A STEM Career Fair at a university with students and employers standing around near booths

A STEM Career Fair Can Kickstart Your Job Search or Hiring Process: RDA Participates in Events at UVU and BYU

IT Staffing And Recruiting, RDA, hiring, internships

Considering attending a STEM Career Fair, as either a student or a hiring employer? SDi and its subsidiary, RDA, Inc., support university career fairs as a great opportunity for students to get started in their careers and have found these events to be a useful source of job candidates. Recently, Jon Dionne, General Manager and Director of Mission Software Solutions, and Lisa Dionne, Administrative Analyst & FSO, for RDA, Inc., represented the company at two career fairs focused on students in STEM fields.

STEM Career Fair Benefits for Students

In addition to education, building work experience as soon as possible can help build a career in STEM fields. These events allow students to get to know potential employers, learn about different industries and job opportunities. They provide an environment for networking with professionals in their areas of interest. Here are more detailed reasons to attend career fairs when seeking a STEM career:

  1. Networking: One of the best reasons to attend a career fair is the opportunity to make connections with those doing the work you want to do. You can start building a database of contacts in your field, which may help you with mentoring and job opportunities down the road. The chance to try out your elevator pitch and receive feedback will help you learn to advocate for yourself, which will help you in job interviews. Practicing your networking skills with real people will also help you to become better at networking, which is a key career skill in any field.
  2. Job Opportunities: Taking your job search offline and talking to real employers can help you find job opportunities you might otherwise miss. It may also help to put a face to a resume by talking directly to employers, rather than submitting one of hundreds of online applications and hoping for the best. 
  3. Learning About Potential Employers: Attending a STEM career fair and talking to representatives of companies about what it is like to work there can allow you to understand on a more personal level what the daily employee experience is like. You may also be able to meet someone with whom you would work at that company if you were hired. It is difficult to get a sense of this when simply conducting research about a company. The effort of preparing your resume, practicing your elevator pitch, and going from booth to booth will pay off when you meet the real people behind an organization’s logo.

These opportunities have clear benefits for students. Why should employers participate?

Jon Dionne stands beside a screen showing the LCAP system to an audience of students.

Why Employers Should Participate in a STEM Career Fair

All employers can benefit from attending careers fairs, including STEM employers. Consider these important advantages:

  1. Getting Your Brand Out There: When you show up at a career fair for students, it not only builds familiarity with your company, but also shows that you care about helping develop the next generation of workers in your field. You can also shape the impression that others have of your company by presenting information about your work, your values, and your company culture. This can be of interest to potential candidates as well as to other employers who may recommend you to candidates looking for something different than what they provide.
  2. Researching Your Competition: While attending a career fair, you can find out how other companies pitch themselves to potential job candidates. This will show you how your competition works, what their culture entails, and what their representatives think about working there. This can give you ideas for ways you can present your organization in the best light as well as potential adjustments you could make to your work environment to better appeal to potential employees.
  3. Networking for Employers: While career fairs facilitate networking with potential employees, they also give you a chance to network with industry professionals at different companies. Building relationships with other companies can lead to potential partnerships, collaborations, and even new business opportunities, making this a great and perhaps sometimes overlooked benefit of career fairs.

There are many benefits for employers of hiring students and new STEM graduates. Recent graduates will bring new ideas that can bring new problem solving approaches. They also bring an eagerness to learn new skills and to grow their careers that drives a strong work ethic. The time and effort employers put into training these new employees will pay off as they become some of the best employees over time.

Representatives of SDi and RDA Attend University Career Fairs

RDA’s Jon Dionne and Lisa Dionne recently attended two university career fairs, allowing them to meet with college students interested in STEM field careers. They first participated in the Spring 2023 STEM Career and Internship Fair at Utah Valley University on January 25. That same day they gave a presentation at a hiring and informational meeting about SDi and RDA at Brigham Young University. The following day, January 26, Jon and Lisa participated in the Brigham Young STEM Career Fair. 

Invited by an intern who previously worked with RDA, Jon Dionne also gave a virtual presentation to students at BYU-Idaho on January 19. He explained the importance of building core values and how to have them guide you in your life. He connected his own values, and the values the students would be building as they continued in their lives, to the CREED made up of the core values that form an important part of SDi’s culture. The message was that now is the time to decide what your values are and stick with them, so you don’t end up somewhere you don’t want to be. Working with a company like SDi that shares your core values can help students and new graduates to set their career on a path in line with those values. He also discussed RDA’s innovations such as the LCAP system, which can inspire students interested in working with this type of technology in the future.

About Utah Valley University

Located in Orem, Utah, Utah Valley University (UVU) is a public university with STEM-field majors including a B.S. in Aerospace Technology Management and multiple B.S. degrees in Computer Science, among many others. The university’s commitment to fostering students’ technological proficiency is illustrated in its Essential Learning Outcomes, objectives for all students to achieve in their studies that include digital literacy, scientific literacy, and quantitative literacy. Developing these skills can help students to succeed in STEM careers down the line.

Jon Dionne and Lisa Dionne talk to students following their presentation.

About Brigham Young University

Located in Provo, Utah, Brigham Young University (BYU) is a private university affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is also Jon’s alma mater, so he appreciated the opportunity to give back to the university community while also meeting potential future RDA employees.

BYU’s areas of study relevant to SDi and RDA’s work include Technology and Engineering Studies, Computer Science, Military Science, and Cybsersecurity. The university is even home to a dedicated Cybersecurity Research Lab.

Jon and Lisa’s Experiences and Takeaways from Attending These Career Fairs and Events

Attending these career events allowed Jon and Lisa to talk to students who are coming to the end of their formal education and getting their degrees. These students are really enthusiastic about their futures, on the path to getting that first full-time meaningful job.

Jon and Lisa enjoyed visiting with the students and seeing their overall excitement at this early stage of their careers. These career fairs had all the tools they needed to make connecting easy and simplify that process for the recruiters and the students. When people see the company banners and the marked tablecloth at a career fair booth, it sparks their curiosity. These materials piqued an interest in the potential recruits and Jon and Lisa were able to talk with them and answer their questions regarding open positions.

Jon and Lisa also took on a mentoring role to guide students to other companies and roles or industries that might suit them a little better. They helped the students to consider other possibilities that they hadn’t before.

Jon Dionne talks to students at a STEM career fair

The recruiting event was a wonderful success, with both Jon and Lisa speaking to and connecting with many students. Jon and Lisa listened to the students as they gave their 30-second elevator pitches, and they realized that they were really listening to their dreams and aspirations. This gave them a lot of confidence in the future generation. It was wonderful to see this optimism and energy. Graduation for these students means turning into a full-fledged adult and that transition to full independence can be intimidating. Jon and Lisa appreciated the opportunity to not only provide information about SDi and RDA, but also to encourage the students as they enter this new phase of their lives.

Looking To Start Your STEM Career? Consider SDi

Attending a STEM career fair can inspire you to look for a great place to begin your STEM career. SDi and RDA offer many opportunities for students and new graduates to begin their careers. Our internships allow students to build real-world experience in areas such as systems engineering and computer science. Additionally, SDi is hiring for a variety of positions, so check out our Current Job Postings page for more information.