Allan Foster, a student pursuing a master’s in Information Systems and Technology at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, knew exactly what he was looking for at the Fall Internship & Job Fair on Friday.
“Opportunity,” he answered quickly. “I’m looking for a new role and possibly a new home after graduation.”
Foster certainly got the chance to build some connections for future career opportunities as he made his way through the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center on Friday morning. Working in healthcare, he was particularly excited to visit the Mercy, BJC HealthCare and Bayer booths, but he felt like he was able to develop meaningful connections with a number of different companies.
“Every company I’ve spoken with has asked me for a resume and given me their contact information as well,” he said. “A couple of them have told me specific positions to apply to. It’s been great communication.”
Foster was just one of 460 students who attended the event on Friday to network with potential employers at the career fair, which is open to UMSL students from all academic programs and levels. This year’s attendance marked a 53% increase in student participation over last year’s Fall Internship & Job Fair, which was the first to be held in-person since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
UMSL Director of Career Services Teresa Balestreri said participating employers were thrilled with the number and quality of the candidates. Over 240 representatives – including many UMSL alumni – attended the event on behalf of 85 different employers seeking UMSL students and graduates. They represented a diverse range of business and organizations, including Ameren, Boeing, Edward Jones, Eli Lilly and Company, Enterprise, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Missouri Botanical Garden, Special School District and more.
“The approach that our office has taken is to elevate quality over quantity,” Balestreri said. “Our strategy is to ensure that all industries and majors are represented with employers who are seeking collegiate-level interns and full-time employees.”
One company new to the fair this year had a steady stream of students visiting their booth throughout the day, grabbing koozies and stickers and learning about internships and part-time roles. St. Louis CITY SC, which launched a partnership with UMSL earlier this year to foster professional development through the St. Louis CITY/UMSL Sport Management Program, attended the fall fair for the first time to help fill some part-time roles at the new MLS club.
“We have a college internship program that we just started this year since we are a new organization, and it was really successful,” CITY SC payroll specialist Meg Becker said. “We will start to put our links out for that next month so we’re just kind of getting ahead of that and trying to fill some other part-time roles that we think are pretty ideal for college students, including our street team and our guest services at our stadium. We thought coming to a college campus – especially a great school like UMSL – we’d get out face to face with some great talent. We’re really trying to get our brand and our name out.”
Katie Emerick and Katie Boland were on hand to represent The Saint Louis Zoo and connected with UMSL students about full-time openings, part-time positions and internships at the zoo. Throughout the day, they were excited to see a few former Zoo interns and employees stop by the booth to say hi.
“Any opportunity to get out and to meet more students and people who are interested in internship opportunities and paid opportunities is great,” Boland said. “Proximity-wise, UMSL is fairly close to our campus, so it makes sense.”
Many students came into the Fall Internship & Job Fair with a mission.
Brittany Hawkins, a junior studying business administration with an emphasis in management, attended the event for the first time after transferring to UMSL from another institution in Missouri. Currently working as an assistant manager at Aldi’s, she’s interested in pursuing a path in the corporate world after graduation and knew the fair could help her make valuable connections for her future career.
“I’m looking for internships and the longevity of a career path,” she said. “I’ve visited Edward Jones. I knew I wanted to visit Bayer, Boeing, Emerson – anything that’s dealing with project management.”