Ag fair draws students, employers

By Natalia Achucarro

When life gives you lemons, the saying goes, you make lemonade. Instead of lemonade, Cal Poly Pomona agriculture students made resumes, marketing connections and business opportunities at the Ag Career Day on Thursday. The lemons were just a bonus of attending the fair and taking advantage of some of the produce that the booths brought to the event.

Upon attending, students were provided with a program that highlighted the various opportunities and giveaways that were at the fair. The flier reminded students of the purpose behind the event.

Over 39 companies were in attendance at the event. Major companies and organizations like Target, Peace Corps, Food Safety Net Services and Monsanto were among the many that brought their expertise and job openings to the fair for eager CPP students. Arrays of booths were lined up outside of Building 2 with company representatives accepting resumes, sharing what their companies have to offer and guiding students in the job-seeking journey.

Students were given various opportunities to participate in the event and get merchandise. For dressing up in professional attire, agriculture students were entered in a raffle to win a flat screen TV or a pair of Disneyland tickets. Students that were first to participate in the fair were given free water bottles, tote bags and pens. Also, those who dressed up for the occasion were offered professional headshots.

Kiia Arida, a fifth-year food and nutrition student, enjoyed establishing connections and the honesty that these companies provided her at the event.

“A lot of these employers have a lot of advice to give about how to apply for jobs and get more information regarding their needs,” said Arida. “If you don’t fit with their company, they’ll tell you of other companies or jobs that satisfy your major and experience better. They’re really nice and helpful.”

Students were able to apply to different corporations and submit resumes right on the spot. Arida was among the students that witnessed how rapidly the fair provided opportunities for potential jobs.

“I talked to Food Safety and Inspection Service, and they asked me if I wanted to apply right at the spot,” said Arida. “It was really cool to see how quick everything can happen. They were offering a food inspection position. It’s like a training program within the company.”

Although the fair brings employers to agriculture students, finding a position and entering the workforce is a frightful process for some. Arida is a graduating this year and is fearful yet hopeful of her future.

“I’m graduating this year, and I’m scared,” said Arida. “I have no idea what is going to happen. The water is murky and there are a lot of options out there, so I’m keeping an optimistic mentality. I’m sure there will be a job out there for me. We’ll see what happens.”

Angelica Jarmin, a third-year food and nutrition student, visited the fair to see what options were available to her. She was able to learn about different positions that are available for students with her major.

“What I took away from the day is knowing that there are a lot of options out there rather than just clinical positions or hospital settings,” said Jarmin. “There are a lot of positions open in even government and agriculture. I was really interested in the Peace Corps because of the international market they have. [It is] something that I was able to learn at the event.”

For students that still have time left to graduate, it was an experience that allotted interview practice, resume development and marketing opportunities.

Nykael Williams, a third-year plant science student, went through various different steps to get ready for the day.

“To get ready for the event, I practiced with one of my friends speaking back and forth,” said Williams. “I wanted to have clear sentences and articulate myself well when speaking to other people. Also, I looked up what is appropriate to dress in and what employers look for in attire. I know that was a big deal for me.”

Williams was surprised with how much information was available. He was able to learn more about Armstrong Garden Centers.

“When talking to people, a lot of opportunities come up that you don’t know would have occurred,” said Williams. “So, for instance, I was talking to Armstrong and they were telling me that they have internship opportunities and retail positions. I didn’t know that. It’s something that really interesting because it’s in my major.”

Williams is expecting the unexpected when it comes to his future and plans after college.

“It’s exciting that you never know which direction you’re going to go,” said Williams. “You have a goal in college, but that can branch out to something that you would never expect. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”

Ag fair

Leydey Rangel Perez / The Poly Post

Ag fair

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