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Students Enjoy Virtual Graduate School Fair

Published on September 28, 2020

Students Enjoy Virtual Graduate School Fair

CICD schedule of eventsWithin three months of the COVID-19 outbreak in March, more than 14 million Americans were unemployed, more than 500,000 in Connecticut alone — worse than the recession of 2008–09.  

As COVID-19 continues to impact the job market, Eastern Connecticut State University’s Center for Internships and Career Development (CICD) is recommending that students turn their immediate attention to graduate school. In that way, they can get an advanced degree to make themselves more marketable when the economy finally does turn around.  To support students in their search for graduate school, the CICD hosted its first virtual graduate school fair on Sept. 23.

Sixty-five Eastern students registered for the fair, which attracted 43 colleges and universities representing a variety of graduate and law school programs. Students were able to explore programs in education, humanities, health science, healthcare and biotechnology, medicine, research and development, public health, pharmaceuticals, human services, government, law and public policy, international relations, STEM and innovation and more.  

“We have made critical adjustments to the way we provide services,” said CICD Director Cliff Marrett. “We have embraced technology, which has enabled us to expand our reach beyond New England and New York, to graduate school recruiters and provide additional opportunities that are attractive to all students. Along with several law schools, the fair will include representatives from several HBCUs, specifically South Carolina State University, Fisk University and Delaware State University.” 

Universities were happy for the opportunity to recruit Eastern students at the fair. “What was valuable was that we were able to download the list of registered Health Sciences students and email them directly to see if they were interested in our Doctor of Occupational Therapy or Pharmacy Program,” said Paula Geddis, assistant director of admissions for health professional programs at Western New England University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

“I talked with five or six students one after the other in the first hour, it was great!” said Danielle Clough, assistant director of graduate admissions at Springfield College. “I was impressed with how smooth the platform worked.  I loved having a list of students ahead of time; I emailed them that morning and at least two mentioned they were going to skip the fair, but because they had been emailed by colleges, they hopped on.”

Eastern students also appreciated the opportunity to visit with graduate school representatives. “I really enjoyed attending the fair,” said Lunise Constant, a senior from Norwalk majoring in Labor Relations and Human Resource Management. “I spoke to three law schools (UConn, Quinnipiac and Western New England) and was able to comfortably ask questions. I thought I would be confused at first, but it was very easy in a virtual format. In fact, I feel like I prefer this over in-person fairs. It was executed very well, from the joining of the queues, to accessing the links to speak to the representatives, and I believe all the representatives I spoke to were more than helpful. This was my first-time attending a graduate school fair and I have no complaints!” 

“I thought the event went well and it was pretty easy to navigate around to all the schools,” said Alicia Labrecque, a senior from Waterford majoring in English. “I thought there was a good amount of schools from places all around, so I could learn a lot about many different programs.” 

“We wanted to empower students to make informed decisions about their future in this difficult time,” said Marrett. “We believe this virtual fair helped to prepare them to better position themselves to enter the workforce by earning advanced degrees in the careers of their choice during this pandemic.” 

For more information on the Center for Internships and Career Development, visit https://www.easternct.edu/career/index.html 

Written by Dwight Bachman