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Career development events encourage job exploration

Campus Life Mar 16, 2023
Three women seated behind a table talk to a woman standing in front of the table.
Three women seated behind a table talk to a woman standing in front of the table.

KOKOMO, Ind. — Career Center events aren’t just for graduating seniors.

Indiana University Kokomo freshman Sam Bowlby attended campus career center networking events and a career fair, leading to a job and a change in career plans.

“Attending these events really changed my perspective as a student and the outcome of what my future looks like,” said Bowlby, adding that they provide opportunities to consider potential careers.

“I saw opportunities behind the networking events,” said Bowlby, from Kokomo. “I feel like it allowed me to communicate with new people and put myself out there for potential employers. It really changed my perspective as a student and the outcome of what my future looks like.”

Tracy Springer, director of the career center, said Bowlby’s story is an example of why students at all levels benefit from taking advantage of career development opportunities, and encouraged attendance at the Mentor the Future events March 21 and March 22, and campus career fairs April 4, April 5, and April 18. The Kokomo Area Career Fair, facilitated by IU Kokomo, Ivy Tech, Work One, and the City of Kokomo, is April 12 at Ivy Tech Community College.

“Career fairs, networking events, and any career development workshop is a value to all students at any stage,” Springer said. “It isn’t just for juniors and seniors looking for an internship or full-time job after graduation. It’s about learning different careers, networking with employers to find the best path for you, and sometimes leads to new discoveries about yourself, and could lead to an internship or job.”

Bowlby said he originally chose a pre-med path at IU Kokomo, but after attending his first career fair, changed to business marketing. He met Billy Lytle, district sales manager for Fastenal, an industrial supply company, who hired him for his current job.

“I found my niche,” he said. “I enjoy the communications side of business. I enjoy the sales side, and learning about the statistics it takes to build a business. In sales, you’re supposed to find a problem and give your customer the solution. I thought I wanted to go into the medical field, but business is definitely my place now.”

Lytle, who graduated from IU Kokomo in 2003, participates in campus events to connect with potential employees.

“We’re looking for good people who want to start a career with a good company,” he said. “We’ve had people who have changed their major because they enjoyed what they’re doing working for us. If they don’t, we paid them well for a job they enjoyed doing for a few years. That’s what it’s about — meeting students and explaining opportunities and giving them the ability to learn and see if they are passionate about it while finishing school.”

Upcoming career events include:

  • Mentor the Future, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 21 and Thursday, March 23, Alumni Hall. Work with career development mentors to develop your resume and interviewing skills.
  • Cougar Career Fair: STEM fields, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, Alumni Hall.
  • Cougar Career Fair: Humanities and Social Sciences, Business and Criminal Justice, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, Alumni Hall.
  • Kokomo Area Career Fair, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, Ivy Tech Community College. Community-wide fair in partnership with Ivy Tech Kokomo, the City of Kokomo, and Region 4 Work One.
  • Cougar Career Fair: Education, 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 18, Alumni Hall.
  • Elite Networking Event, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Friday, April 21, Kelley Student Center Room 130.

Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.

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