Students, employers put faces to applications at job fair in Mark Twain

2015 UMSL Internship & Job

Engineering major Oriana Jones (left) connects with UMSL alumna Nikia Munson, an electrical engineer with Power Engineers, during the UMSL Internship & Job Fair on Friday. (Photo by Evie Hemphill)

In order to make the most of the Internship & Job Fair at the University of Missouri–St. Louis on Sept. 18, Oriana Jones arrived with a game plan.

“I was here before the doors opened,” said the senior electrical engineering major. “I was ready.”

After speaking at length with two representatives from a global engineering consulting firm, Jones made a few notes, checked off another box on her list of booths to hit and reached into her satchel for another copy of her resume.

“Today is really useful, because you get a chance to see people face to face” and offer a fuller impression to potential employers, she said.

Her time as a student in the UMSL/Washington University Joint Engineering Program also gives her confidence as she searches for a position. Learning from faculty who are active engineers has provided her with a deeply practical knowledge of the industry ­– along with natural connections to companies looking to hire.

“It’s an interesting new way to network,” Jones said, noting that she’d just talked with an Ameren recruiter who was acquainted with one of her professors.

She was one of more than 400 UMSL students and alumni who put their best foot forward on Friday to chat with recruiters, network in a wide range of fields and even take advantage of a LinkedIn photo booth. With 130 employers participating, the Mark Twain Athletic & Fitness Center was buzzing throughout the four-hour event.

“It just was a really good pace all day,” said Teresa Balestreri, director of UMSL Career Services. “I’m pleased with the increase in employers ­­– 7 percent more than last year – as well as the wonderful, immediate feedback about our students.”

Balestreri added that the event drew a wide variety of industry representatives recruiting from within all sorts of majors – math, engineering, the liberal arts and more. She credited her colleague Puspa Bueneman, who coordinated the event, as key to its smooth organization and large crowd.

Alana Hess, representing the Missouri Department of Natural Resources during the fair, said “UMSL puts out great applicants,” making the event an efficient opportunity to connect with some of them.

Many of the roughly 300 organizational representatives on hand were UMSL alumni, including Nikia Munson of Power Engineers. She graduated from the joint engineering program in 2011 and said it’s fun to be back.

“I like to see what interests college students have these days,” Munson said, “and it’s a good chance to put a face to a resume.”

Sophie Russo found herself in a unique position during the fair. Currently both a graduate student in information systems at UMSL and an associate software engineer at Enterprise Holdings, she was busy recruiting students to apply for the same internship she completed with the company last summer – which led to a full-time job in her case.

“I think I really help bridge the gap,” she said. “I can say, ‘I took that class, and I did that internship.'”

To explore other job and internship resources available to UMSL students and alumni, visit

The UMSL Experience


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