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The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

Cal Times

The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

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PennWest Career Center Offers Job Fair for Student Athletes

Hamer Hall Flooded with Various Local Industries Ready to Recruit
Andrew Havens
One of the tables at the Job Fair

Rhonda Gifford says her job relies on one thing: the needs of local employers.

When potential employers indicate their interests, Gifford’s job is to match them with the appropriate students. This time around, student athletes entered the conversation, due to their “teamwork, initiative, goal setting, leadership, and good communication skills”. The event was promptly scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 27.

Gifford is the Executive Director of Experiential Learning and Employer Engagement across all of PennWest. 22 years into the game, Gifford has spent the majority of her time near the Career Center, which aims to “empower students through exploration, preparation, and application of skills and experiences to meet their definition of career and life success.”

To Gifford, that means creating more events tailored to specific types of students. Student athletes face a particular challenge, she says, due to their demanding sports.

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“Because of their schedules related to their sports, they [student athletes] may not be able to attend other events that we have.”

The event was held in the lobby of Hamer Hall, with a number of tables set up and manned by many different local employers. Highmark Health, Enterprise Mobility, Adelphoi, the PA State Police, the Commonwealth of PA, and the Washington Wild Things all sat at the ready to dish out flyers, business cards, and free candy.

Kyle Dawson and Travis Pettit, Vice President of Baseball Operations and Chief Financial Officer respectively, said that the Wild Things recruit almost exclusively locally, and they get a handful of PennWest graduates each year. According to them, nearly all are either Sports Management or Communications majors.

They also mentioned that the Wild Things are more than just a place to work. When asked if working for the Wild Things was a stepping stone, both Dawson and Pettit intensely agreed.

“We have a lot of people that move on to the Riverhounds, the Steelers, the Pirates,” said Pettit.

Students could be seen milling in and around the small-scale event, occasionally going up to a booth and introducing themselves to the employers. Afterwards, most students stopped by the free snack booth at the head of the room.

PennWest Career Center’s Job Fair for Student Athletes (Andrew Havens)

Along the way, some students stopped at the Highmark Health table.

Brooke Zelt is the Campus Recruiter at Highmark. She says that she often finds herself talking about the company’s athletics-based roles.

“Being the healthcare company we are, I talk a lot about our physical therapy, our occupational therapy, our athletic training roles, which I don’t think the other companies here have. That’s what we bring to the table.”

Gifford reiterated the importance of events like these.

“This event offers those student athletes the opportunity to really connect with employers,” she said, “to talk with them face to face, to learn about internships and job opportunities.”

The event ran from 11-1 and saw a decent flow of students throughout, all grabbing pamphlets, business cards, free pens, and brochures.

Student Athletes attending the PennWest Career Center’s Job Fair (Andrew Havens)

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About the Contributor
Andrew Havens
Andrew Havens, News/Reviews Editor
Andrew Havens is a staff writer for the CalTimes and a Junior Communications Studies major with a minor in Marketing. Being from right across the river in Brownsville, PA, Andrew knows and loves the local community, trying his hardest to show off the amazing people in his hometown as well as his university. Andrew is just starting to pick up real-world writing and marketing experience, interning for both and Heartland Fabrication over the summer, as a staff writer and marketing intern respectively. The research gathering process is his favorite part of the job, because: "if you've researched correctly, the story just falls together!" You can find Andrew all over campus: attending meetings with the Graphic Design Club, writing away furiously on his laptop, working up a sweat at the gym, or simply getting his favorite sushi from Umami. He is entering his second year writing for the CalTimes.

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