The Office of Diversity and Inclusion held its annual Diversity Career Fair at Ohio Stadium for students Tuesday as a networking opportunity to further their careers.
Abby Kincaid, career service specialist in the ODI Career Readiness Initiatives and Special Programming unit, said the fair was the first of a two-part event geared toward allowing students to market their skills to companies looking to increase diversity.
“We really were letting companies know, ‘If you are looking to recruit diverse talent if you’re hoping to diversify your workplace, if you are a champion of diversity, equity and inclusion, we want you here,’” Kincaid said.
Kincaid said the Diversity Career Fair is unique to other career fairs because it is not for a specific major or profession and offers opportunities, ranging from internships to full-time jobs for all students.
“This gives you a wide range of companies where you might be a biology major, and you can go up to Toyota, or BriskHeat or UltaCare and see, ‘How would a biology major fit into your company?’ Get you exposure to companies you might not have otherwise have access to,” Kincaid said.
Students were encouraged to hand in resumes and take free professional headshots. They also got to interact with companies — including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Whirlpool Corporation, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, ALDI and Toyota. With about 600 students registered for the event, Kincaid said the fair was one of the largest since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the fair, Kincaid said 10 companies personally selected students for formal interviews Wednesday in the Ohio Stadium suites.
Malicki Diallo, a second-year in biomedical engineering, said he has attended previous career fairs pointed toward his specific major but prefers having a range of options like what the ODI fair had.
“It was less of a mock interview and more of a getting to know them, getting to know you,” Diallo said. “By far my favorite career fair so far.”
Jordan Sibley, an associate of the Advancing Black Pathways team at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and a 2020 graduate from the Fisher College of Business, said she was happy to interact with students from different majors, as it aligned with the company’s goals to recruit diversity in both culture and profession.
Sibley said the fair provides a single space to welcome diverse populations where they can interact with companies and find comfort in seeing students like themselves with the same goal.
“I feel like a lot of students are just nervous,” Sibley said. “That in-person interaction builds relationships. You’re building your path with that company, you’re making those connections.”
Kincaid said the fair helps bridge the gap between students from underrepresented backgrounds and employers.
“This kind of takes that pressure off, because they look around and see a bunch of students here who do look like them, so it helps build their confidence to see there is a critical mass of students here at Ohio State who are diverse students, who are looking for jobs,” Kincaid said.
Luke Ajowi, a fourth-year in biology, said he was specifically looking for a job in the time between graduation and pursuing medical school. Ajowi said he felt confident about both of the connections he made and by seeing students like himself putting themselves out into the career field.
“I feel really good,” Ajowi said. “When you see all these people of color, it’s like people are doing good for themselves, we’re making a lot of change, putting ourselves in the job industry.”