Career Day connects employers and Vanderbilt’s top talent

First-year through Ph.D. students attended today’s Engineering and Information Technology Industry Career Day in the Student Life Center ballrooms. Job seekers and students searching for internships networked with nearly 40 companies from across the nation.

The fair is hosted by the Center for Student Professional Development (formerly the Vanderbilt Career Center) and offers a smaller, more intimate atmosphere in order to facilitate connections between employers and Vanderbilt’s top talent.

The spring event attracted nearly 100 recruiters. New companies included Philips Healthcare, QGenda, Power Consulting, Dish Network, Federal Highway Administration, InvivoLink, Logfire LLC, Neel-Shaffer, OSIsoft, SapaGroup and Reasoning Mind.

“Although our spring Engineering and Information Technology Industry Career Day is typically smaller than the fall event, we have a larger number of first-time employers attending this spring,” said Cindy Funk, Center for Student Professional Development director.

These on-campus recruiting events provide an opportunity not just for students to build on their professional development skills and make connections, but for employers to interact with our bright and talented student population, ready to enter the complex world of work.”

QGenda software consultant Brian Akselrad left Vanderbilt nine months ago. The 2012 biomedical engineering graduate was in QGenda’s booth for his first recruiting effort. “We’re looking for applicants for two positions, software consultant and software engineer. What we really want are very social, problem-solving engineers,” said Akselrad, who works with doctors daily customizing automated physician scheduling software.

The fast-growing young Atlanta company is “reaching beyond Georgia Tech” because their client base is now nationwide with a few international customers. Akselrad said they’re adding more universities to their recruiting efforts.

Chris Jarrett will earn his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering in May. “I’m looking at companies that can offer research and development positions at the Ph.D. level, and I’m willing to go anywhere.” During the first hour of the event he had talked with representatives from PharmaSys, SAIC and the CIA.

Sophomore electrical engineering major Colleen Kerr wants to find a summer internship. “I haven’t had an internship before and I’m not focusing on one particular industry at this point.”

Jaclyn Youngblood, a talent development associate at Reasoning Mind in Houston, said her company has a variety of fulltime job openings and internships available. “We’re looking at all majors and we’re looking at undergraduates, Ph.D.s and postdocs.”  Reasoning Mind is a non-profit whose online math curriculum is designed to supplement school math instruction. This was RM’s first recruiting fair at Vanderbilt.

Nashville-based Power Consulting Associates sent two employees to Career Day who know their way around campus. Gracyn Bancroft and Jennifer Parkes, P.E., are both Vanderbilt civil engineering graduates. “We’re looking for summer interns and we’re interested in civil and in electrical engineering majors but we would entertain other majors if there was a good fit,” said Parkes, PCA’s manager of engineering, who earned a master’s degree here.

“I have a specific interest in finding a job with a company that sponsors all or part of an employee’s graduate studies, or in finding an internship to hold before I go to graduate school,” said mechanical engineering senior Timothy Pondel.

Junior mechanical engineering major Eric Bramlett said he’s looking for a summer internship “and for future employers, too.” Bramlett, who is the president of Vanderbilt Motorsports, said he’s interested in the automotive industry, “but there are branches that lead elsewhere, like the aerospace industry.”

Illustrating that partnership, 51 employer representatives, Center staff and 62 students representing the 14 engineering student clubs and organizations mingled in a networking dinner Feb. 11.

In partnership with the Dean’s Office, the Center also hosted a pre-fair “Meet the Professors” brunch where faculty learned about employer talent needs and industry trends, and employers learned about the engineering student talent pool and the educational preparation they receive.

The fall Engineering and Information Technology Career Day will be Sept. 25, 2013.

Companies registered for the fair: Aegis Sciences Corporation, Baker Hughes, Brasfield & Gorrie, Brewer Science,  Bury+Partners, Inc., Capgemini, Capital One, CDL Systems USA, Cerner Corporation, CIA, Computer Technology Solutions, Inc. (CTS), DISH Network, Epic, Federal Highway Administration, HealthStream, Institute for Software Integrated Systems, InVivoLink, Jackson National Life Insurance Co, Lexmark International, LogFire, Manhattan Associates, Mercedes Benz U.S. International, Inc., Metova, Inc., Nashville Electric Service (NES), Neel-Schaffer, Inc., Northrop Grumman, OSIsoft, PharmaSys, Inc., Philips Healthcare, Power Consulting Associates, PowerPlan, Inc., QGenda, Quality Manufacturing Systems, Inc., Reasoning Mind, SAIC, Sapa Extrusions North America, Schneider Electric, Skanska, Y-12 National Security Complex.