A black notebook that reads "Love Your Job" laying on a table

Student gains internship opportunities after Career Centers first virtual fair

A conversation about internships with a Grand Valley career advisor evolved into Austin Swidorski attending GVSU’s virtual fall Career and Internship Fair and landing an interview for an internship. 

More than 100 employers attended the fair and represented a variety of industries and fields of study. The fair concluded the Work Like a Laker conference, a 15-day conference with multiple tracks.

Swidorski, a sophomore majoring in marketing, said even though the fair was held virtually, it was easily accessible and a great way to learn what possibilities are out there.

“As someone with no experience in what kind of questions employers ask and things to know, this was a great precursor to anything that follows,” he said. 

Susan Proctor, employer development manager in the Career Center, said this was the first time the Career Center hosted a completely virtual fair for the Work Like a Laker conference. Ensuring the safety of students and employer partners was critical when planning the event.

“We committed to taking a thoughtful approach to planning recruitment activities, with the intent of maintaining the meaningful and high impact engagement opportunities that we believe are the hallmark of recruitment at GVSU,” Proctor said.

Elizabeth Sheill, a human resources trainee for Cintas, said she was impressed with how prepared students were and how efficient the GVSU career and internship fair was, in comparison to other fairs she recently participated in. 

While the world might feel like it’s “on pause,” Sheill said students need to keep thinking about internships and life post-graduation.   

“Even though we can’t meet in person, we’re doing everything we can to help students meet with employers and continue to network,” she said. 

The virtual event allowed opportunities that might not have otherwise been possible, Proctor said. Organizations like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Deloitte were represented in the Work Like a Laker conference. 

“We were able to include employers and alumni in conference activities, joining from locations including New York City, Dallas, Denver and Silicon Valley,” Proctor said.

After attending the virtual fair, Swidorski said he felt more confident with talking to employers and applying for internships.

“Talking about my future and getting involved was a push to get my foot in the door,” Swidorski said.