Fall Career Fair brings 323 employers to Clemson campus
Terrance Harris calls it “an unconventional path.”
You see, the Columbia, South Carolina native is in his sixth year as a Clemson undergraduate.
But don’t let the number fool you. It’s not like Harris has been an academic work-in-progress.
In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite. He has enjoyed a full year’s worth of co-op experience with Itron, a technologies and services company dedicated to the resourceful use of energy and water. He has completed two summer internships with SCANA, an electrical and natural gas utility operations company near his hometown.
For Harris, his story is a direct reflection of events like the one put on last week by the Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD).
“I got my industry experience to the level it’s at currently because of opportunities that events like the Career Fair have presented,” said Harris, an electrical engineering major.
Harris was joined by thousands of Clemson students who packed the concourse level of Littlejohn Coliseum last week for the Fall Career Fair, an annual event hosted by the CCPD.
This time around, a third day was added to the event after more than 300 employers — including 30 corporate sponsors — were on site to meet with the best and brightest Clemson had to offer.
Deb Herman, CCPD’s director for employer relations and recruiting, pointed out a high percentage of Clemson students leave the Career Fair with substantial leads on landing gainful employment.
“About 65 percent of our students have exited with an opportunity to interview, so that part has been rewarding,” said Herman, a veteran employee of 19 years.
Harris, a candidate for December graduation, falls within that percentage. He exited last week’s fair by scheduling follow-up interviews with two companies.
It is the latest in a busy undergraduate career for Harris, one which has seen involvement in many aspects of the Division of Student Affairs, from a resident assistant’s position to membership within Alpha Phi Alpha and Alpha Kappa Psi fraternities.
“Events like last week set Clemson University apart,” he said. “It’s been one of the milestones of my curriculum.”
Chandler Danielson had long heard of students finding jobs and moving into them immediately after graduation.
She attended last week’s business, healthcare and communications fair with the hope of adding her name to the list.
“That was obviously an end goal for me as well,” said Danielson, a native of Etowah, North Carolina.
Danielson’s busy undergraduate career began at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington when she was a member of the Seahawks’ golf team. She transferred to Clemson in 2015 and joined the varsity rowing program.
A marketing major, Danielson is in the process of completing a UPIC internship with the University Relations office this fall. She works directly with Robbie Fitzwater, who oversees Clemson’s marketing and creative media efforts.
Like Harris, she is also on track to earn her degree in December.
“There were some big names among the list of companies coming to the Career Fair,” Danielson said. “I was able to find out more about the company cultures, what entry-level positions were available and what types of things they had to offer new students.”
Casey Ervin knows all too well the doors the Career Fair can open.
A Clemson graduate with a B.S. in industrial engineering, Ervin has been coming to campus for the past eight years with the Michelin North America team. She currently serves as employee relations project manager and is heavily involved in recruitment for Michelin, one of the corporate sponsors for the Career Fair.
“We’ve come to a multitude of events,” Ervin said. “We help students with resume workshops, on-campus interviews and obviously, the Career Fair. We have excellent students that have come out of the university that we’ve hired through our internship and co-op programs, and as full-time employees.”
Ervin noted the importance of fully utilizing the resources provided by the Michelin Career Center, as well as the value of networking at events like the Career Fair.
“Not only is it important to understand networking, but also Clemson students have so many resources available through mentorships, departments and the Career Center,” she said. “We use our relationship with the Career Center to meet these students and help them develop skills needed to enter the workforce.”
CCPD Executive Director Neil Burton graduated from Clemson and previously held positions in financial aid as well as the College of Education. But now he oversees a staff of 24 full-time employees, six graduate assistants and a team of interns charged with managing the logistics of an event the scope of the Career Fair.
He is quick to credit everyone on his team for the well-oiled process that took place last week inside Littlejohn.
“It’s a center-wide effort,” he said. “The planning is primarily Deb Herman and her shop, but the entire center really comes together to ensure that it runs smoothly.
“It’s been fantastic to see the growth of interest on the part of employers and the influx of students as well. From my position it’s been neat to watch the Career Fair evolve.”