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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Humanities students feel lack of opportunity at career fair

The+Career+Fair+was+held+on+Feb.+21+and+had+a+record+turnout+according+to+Gateway+Career+Center.
Photo by Austin Carey for The Lafayette
The Career Fair was held on Feb. 21 and had a record turnout according to Gateway Career Center.

For some humanities majors, the Gateway Career Center’s semesterly Career Fair on Wednesday did not cater to their employment needs. 

Gateway’s website claims that the fair connects “employer partners with talented Lafayette students from all majors.”

However, Maria Cangro ‘24 and Damaris Gomez ‘24, both English majors, have never attended a career fair. 

“I looked at the list and didn’t see anything that was appealing to me,” Cangro said, recalling the employers available the first time she considered attending the event. “I didn’t think it would be beneficial to try to network at a career fair when there were no things directly related to my field.”

Gomez echoed that statement.

“I have not attended because the list of alumni and connections available didn’t really align with what I was looking for,” Gomez said.

However, Mike Summers, vice president of the Gateway Career Center, said there was diversity in what the employers were looking for, even if employers appeared to be STEM-related companies at first glance. 

“There are employers, all in that mix, that we recruit to come here that are a diverse set of industries,” Summers said. “We are trying to be very diverse intentionally, to bring something we think just about every student would like.”

“There are different functional things you might do within those companies,” he continued. “For example, somebody might look at Lutron [Electronics Company] and say, ‘That’s engineering.’ It is, but they have sales, marketing, finance, HR and all sorts of other things that they recruit for.”

Sarah Aparicio ‘25, an anthropology & sociology major, works in career services and attended the career fair. She agreed that there were not enough options for humanities majors.

According to Aparicio, engineering-related fields have a “much more traditional requirement process” that brings them to in-person events such as career fairs, while humanities and arts-focused employers prefer to receive work in other ways.

Cangro mentioned that she would rather see the employer presence of companies that are specifically working in the humanities field.

“I got an email the other day saying, ‘You might be interested in these things that are at the career fair,'” Cangro said. “But, they weren’t directly related to being an English major. They were more just like, ‘If you know how to write, you can work in communications at this company,’ but not humanities-centered companies.”

The lack of employers at career fairs can affect humanities majors’ outlook on post-graduation plans, according to Gomez. She explained that there is an unspoken push to go to graduate school as a humanities major because of the stigma of a lack of humanities careers — a stigma perpetuated by the lack of dedicated humanities employers at the Career Fair, in Gomez’s opinion. 

“It’s kind of, I would say, nerve-racking for students who don’t want to build more student debt, but then also don’t know where to go right off the bat,” she said.

According to Summers, Wednesday’s career fair was estimated to be “one of the largest spring career fairs we’ve had employer-wise, and students registered-wise.” He emphasized that Gateway will look to find opportunities for any students walking through their doors. 

On Feb. 12, Gateway hosted an Arts & Humanities alumni career panel. Gateway will similarly host a Film & Media Studies alumni panel on Mar. 25.

“Gateway is here to support every student at the college and the way that we can best support you is if you come and you meet with us, and you get to know what we have to offer so that you can see the amount of resources that we have,” Summers said.

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Austin Carey, Staff Photographer

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  • C

    Class of 2020sFeb 23, 2024 at 12:18 pm

    I never thought I would be commenting on an article, but I just had to point out that this says exactly what I thought as an alum. Literally went up to employers at the career fair who politely told me to leave once I said I was a humanities major. I ended up in a rewarding and decently compensated career – in fact, my first employer ended up being one I talked to at the career fair, although the connection I made there wasn’t helpful – but the career fair NEEDS more companies who pledge to Gateway to consider humanities majors and needs more representation from government, nonprofits, education, etc – career fairs were of basically no use to me as a student. Credit to the great staff at Gateway who helped me navigate my career, though – they are a great bunch 🙂

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  • P

    Pat SFeb 23, 2024 at 10:51 am

    Great article! Thank you

    Reply