UCLA Samueli Hosts Virtual Career Fairs to Facilitate Industry Connections

UCLA Engineering and Technical Fair
UCLA Samueli

Dec 9, 2020

By UCLA Samueli Newsroom

UCLA Samueli departments and student organizations had been busy organizing virtual career fairs in October and November to help students connect with industry. The programs offered hundreds of UCLA students an opportunity to connect directly with companies for potential jobs and internships amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Leading global companies, such as SpaceX, Gilead Sciences, Northrop Grumman, Moderna, Facebook and Lockheed Martin, sent representatives to attend the career fairs. Below are the takeaways, including helpful links for students.

MAE x MSE Career Fair

The Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) and Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) departments hosted a joint career fair on Oct. 15. The event was organized by the Materials Research Society at UCLA, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics at UCLA, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers at UCLA and Bruin Racing.

More than 400 students attended the recruitment event hosted on the virtual event site Brazen.

Students had an opportunity to interact with representatives from 12 organizations, including Sandia National Laboratories, SpaceX, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon. Nearly 800 recruiter-student chats took place during the event. Most companies at the fair were looking to hire both interns and full-time employees. Full-time positions, however, were more impacted by COVID-19.

“For graduating students, make sure you have a resume that has been reviewed by others and take advantage of the professional-development events that the UCLA Career Center and student engineering organizations offer,” said Megan Bookhor, external vice president of Materials Research Society at UCLA and a facilitator of the event. “For example, Handshake is a great site to both apply to jobs and attend virtual professional events.”

Attendees had access to the following resources to help them prepare for the fair:

Students can refer to the complete list of companies that were involved in the fair and their open positions. For those who missed the fair, this PowerPoint presentation offered helpful career tips: MRS Resume Workshop.

BMES Biotech Career Fair

On Oct. 20, the BMES Biotech Career fair was presented by the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) at UCLA. The event was hosted on Gatherly.

More than 250 UCLA students from across 16 academic disciplines registered for the event. Most attendees were bioengineering, chemical engineering and mechanical engineering majors.

Companies represented at the fair included Gilead Sciences, Thermo Fisher Scientific, DeciBio Consulting, Medtronic, Abbott Laboratories, Takeda and Moderna.

Although interactions among company representatives and students occurred virtually, Gatherly simulated traditional career fair experience by setting up company tables and icons in virtual breakout rooms. Students were able to “walk up” to a company’s table and initiate conversations with recruiters. There were four virtual floors separated by biotech consulting, biomedical devices, pharmaceuticals and instrumentation.

The event’s virtual setting actually allowed attendees to utilize time more effectively. While waiting in line at a company’s virtual table, students could work on assignments before getting called on by representatives.

BMES also prepared a Career Fair Prep Workshop. Thanks to BMES members Angela Lu, Griffith Hughes and Mimi Carson, students can access a recording of the fair through this link and slides from the workshop through this link. They can also utilize slides from a technical interview workshop co-hosted by BMES and the American Institute for Chemical Engineers (AIChE) at UCLA through this link, thanks to Shikha Mody from BMES and Alan Huang from AIChE.

Computer Science Career Fair

The Computer Science Career Fair was hosted Oct. 13 by the computer science department, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) at UCLA and Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE) at UCLA. The fair was hosted on Gatherly.

The event was open to all UCLA students pursuing a computer science, computer science and engineering or computer engineering degree. More than 500 students attended the event.

Facebook, Human Capital, Sandia National Labs, ViaSat, Blizzard Entertainment, Deloitte and Citadel were all represented at the event. These companies are a part of the UCLA computer science department’s Industrial Affiliates Membership Program.

CEE/ASCE Career Fair

The Civil and Environmental Engineering Career Fair, facilitated by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) at UCLA, took place on Nov. 5. The fair was hosted on Gatherly and mimicked an in-person fair.

The event was open to all paying members of ASCE at UCLA and attracted more than 150 students.

Representatives from 30 companies attended, including Kimley Horn, CDM Smith, LADWP, HNTB, Turner Construction, Clark Construction and PCL Construction. They covered the fields of construction management, general civil engineering, structures, environmental engineering, water resources, geotechnical engineering and transportation.

Students can access a tutorial video on how to navigate Gatherly through this link. They can also access ASCE’s Career Fair Bootcamp and Resume Workshop through this link.

ECE Career Fair

The ECE Career Fair was held on Oct. 20. The fair was hosted by Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) at UCLA and ECE Graduate and PostDoc Society (ECEGAPS) at UCLA on Brazen.

More than 350 undergraduate, graduate and postdoc students registered and attended the event, including electrical engineering, computer engineering, and computer science and engineering majors.

Seventeen companies were present, including Northrop Grumman, ViaSat, the Aerospace Corporation, Texas Instruments, Raytheon Technologies, Lockheed Martin and Sandia National Laboratory. Several companies were new to the fair, including Physical Optics Corporation, Roku and Keysight.

The collaboration between HKN, an undergraduate honors society, and ECEGAPS, a graduate honors society, enabled outreach to more students and companies. The virtual format also allowed for more companies from around the country to attend the fair, as there was no need for representatives to travel to UCLA.

According to the organizers, more than 20% of students received immediate interviews from companies after attending the fair.

AIChE Career Fair

On Oct. 16, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers at UCLA held a career fair on Gatherly.

More than 100 students attended the event, which catered mainly to chemical engineering majors, with some bioengineering or mechanical engineering majors. Attendees included first-, second- and third-year undergraduates and new transfer students.

Seven companies were represented at the event, including Phillips 66, Takeda, Gilead Sciences and HRL Laboratories. The COVID-19 pandemic distinctly changed the demographics of the companies that chose to participate in the fair. Organizers noticed an increase in the number of pharmaceutical and bioceutical companies and a decrease in oil and gas companies. Many companies are either still determining their hiring strategy for the year or have ceased hiring entirely.

For students interested in attending future online career fairs, Rishab Gupta, AIChE’s external vice president and one of the fair’s facilitators, offered these quick tips.

  • Try out the career fair’s site in advance.
  • Dress to impress! Business is the way to go.
  • Make sure your background is appropriate. On Gatherly, there’s no virtual backgrounds. Don’t let a recruiter see your messy room!
  • If possible, find a quiet place where you won’t be bothered. Talk to the people you live with ahead of time so that they know not to interrupt.
  • Drink water and have snacks on hand [off camera] throughout the career fair. It is important to stay hydrated and energized so you can show off your best.
  • As always, research the companies you wish to speak to AHEAD OF TIME!

Students can access AIChE’s Career Fair Prep Workshop for information on using Gatherly via this shared presentation. Clubs and organizations can access feedback on Gatherly through this document.

Zoe Curran contributed to this story.

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