez found herself on the opposite side of the display table.
“I believe it’s never too early in your college career to start thinking about your future,” Lopez said. “I have benefitted greatly from building connections with employers and continuing my relationship with them throughout my college career.
“The job fair is an awesome opportunity for students looking to further their career, and employers are eager to talk to students. As a senior, I am looking to foster new relationships and learn more about the companies I am interested in. I look forward to meeting employers and seeing what jobs are available that could benefit my future.”