What began a decade ago as a one-day career fair evolved this year into a week of events to prepare students for college and the work world, culminating in Career Expo and Internship Alley.
The first-ever Gibbons Career Week took place March 11-15 and provided myriad opportunities for students to gain insights about possible college majors and career paths – often from Gibbons Alumni. Those opportunities ranged from a networking trip to Charlotte and college fair to a day of workshops for creating LinkedIn profiles and resumes to a fine arts professional day.
On Friday, March 15, the final day of Career Week, 30 Gibbons Alumni returned to their alma mater to offer their advice, expertise, and real-world experiences to current students during lunch periods. Also, on hand, were local companies and non-profit groups whose companies, like those of some of the alumni, offered internships to qualified students.
"Our alumni recognize that Gibbons contributed to their success and they return that gift by supporting the Career Expo,” Associate Director of Alumni Advancement Susan Leigh '87 said.
Career Week 2019 was presented by Gibbons Alumni and iCube, a service organization dedicated to exploring business and entrepreneurship, in collaboration with the school’s Fine Arts Department and College Counseling.
Describing the intent of a week of career-oriented events iCube Moderator and Business Educator Brent Nolan’05 said: “Having five days devoted to college and career planning gave our students an invaluable head start in determining the direction they would like their futures to take and ensuring they are on the best path for success.”
Associate Director of Alumni Advancement Susan Leigh ’87 agreed. That Gibbons Alumni were involved in many of the week’s events and spearheaded Alumni Career Expo reflects how “our alumni recognize that Gibbons contributed to their success and they return that gift by supporting the Career Expo,” Leigh said. “It is also great to see current students engaged in a conversation with alumni who are so willing to share career advice.”
Career Expo, hosted by Gibbons Alumni, has been a yearly tradition that has expanded in size and scope since its inception a decade ago. At this year’s Career Expo students had the chance to talk one-on-one with the alumni, who are employed across the region in various fields, ranging from retail, law, and media to health and wellness and software. (View PDF of the full list of alumni and their companies.) Through Internship Alley, sponsored by iCube, students had the chance to learn about internships and job opportunities from eight companies hoping to hire Gibbons students.
This year marks the fourth time Mechanical Engineer Matt Freeman ’09 has returned to Gibbons for Career Expo. He works at the local office of Black & Veatch, the global engineering firm.
“My time here at Gibbons gave me the skills needed to succeed and excel in college and in my career,” Freeman says. “I enjoy coming back, talking to the students, and giving them insights into a career option they may not be contemplating.”
Jennifer Brown ’92, a business development manager for Brooks Life Sciences, was a first-time Career Expo participant. “Science is a field people find scary, but it is very exciting,” she notes. “I came to Career Expo to expose students to the exciting world of science and tell them not to be intimated by it.”
Whether they were new to Career Expo or repeat participants the alumni said they were proud to return to Gibbons to help students decide which classes to take in college and which careers to pursue. Doing so, they said, is a way to give back and stay connected with their alma mater.