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Photo by Samantha Kaiser

Charlotte Reilly

The University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Academic and Career Development Center (ACDC) helps students determine what field of study will help them achieve their career goals.

Staff, faculty and peer advisors meet with students who are unsure of what academic path they want to follow. Advising appointments can be made online, through email and with a phone call. Advising holds are placed on student accounts each semester to ensure students enroll in the right classes.

Samantha Kaiser, the assistant director of academic advising in ACDC, meets with undeclared students.

“What I like to remind students is: we are all a work in progress. I don’t have a crystal ball that will tell you what to do,” Kaiser said. “What we can do at ACDC is ask intentional questions. Often, students get their “aha” moments from us asking them questions they’ve never been asked before.”

It is common for students to be unsure of what to study and explore different majors, said Sarah Preston, a graduate student who works as an advisor.

“I changed my major unofficially six times,” Preston said. “If I could go back and tell myself as a student one thing it would be to take advantage of the resources. Advising, class and experience shape you and shape your career.”

Students need to be aware of the exploratory work they have to put in, Kaiser said. They need to come to advising appointments, look at the ACDC website, books and quizzes to learn about themselves.

“I would encourage students to at least try advising. The worst that can happen is you leave thinking ‘I don’t know,’” Kaiser said. “Really challenge yourself to take one good thing away from an appointment. We have a wealth of information. I am going to tell you new things that you’ve probably never heard before.”

The two main reasons students should take advantage of advising appointments are: to make sure they are on track for graduation and to connect with the university in a different way, Kaiser said.

“Advisors are trained to know different opportunities on campus,” Kaiser said. “We keep our ears open, and we like when we can give a student an opportunity to partner with an employer.”

Academic talk often branches into career talk, Kaiser explained. ACDC has connections to many
local and on-campus jobs, so talking to an ACDC advisor about academics could lead to a part-time job or internship.

UNO also has Career Connect, a job board with Omaha and regional jobs listed for students and alumni. On-campus employment is posted on the campus HR website.

“It’s a very fluid conversation,” Kaiser said. “That’s what makes our office so cool. Majors and careers work together.”

Advising appointments make people better students and better employees, Preston said. It allows staff to determine students’ strengths and goals, but it may take more than one advising session to decide what career path to follow.

“I like to remind students that we all don’t know what we want to be when we grow up, and that’s okay,” Kaiser said. “It may be frustrating sometimes, but it’s wonderful too because you’re always exploring. Every little step will get you further.”

Photo Courtesy of ACDC

Cassie Wade

On Thursday, University of Nebraska at Omaha students looking for an internship, part-time or full-time job had the opportunity to connect with employers at the Summer Opportunities Fair.

The Summer Opportunities Fair, which was hosted by the Academic and Career Development Center, was held from 1-3 p.m. in the Community Engagement Center. ACDC Assistant Director of Employer Relations and Internships Joe Hayes said 50 employers were in attendance and a variety of opportunities were available to students.

“What’s unique about this event is that there are – with the Summer Opportunities Fair – full-time jobs, part-time jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities available,” Hayes said. “It’s a little bit of everything.”

One of the companies at the event interested in speaking with students about a variety of positions was the YMCA. Available jobs range from lifeguarding to being a summer camp counselor to working the front desk, according to YMCA employee Monica Taylor.

Taylor, who works at the Maple St. YMCA, said UNO students were hired through the last career fair
at UNO. Her location has 20 positions available for the summer.

“We know students are close to our locations,” Taylor said. “They’re here locally and a lot of them don’t take classes in the summer, occasionally. We hire a lot of summer help. It’s easy to kind of fit those college kids into there.”

With long-term employment opportunities also available, the event catered to the needs of students who will graduate in May, such as Andrew Hickman.

Hickman, a graduate student earning a master’s in economics, attended the event with a game plan and a list of potential employers in mind.

“I’ve kind of earmarked most of the financial services companies that are here, so First National, Wells Fargo, Metro Credit Union … that’s what I’m hoping for,” Hickman said.

Hickman has attended UNO career fairs in the past and gotten an interview through the event, but wasn’t selected for the job. He still finds UNO career fairs to be helpful, however.

“Without this kind of thing, I would just feel like I was just shooting applications out into the dark and kind of wondering,” Hickman said. “At least this way I can look and talk to people and actually get a sense of things.”

Photo Courtesy of the University of Nebraska at Omaha

Gabriel Guardado

University of Nebraska at Omaha students looking to score a summer internship or job need look no further than the Academic and Career Development Center’s Spring Career Fair held in the Milo Bail Student Center from 11 am – 3 pm today.

With over 100 employers attending the fair, students will be able to connect with many area businesses. ACDC Assistant Director Joe Hayes said this is the most employers UNO has ever had at-tend the fair, which ensures students have access to a variety of companies.

“We have everything from the very large companies that employ thousands here in Omaha to smaller companies, and everything in between,” Hayes said.

The high number of businesses and employers in attendance can be overwhelming to students,which is why Hayes suggests making sure to prepare before the fair by doing research.

“Research is the name of the game,” Hayes said. “The more you do it, the better you’re able to differentiate yourself from others. Having that background research can help you speak with confidence about your background and how you can benefit the organization.”

The face-to-face interactions created between students and employers who attend the fair helps students to network in ways they’d be otherwise unable to if applying for an internship or job online. Hayes said having a face-to-face interaction with an employer can affect a student’s chances of being hired.

“Employers are telling us how important career fairs are,” Hayes said. “Going to a career [fair] and having that face-to-face interaction tells an employer that you’re going the extra mile, you’re putting yourself out there [and] you’re taking chances. That’s what employers want to see.”

UNO student Josh Saddler, who’s attended UNO’s career fair before, has first-hand experience with the advantages created by the face-to-face interactions available at the fair.

“I got into contact with a lot of different employers,” Saddler said. “It was a really good opportunity just to go out and talk with other employers even if they weren’t the right fit for me or if they were the right fit, it was just a good benefit.”

Saddler has several interview tips for students attending the career fair.

“Stay focused on what you want, and don’t get caught up in your head,” Saddler said. “Just take a deep breath, relax and know it’s not a life or death situation.

Don’t think about it too much, stay focused, easy and relaxed.”

A list of companies attending the fair, vendor information and tips to successfully prepare for the Spring Career Fair can be found on UNO’s website. Professional attire is strongly encouraged for the event.