By Dan Henson
The Spring 2013 Make A Difference Career Fair on Tuesday catered to service-oriented students who seek to improve the world they live in.
Baylor’s Office of Career & Professional Development offered students an opportunity to explore positions at 19 nonprofit, government and social service organizations. The fair was held to attract students who want to make a difference and may not be interested in other fairs that are more focused on corporate or technical career opportunities.
“This is more for students who are interested in giving back to the community, or working for non-profit organizations,” Carolyn Muska, associate director of career and professional development said.
The organizations at the fair ranged from summer camps, which were recruiting counselors, to the Peace Corps, which was looking for those willing to commit to a 27-month term of service assisting countries in need.
Several of the organizations provide significant educational help to their members once they complete their term of service.
One of the organizations at the fair, City Year of San Antonio, helps close the achievement gap in public schools by having 17- to 24-year-olds serve as tutors, mentors and role models. The organization has taken significant steps to improve the lives of their members once they complete their service with the organization.
“If you are interested in going to graduate school, we have partnered up with over 70 schools across the country that will offer 25 to 100 percent off tuition to all City Year alum, because it shows the kind of character and person you are, making a difference in your community, helping students get back on track and graduate from high school,” Renato Ramaciotti, recruitment director at City Year of San Antonio, said.
City Square Program Director Elizabeth VanOort said her organization, a nonprofit out of Dallas that works to alleviate poverty, homelessness and hunger issues, offers their members an education award of $1,400 at the end of their term of service. These organizations were looking for bright, intelligent Baylor students and graduates to help them in their causes.
Girlstart is a nonprofit organization that holds summer camps, after-school programs and extravaganzas for girls in kindergarten through high school. The program utilizes the help of women to help create a better future for girls in the Austin area.
Brittany Dahl, practicum student at Girlstart, said they are looking for a few STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) CREW (Creative, Resourceful, Empowered Women) members to help run the after-school program at Connally Elementary School in Waco.
The focus of many of these organizations is to alleviate problems faced by those in low-income communities around the world, but they also seek to make positive changes in the lives of their members. One of the organizations at the fair, Project Transformation, holds after-school programs and summer day-camp programs for children and youth from low-income neighborhoods. This organization immerses its members in low-income communities, which allows them to learn more about themselves.
“We are doing these programs for low-income children, but it is also kind of like a leadership and ministry experience for the young adults that we hire,” Janalee Shadburn Wiles, volunteer coordinator at Project Transformation said.
The students who attended the career fair sought to make a difference in the world and were looking for career opportunities that would allow them to contribute to their communities.
“I enjoyed the fact that these are companies that I can give back with,” Bloomington, Minn., senior Sarah Wood said.