Career Fair Proves Successful for Students, Companies
With 30 companies in attendance at this year’s IFT Career Fair, held Tuesday, June 26, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Las Vegas Convention Center, it’s no wonder the aisles were crowded with graduates and students seeking internships and full-time positions. One of those job seekers was Christopher Gendron, who graduated in December from Univ. of Maine with a master’s degree in food science and human nutrition. In addition to presenting his poster at this year’s Annual Meeting, his goal was to explore full-time opportunities in sensory science and product development. However, Christopher hasn’t always had food science on the brain. He found his way to the field after working in a pharmacy and learning about pharmaceuticals, which led him to food science.
In fact, it seems many food scientists come into the field after learning about it through a related field. Graduate student Rebecca Lipasek was on the crew team as an undergraduate at Purdue Univ. and has always been interested health and nutrition as it relates fitness. She also loves and excels in chemistry and found that the field of food science would be the perfect pairing of both of her interests. Although Rebecca doesn’t graduate until December, she was at the Career Fair looking to line up a full-time job in research and development.
While the companies present at the Fair were seeking candidates for open positions they currently have, Mars Chocolate was also looking to the future. “We are here to be proactive and fill current openings, but we are also looking to build a pipeline of jobs,” said Nicolas Miele, Senior Manager in Talent Acquisition at Mars Chocolate North America. This is especially important given the expansion the company is planning in process development and sensory over the next six to 12 months. Mars, a Career Fair regular over the years, sees these events as an important step in building that pipeline. In fact, only an hour into the Fair, the company had already secured 13 one-on-one interviews with potential candidates.
Another company in attendance that proved the Career Fair is a vital tool for its recruitment is Kellogg’s. The company hired seven people they interviewed at last year’s Career Fair and three of them were present at this year’s event to conduct interviews. Patrick Williams, product developer for Kellogg’s global snacks business, remembers meeting with the company for the first time at the Fair in 2011. As a recent Ph.D. graduate from the Univ. of Maryland, Williams was looking for a chance to grow with a company and do a multitude of things. “I have a passion for food and wanted to see it go from the lab all the way through to the store shelf,” said Williams. After getting hired in August 2011, Williams made the move from Maryland to Battle Creek, Mich., and says he finds the job fulfilling. “Every day is different for me. I could be in the lab, in the pilot plant, or meeting with the marketing team,” said Williams. “And I get to make Cheez-Its!”
And now Williams finds himself on the opposite side of the table, hoping to find the next employee to add to Kellogg’s talent pool, and there are certainly plenty of worthy candidates vying for his—and the other companies’—attention. Who knows … maybe some will find themselves in Williams’ position at the 2013 IFT Career Fair.