Career Opportunities Fair keeps drawing employers and Katies

Career Opportunities Fair keeps drawing employers and Katies
Ecolab employee and St. Kate's alumna Linsey Miller ’05 talking to students at the career fair. Miller's colleague, Diana Viteri ’07, is in the background. Photo by Julie Michener.

Sarah Wong ’03 can’t stay away from her alma mater. The senior financial analyst at St. Paul-based Ecolab, a global leader in cleaning, sanitizing, food safety and infection prevention products and services, has returned to St. Catherine University six years in a row to help recruit students at the University’s Career Opportunities Fair.

Wong was one of four Ecolab employees — all alumnae — at the October 22 event in Rauenhorst Hall in Coeur de Catherine.

“We’re taking résumés and educating students about who we are and what opportunities are available specifically for them,” says Wong, who landed an internship with Ecolab in her junior year that led to a permanent position with the multinational corporation upon graduation. “Although we’re recruiting for accounting, economics and finance majors today, we also have positions in sales, human resources and IT.”

Linsey Miller ’05, Diana Viteri ’07 and Nicole Sonnek ’07 were her colleagues at the Ecolab table. “It’s great to be back on campus; it’s like I’ve come full circle,” Wong says. “I managed my first intern from St. Kate’s about two years ago. She was someone I recruited at the career fair, and after her internship ended, we extended her an offer to join the company.”

The Business Administration department and Career Development office co-sponsor the annual Career Opportunities Fair. The half-day event this fall saw a steady flow of nicely dressed students and alums meandering through the ballroom; 325 attendees registered, including 30 alums. More than 50 organizations — representing business, technology, healthcare and nonprofits — were present, including 3M, Allina Hospitals & Clinics, Walgreens, Minnesota Department of Human Services, Securian Financial Group and Americorps.

“This is the biggest career fair sponsored by any single private college in the state,” says Tina Wagner, associate director of career development. The 2008 fair had 71 organizations; the 2007 fair had 75 organizations.

Wagner says the slight drop in employers this year mirrors the weak employment market the past 12 months. “Given this economy, we have every reason to celebrate,” she says. “We’re always sad to lose employers, but the losses that we have are not because employers don’t want to hire St. Kate’s students. The losses are because they have to cut back in a tight economy.”

The employers who did show up were well rewarded. Jay Haapala from the Minnesota Children’s Museum in downtown St. Paul says St. Kate’s students are the “best prepared” he’s ever come across at a career fair. “And I’ve been at many,” he adds.

“The students are professional and they come with résumés in hand, and most, have a goal in mind, which helps me better find a place for them,” says Haapala, who was on hand to fill several unpaid and volunteer positions at the museum.

For PaHoua Lee ’10, the career fair was a must-attend event. “I didn’t go last year, and I regretted it,” she says. The senior in accounting has missed opportunities with some potential employers, who were only looking to hire juniors or third-year students for internships. At the career fair this year,” she says, “I got to see who’s hiring and find out what they’re looking for.”

Chor Xiong, a junior in management and information systems, had her eye on five employers as she went in to the fair, but at the end of making the rounds with Lee, five others piqued her interest.

“I had 10 résumés and I gave them all away,” Xiong says.

By Pauline Oo
Nov. 6, 2009

Contact Pauline Oo, (651) 690-6181

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