Spring 2016 engineering career fair sets record student attendance

Attendance at the Engineering and Information Technology Industry Career Day increased 11% over last year, a new high of 390 students at a Feb. 9 spring fair.

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

Student attendance hits new high at 2016 spring career fair in Student Life Center.

Job seekers and students searching for internships networked with 47 companies from across the nation, a slight decrease in employer participation over last spring.

“Students clearly are getting the message that participation in our industry career days is important,” said Cynthia Paschal, associate dean and professor of biomedical engineering. “As evidenced again, demand is quite high for computer science talent. We also saw a rise in interest from construction and civil engineering industries.”

The Tennessee Department of Transportation is looking for 40 entry-level civil engineers, said Shannon Teets, a recruiter for the department. She said state employees’ benefit package – including 37.5-hour work weeks, comp time and 13 paid holidays – should be appealing for Millennials seeking work-life balance, but TDOT offers something even deeper than that.

“We’re for people looking for a rewarding career helping their own communities,” Teets said. “You’ll be with a project from planning to maintenance. What draws people to TDOT most is that you’re doing work where you can immediately see an impact.”

Greg Bryant (CS’85), head of engineering at BlackLocus, returned to campus as a recruiter for the small Austin, Texas-based firm. This was the company’s first recruiting trip outside Texas, and Bryant was looking for summer data science interns. BlackLocus is a Home Depot Innovation Lab “with a good culture and a good team that feels like family.”

This was the third recruiting trip to Vanderbilt for Allen Carson (EE’82), a senior developer with San Francisco-based OSIsoft, who was looking for employees and interns.

Mollie Maples (ChemE’17) started coming to career days as a first-year student, and even though that didn’t immediately lead to internship opportunities, it taught her best practices for the event. On Tuesday, she was seeking a summer internship that could lead to permanent employment.

“The largest concentration of recruiters are looking for people in computer science or consulting, but there are some choices for me here,” she said. “And I know that my professors and the network of alumni are willing to work with me to find positions if it doesn’t happen today.”

The event is a good place to put resumes into the hands of many potential employers at once, said Stuart Rhea (ES’16). He’s been in an internship with Bridgestone Americas since last summer – a position he landed through an engineering management class.

“My main goal today is to find a full-time job, preferably in consulting,” he said. “In a couple years, I’m going to business school, and after a little experience, I want to start my own company.

“This event allows me to see what companies are looking for in a way you can’t determine just by looking at a website.”


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is a perennial recruiter.

AECOM, Altec, Inc., AT&T, Availity, Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon, Inc., BlackLocus, BNY Mellon, Brasfield & Gorrie, Brewer Science, Calsonic Kansei, Camgian Microsystems, Capgemini U.S. LLC, Capital One, Carnival Cruise Line, Crowe Horwath LLP, DCS Corp, DENSO, Digital Reasoning, DISH Network, Drake Software, Epic, Fast Enterprises LLC, Freudenberg Filtration Technologies, L.P., IXL Learning, KPMG LLP, Manhattan Associates, Metova, Inc., MicroStrategy, MyHealthDirect, Nashville Electric Service, Neel-Schaffer Inc., Nixon Power Services, OSIsoft, PharmaSys Inc., Pillsbury, Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLC., QGenda, Quality Manufacturing Systems Inc., Ramboll Environ, S&ME Inc., Skanska USA Inc., Tennessee Department of Transportation, The Home Depot, UnitedHealth Group, Urban Science, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Navy, Weebly.

Brenda Ellis, (615) 343-6314
Twitter @VUEngineering