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Career Connection '97 links students, employers

An ideal career for electrical engineering major Rich Boyd, who expects to graduate in May, would be designing analog-to-digital systems for a company in Hawaii. With a chuckle, he admitted that this might be too lofty of a goal for his first job out of college. However, Boyd did get his employment search off to a positive start last week as he attended the College of Engineering's twelfth annual Career Connection.

Held Sept. 16-18 in the lobby of Engineering Hall, Career Connection '97 brought representatives from approximately 150 companies and government agencies to the UW-Madison campus. Hundreds of engineering students as well as computer sciences majors milled among the display booths, asking questions about career opportunities and often passing along resumes. Many of the attendees also scheduled interviews for co-op, internship and full-time positions.

Fort James exhibit

Almost 150 corporations from throughout the U.S. were represented at the three-day Career Connection '97. (large image)

"It's really nice to have people come to campus like this because they bring a lot of materials about the companies," said Boyd. "You get to talk to some of the people who are from the organization and get a sense of the culture. You get a lot more information than just material from a brochure. It's really beneficial."

First-year electrical engineering graduate student Syed Ali agreed. He attended Career Connection in search of an internship for next summer. While his primary interest is in digital signal processing, Ali is also considering technical marketing opportunities. By mid-day Wednesday, he said internship prospects were a little more optimistic in the technical marketing arena.

Just as students were eager to make a positive impression on potential employers, recruiters were anxious to meet the future engineers. For example, Marie Pace of Procter & Gamble was on campus in search of potential employees for her company's information systems division. "We hope to get at least one or two full-time candidates and a couple of internships," she said.

And what characteristics would a strong candidate possess? "We're basically looking for problem solving skills," said Pace. "We want well-rounded individuals interested in career development. We can teach anyone to program . . . it's (the) well-rounded individual that stands out."

Student talks with Boeing representative

The sky was the limit for student job seekers. (large image)

Paul Hezel of MIT Lincoln Laboratory was on hand to drum up business for interviews to be held on campus later this fall and again in spring. "This is prepping people, letting them know that we're going to be back." In particular, he was seeking candidates with a strong academic background in electrical engineering, physics or computer sciences.

And like his peers, Hezel was collecting plenty of resumes. "We'll take these back and circulate them, and if there's interest, we'll fly these people out to Boston for interviews," he said.

Career Connection '97 was co-sponsored by Engineering Career Services and Polygon Engineering Council. An employer reception, sponsored by the Cooperative Education Association, was held on Sept. 16.