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Published on November 14, 2019

Freshmen Get Early Glimpse of Career Options at Expo

Students hear from professionals in the fields of health science, healthcare and biotech.

Students line up for a chance to win a prize.

Students hear from professionals in the fields of accounting and financial services.

Students hear from professionals in the fields of government, law and public policy.

Young people go to college to earn a degree and prepare for careers, hopefully positioning themselves to be marketable enough to enter gainful employment. For freshmen, trying to figure out which major will fit their passion yet yield a reasonable return on their investment can create anxiety. On Nov. 14, Eastern Connecticut State University’s Office of Career for Internships and Career Development hosted the inaugural First-Year Career Exploration Expo in the Betty R. Tipton Room of the Student Center, with more than 100 freshmen in attendance.

The expo was a casual, low-key event, complete with food, relaxed conversation and prizes, designed to expose students to a variety of career clusters. Representatives participating in the expo reflected career clusters that correspond to Eastern’s majors, including the areas of Accounting and Financial Services; Arts; Entertainment; Media and Marketing; Business Management and Administration; Education and Training; Government; Law and Public Policy; Health Sciences; Health Care and Biotech; Human Services; and STEM and Innovation

Companies and agencies participating in the expo included Booker Empowerment, LLC; Bear and Bull Productions; Cigna; Pfizer; Hartford Healthcare; Horizons; Miranda Creative; Reliance Health; St. Joseph Living Center; Travelers; the University of Connecticut and Eastern.

Kevin Booker ’00, president and CEO of Booker Empowerment and a city councilor for the City of New London, enjoyed returning to campus. “This was a great opportunity to connect and encourage students by giving them tools, tips and strategies on how they can be successful in college and in their careers after college,” he said. “I wish I had something like this when I was a freshman in college. I truly appreciate being a part of it. I am looking forward to next year’s event!” Booker graduated with a degree in General Studies in Business Administration, earned a second degree in the History of Social Science in 2008 and received a third degree in Political Science in 2011.

Jaimey Makie, staff auditor of public accounts for the State of Connecticut, agreed: “First-year students feel so much pressure to select a major, I think it’s really important to let them know that it’s okay to explore different paths to figure out what really interests them and that it’s fine to change their mind along the way. I especially enjoyed speaking with the students about planning for future internship positions. By taking a few summer classes early on, a student can accommodate a full-time internship during their senior year and still graduate on time.”

“I found this to be an amazing event for freshmen to get an understanding of career options,” said Molly Boucher, a Social Work and English double major from Bethel. “It was also helpful to talk to Eastern alumni, since they could give me advice on classes to take and internship opportunities I can seek.”

Connor Chute, a Business Information Systems major from Higganum, said, “This event made a big difference for me and many other students who are looking to get a start on their career path early, and for those who want to stimulate their interests. The speakers did an excellent job in giving me and others the information we were looking for relating to careers.”

Jessica Garcia, an accounting major from New London, concurred: “Overall, the event was very informative and expanded my knowledge of the majors offered at Eastern and the possible careers that they can lead to. As a freshman, this event allowed me to explore different majors and to meet individuals who are experts in their field of study.”

“Our goal for the program was to educate students early in their college career to the clusters that have been identified by the Department of Labor,” said Cliff Marrett, director of Eastern’s Office of Career for Internships and Career Development. “Sometimes, students wait too long to choose a career. We hope this expo helps students find their passion early on, do due diligence in pursuing their careers with excellence, and get experience as soon as possible.”

Written by Dwight Bachman