By Daynie Rivera
More than 400 students gathered last week for career planning and resume building for opportunities in agriculture.
Ag Career Day is an annual tradition since the 1980s and was free for all Huntley College of Agriculture students.
“I’m looking for internship opportunities where I can combine nutrition and plant science, and this event is great to see what companies are in the industry,” fourth-year nutrition and food science student Pandora Mondragon said.
The event was held Thursday, Jan. 25 in the Bronco Student Center, Ursa Major.
This year’s event brought 36 companies from several industries ranging from seafood, produce, and dairy to healthcare and to pest management.
“We encourage freshman and seniors to attend and are very adamant in encouraging them to practice their job seeking skills because, the more experience they get the more confident they’ll become,” recruitment and retention coordinator for the Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture Rhonda L. Ostrowski said.
Representatives were looking to provide students with internships, scholarships and overall information on their companies and industry.
Companies such as Associates Insectary, Trident Seafood’s, the Agribusiness Education Foundation, SunOpta and Frieda’s Specialty Produce were among those who were offering internship opportunities.
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo was also in attendance promoting their Master of Professional Studies in dairy products technology, a very stable and growing industry.
“This event is a really nice opportunity for students like myself to be exposed to different companies at once, and see what options are available,” first-year animal science student Alice Duran said.
Among those who attended included students from majors such as agribusiness and food industry management, agricultural science, animal health science, animal science, apparel merchandising and management, food science and technology, foods and nutrition and plant science.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), “during the next five years, U.S. college graduates will find good employment opportunities if they have expertise in food, agriculture, renewable natural resources or the environment.”
The USDA also state, “between 2015 and 2020, we expect to see 57,900 average annual openings for graduates with bachelor’s or higher degrees in those areas.”
The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) offers a variety of internship programs such as Pathways, which provides students opportunities for either paid or unpaid work experience.
Some of the internships include the Presidential Management Fellows, Summer Internship Program and the International Agricultural Internship Program.
The FAS also offer several scholarship opportunities such as the 1890 National Scholar’s Program, 1994 Tribal Scholar’s Program and the Public Service Leadership Scholarship Program.
Among other beneficial resources available included the help of the Career Center’s Clothes Closet, which offers students with professional clothing for an interview, conference or any professional event.
Students also had the opportunity to dress in their professional attire and have their picture taken and emailed to them at no cost.
“Our Ag Career Day is a group effort, and we rely a lot on student help to pull off an event of this size, Ostrowski said.
“Our student clubs in the College of Agriculture contribute lots of student volunteers to help staff check-in tables, pass out lunch and gifts to company reps, drive our shuttles and put up signs among many other helpful contributions.
Ag Career Day offered students several incentives such as providing swag bags with information on jobs and how to create a linked in account.
The event also provided door prizes for the 300 students who registered in advance for the event.
Prizes included phone chargers for the first 20 students, mugs for 20 to 25 students and others received note pads and pens.
If you were unable to attend this year’s event, make sure to keep a look out for next year’s Ag Career Day that is typically held around the same time in the last week of January.
Courtesy of Cal Poly Pomona
Students gathered at company tables to speak with representatives about their internship and job opportunities
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