Armed with multiple résumés and big dreams, top notch students at The University of Texas-Pan American were hoping to land their dream job with one of more than 20 companies or organizations from across the country that participated in the College Students Career Fair held as part of Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology (HESTEC) Week.
Companies participating in the career fair included Boeing, Raytheon, Coca-Cola, the U.S. Department of Energy, NASA, Texas Instruments Inc., U.S. Coast Guard, Dell and many others.
Manning the Texas Instruments Inc. booth were two UTPA graduates - Lucio Nuñez-Salinas and Miguel Alanis - who now work for the company as engineers. Alanis, originally from Mission, earned his bachelor's in electrical engineering in 2000 from the University. Both told UTPA students about company opportunities and handed out caps and baseballs to thank students for visiting with them.
"We're trying to promote this area. I'm from South Texas and I love the area," Nunez-Salinas, a Roma High School and 2000 UTPA graduate said. "It's a shame that more companies don't see the large pool of bright kids here that want to do something for the industry."
Nunez-Salinas told students to stay current on the latest technology and gather training in it if possible to stay competitive.
The career fair made it possible for almost 600 college students to hear from company representatives, find out what career opportunities are available and apply for jobs.
"I'm just trying to get a feel for the companies and see what I really want to go into," Mario Zuvieta, a UTPA junior majoring in electrical engineering said.
With résumés in hand, classmates Carlos Segovia and Gerardo Dominguez, both UT Pan American seniors majoring in mechanical engineering, said they were hoping to gain exposure, interviews and possibly job offers from their visit.
Others who attended the career fair thought this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet with potential employers.
"I came to see what opportunities are out there," Maritza Avila, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering said. "The career fair has companies from all over Texas and even outside of Texas, so it's a good opportunity. This may be the only chance I get to expose myself and show the companies what I'm made of."
Mary Martinez, a UTPA senior majoring in mechanical engineering was also hoping to gain information about the companies present and acquire an internship during the summer. She advises students who may come to the career fair next year, to bring their résumés in several forms.
Lanissa Holden, recruiting relationship manager for Boeing, said the company uses an online process for hiring and assisted students with their application at computer kiosks provided by the company.
"We are hoping to get the word out about Boeing and our opportunities," Holden said. "We want them to understand what we are about."
Holden advises students, who may be thinking about a career at Boeing, to research the company and know its products and services. In addition, a solid résumé that demonstrates ones skills and abilities is vital, she said.
"Know what your interests are and be able to communicate your specific area of interest to us," Holden said.