Constructing a Career Path
Finding an internship doesn’t have to be hard. Students in the Construction Management Student Organization at Kent State University helped make job-searching easier for their peers.
The annual Construction Management Career Fair took place Sept. 8, in the Kent Student Center Ballroom. With the help of Joe Karpinski, senior lecturer and faculty advisor to the construction organization, and Kristin Williams, director of Career Services for the Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship, the Construction Management Student Organization hosted the career fair. The event drew 76 recruiting organizations and more than 140 students attended.
This is the first year that the Construction Management Student Organization has helped manage the career fair. Taking the lead were event chair Aiden Slattery, a senior construction management major and business minor, and a president Tara Rybar, sophomore construction management major.
In preparation for the fair, the student organization hosted a week of career-readiness events. From Aug. 31 to Sept. 8, students could participate in an intern experiences panel, resume workshop, mock interview session, professional headshot opportunity and social events with prospective employers, including Grunley and Hensel Phelps.
“We really wanted to focus on student involvement and support this year,” Rybar said. “So, we have the pro tips for students, we kind of outlined what companies are looking for. We're doing name tags, we're providing people with folders, pens and an outline for the event.”
These events equipped students to succeed while making the career fair experience as comfortable and welcoming as possible.
James Neville, a construction management sophomore, wanted to familiarize himself with the industry while looking for a summer internship at the career fair.
“The nerves at first were very, very high,” Neville said. “But then when you realize how comfortable they made it and how it's a nice setup and how welcoming it is, I think it was pretty good.”
Many of the recruiters in attendance were Kent State alumni looking to secure talent from their alma mater and to give back to students in the program.
Kent State alumnae Zoe Robertson and Leah Fritz were recruiting interns and full-time hires for Grunley Construction, a full-service general contracting company based in Rockville, Maryland.
"We're very dedicated to the program, and we have a lot of faith in it.”
“Leah and I are both alumnae of the construction management program, so we like to come back and get more Kent State people,” Robertson said. “Our CEO Ken Grunley is an alum as well, so we're very dedicated to the program, and we have a lot of faith in it.”
Similarly, Doug Talarcek graduated from Kent State with a degree in construction management and returned to the career fair looking to recruit co-ops for Shook Construction, based in Moraine, Ohio.
“Being a graduate of Kent State and coming back here, I’m hoping to give back.”
“Being a graduate of Kent State and coming back here, I’m hoping to give back,” Talarcek said. “We come here every semester that they have a career fair.”
Not all representatives were construction management alumni. Some have been recruiting from Kent State for years based purely off of reputation.
Ken Miller was recruiting for Messer Construction Co. in Columbus, Ohio, a company that specializes in construction management and general contracting across 11 national regions.
“The university is producing great graduates, and that's what we look at.”
“We really don't have a presence up here,” Miller said. “The university is producing great graduates, and that's what we look at.”
Students could enter the career fair feeling prepared by time spent learning in the classroom and from the student organization’s Career Week events.
Ayden Smith, construction management sophomore, went in search of a summer internship. Though emotions were running high, Smith felt ready.
“It’s nerve wracking, having to get in front of all these businesses and basically push yourself and sell yourself,” Smith said. “I'm still new to construction management, but the information you get from the coursework definitely has helped me in these interviews.”