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DelVal is on fire with the new IGNITE fairs on campus

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Posted on October 18, 2017 by Michelle G. '20, business administration.

DelVal is on fire. Flames have been creeping up the sides of bulletin boards and doors all over campus, leading to the eruption of networking opportunities that occurred on September 27. That’s when the Center for Student Professional Development officially launched its new series of networking events, IGNITE (Industry-Geared Networking Information and Targeted Exploration), with the first of the four industry industry-related fairs. The session addressed plants, land, and the environment, with industry-specific career exploration provided by many companies whose expertise varied from agricultural research to landscape design to sustainable farming.

IGNITE’s casual environment allowed students to freely mingle with each other and professionals. Employers and students were welcomed by smiling faces at the check check-in desk, where they were provided details about the event. Every part of IGNITE was designed to make participants feel comfortable and start up conversations easily. Even students’ and professionals’ name tags included a question like “What’s my major?” or “What’s my favorite part of my job?” to spark discussions. The free fair-inspired food confirmed the laid-back style of this event with its corndogs and popcorn machine.

The Career Match Game Table was a great place for students to begin their IGNITE experience. A volunteer-led participants through a fun card game that helped students uncover their strengths and match their skills to a career.

Students were able to strike up conversations with professionals by approaching the Info Inferno Tables to ask for career advice, job opportunities within the company, and any other information they were curious about. For those students who were unsure of what questions to ask, “Burning Questions” cards were available to use as conversation starters. Companies representing the environmental industry including the Heritage Conservancy, GROWMARK, Green Industry Consulting, DuPont Pioneer, Davey Tree Company, Bartlett Tree Experts, US Army Reserve, Ruppert Landscape, Greenleaf Lawn and Landscape, Scotts Miracle Grow, and our very own DelVal study abroad office were happy to network with students eager to understand more about their industry.

Tucked in a quiet corner of Moumgis, Spark Sessions took place throughout the evening. This section of the event exuded the feeling of a Ted Talk, in which a speaker gave a presentation about their career, an important moment in their life, or advice for students searching for jobs. DelVal professors Dr. Rebecca Bourgault and Dr. Jacqueline Ricotta gave exquisite presentations regarding career detours and being willing to step outside of one’s comfort zone. These inspirational talks allowed students to absorb information without feeling obligated to participate in discussions; however, many students lingered after the presentation to continue the conversation with the speakers.

A collection of round tables was spread out towards the back of Moumgis, where Firestarter Chats took place every hour. Industry professionals, alumni, and DelVal faculty including Peter Williams, Dr. Doug Linde, Terry Jackson, Herb Hickmott, Howard Eyre, Dr. Richard Bortnick, and Matt Beekman led small-group discussions with about 5-8 students. The chats covered topics varying from “What I Know Now that I Wish I Knew Then” to “The Best Advice I Ever Received,” and students were able to simply listen in on the conversations or provide their thoughts and questions.

IGNITE was an engaging event for students, professionals, DelVal faculty, and alumni. This is just the beginning of the job fair revolution at DelVal. A second IGNITE fair, on science and service, took place October 17, and over the next month, three more IGNITE fairs will be sending sparks flying over campus as participants continue to network and students explore the industries they will soon enter.

Upcoming IGNITE Fairs:

All About Business – Wednesday, November 1, 3-6 p.m.

Accounting and financial services; entrepreneurship; social media; communication; marketing; management; manufacturing and production; quality assurance

All Things Animals – Wednesday, November 8, 3-6 p.m.

Conservation and rehabilitation; veterinary medicine; equine; zoos and aquariums; animal feeding, nutrition, and production; laboratory, research, and pharmaceuticals; environmental education