La Crosse, Wis. — A special career fair for UW-La Crosse College of Science and Health majors is creating the right mixture for students thinking about careers in science. And, it’s helping statewide organizations seeking scientists share the many science-related opportunities available throughout the region.
In February, the Science Career Forum was held for the third time after Career Services staff discovered natural science majors were less likely to attend traditional career fairs on campus.
“We linked this to a lack of laboratory, field and research employers attending the regular fairs,” says Josh Bench, Student Services Coordinator in the UWL Career Services Office. “So, we started reaching out to those employers that have hired our science students in the past. The event has grown since.”
Bench cites three goals for the annual event:
- give students an avenue to explore opportunities where they can use their skills and knowledge in the sciences.
- educate employers so they become more aware of the quality and preparedness of UWL students.
- build and maintain community partnerships.
Employers are becoming excited about the fair, says Bench. It has grown from eight employers in 2015 to 21 employers in 2017. Most employers return once they’ve attended.
“They’re impressed by our students and like the educational nature of the event,” explains Bench. “They know that they will get more quality applicants for their positions and programs, but also get to feel good about passing on career advice to aspiring scientists.”
Bench says alumni in particular like to return for the event. “You can tell alumni get a good feeling coming back to campus to talk with the next generation of scientists,” he says.
The outlook for those heading into the science field is generally good, says Bench. While federal organizations have been impacted by a freeze, other science-related organizations, especially health-related, are growing.
“Healthcare remains strong and clinical lab hiring has been increasing, with Mayo attending multiple career events on our campus in recent years,” notes Bench. “In the private sector, at least in our region, the outlook seems to be strong, especially when you look at the big contract research organizations in Madison.”
Employers hesitant to attend just a few years ago are now happily sending teams and asking for on-campus interviews, says Bench. “Overall, the good news is our students in the sciences have always fared pretty well on the job market.”
Bench expects the Science Career Forum to be held again next academic year. Employers interested in attending should contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organizations participating the 2017 Science Career Forum:
• Agropur Ingredients
• Catalent Pharma Solutions
• Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa
• Fastenal Co.
• Forage Genetics International
• Gundersen Health System
• Ingersoll Rand – Trane
• Mayo Clinic Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology
• Mayo Clinic Health System
• Mississippi Valley Conservancy
• Organic Valley
• Superior Fresh, LLC
• U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service -Genoa National Fish Hatchery and La Crosse Fish Health Center
• U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
• Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources – Bureau of Law Enforcement
• Wisconsin Diagnostic Laboratories