Students meeting with company recruiters at past Career Fair
Photo courtesy of: Ohio University Communications and Marketing
Sep 22, 2011
By Brittany Balandis
For four Ohio University alumni, attending the Career and Internship Fairs pointed them in directions they never imagined they'd go, and solidified their future careers in the military, education and sales.
Making it in the Marines
Laura Bateman, an accounting major from the class of 2002, attended her first Career Fair as a freshman.
"I had on a powder blue suit from J.C. Penney, my resume was atrocious and I had no idea what I was doing," she reminisced.
Wide-eyed and overwhelmed, she wandered over to where she thought she should start, a booth for a prominent financial planning company. But after chatting with the company's representatives, Bateman was unexpectedly approached by a recruiter for the Marine Corps.
She had an instant connection with the Marine. The two kept in contact throughout the rest of Bateman's time at Ohio University, but she never thought it would amount to a career.
However, during Bateman's junior year of college, her thoughts about a future in the Marine Corps changed completely.
"I remember standing in Baker Center on Sept. 11, 2001, watching the towers fall," she said, "That's when I knew it was time."
Bateman immediately contacted the Marine Corps recruiter from the Career Fair and began her military training a year later.
Now, Bateman is a captain in the Marine Corps.
"If it hadn't been for that recruiter at the Career Fair," Bateman stated, "I wouldn't be where I am today."
Bateman isn't the only Ohio University alumna that benefitted from the Career Fair.
Offers on the spot
Jean Sekerak attended the 2006 Spring Career Fair during her senior year. As an education major with the hopes of moving to Florida with her fiancé, now husband, she began looking for schools to work for in the Tampa area.
Much to her surprise, she was offered three jobs in that one day alone. By the end of the day, she had chosen the school district she wanted to work for, the Thomas E. Weightman Middle School in Pasco County, Fla.
Now, almost six years later, Sekerak still teaches sixth, seventh and eighth grade Spanish classes at the school.
"I never would have known about this job if I hadn't attended the Career Fair. I never would have started my new life here," Sekerak said. "I recommend that all students attend the Career Fair. You just don't know where it's going to take you."
Sold on sales
For alumni Charles Wirtz and Becky Verner, the Career Fair offered them unexpected opportunities. While Wirtz, an English major from the class of 2010, perused the booths, he noticed a familiar face in the distance.
"I saw a face I recognized, started talking to him, and had an instant connection," Wirtz recalled.
He started talking with his former classmate, who worked for Verizon, and a few months later, Wirtz was hired.
Now, he works at as a retail service representative in the Retail Leadership Development Program at Verizon Wireless.
Becky Verner, public relations major from the class of 2009, never imagined she would be where she is today.
"If someone would have told me five years ago that I would be working in sales, I would have hated it!" Verner laughed.
Verner attended the 2009 Spring Career Fair with one goal in mind -- to move back to Cleveland. She began applying to any and all companies in the Cleveland area in hopes of finding something in the journalism field. However, when Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM) approached her with an offer, she could not turn it down.
Now, Verner works at ECRM as an account manager for the health and beauty team.
"I was a little disappointed to not be working in the field I studied in school," Verner explained, "but looking back now, I realize how much I've learned and grown with this company and in this industry. And it's all because of the Career Fair! Every Bobcat should attend the fair. It is one of the scariest things you will do as a student but it is absolutely necessary to begin to expose yourself to the new professional environment."
The Career Fair is open to all Ohio University students. It will be held Tuesday, Oct. 4 in the Baker University Center Ballroom. For more information about Career Week, click here.