Innovative career fair connects student spouses/partners with HR reps

Monday, May 22, 2017

By Sally Kral

When Christian’s wife, Mariely, entered a PhD program in food science and technology, Christian decided to keep his job as a technology consultant; however, the travel requirements proved daunting, leading Christian to the inaugural Student Partner Career Fair at the Big Red Barn.

The event attracted 35 participants interested in working at Cornell while their spouses or partners get degrees. After completing a questionnaire to match interests and backgrounds with appropriate units on campus and in the local community, the participants arrived at the Big Red Barn eager to meet human resources representatives from Cornell.

For Christian, who holds a BS in industrial engineering, the career fair helped him, “get in touch with key people in the human resources department as well as in the different schools within the university. They showed me various open positions that suited my background and experience."

Organized through a partnership with the Students with Families Advisory Committee, Cornell Office of Human Resources, Tompkins Workforce, and the Graduate School Office of Student Life, the Career Fair was designed to facilitate connections between Cornell’s student partner and spouse community and Cornell human resources representatives.

“The Career Fair is a demonstration of our holistic commitment to graduate and professional students. We recognize that it can be stressful to follow your spouses to a small community like Ithaca. We hope to provide opportunities for spouses and partners to learn about work at Cornell and to make connections with hiring managers,” said Committee Chair and Assistant Dean of Graduate Student Life Janna Lamey.

In addition, the committee hosts job information sessions multiple times a year in partnership with Tompkins County Workforce as well as a student partner career listserv that sends biweekly job postings.

Human resources representatives were impressed by the talent, dedication, and experience of the Career Fair participants and plan to return next year. Dana Burton from Cornell Human Resources said, “It was a pleasure meeting the spouses/partners. We think they are a great source of talent that may have been unknown to a lot of our HR colleges. There were a large variety of individuals at varying levels in their career (entry level and above). Some had very specific goals and a large number were looking to start their careers and gain entry-level administrative experiences.”

Diane Bradac, director of Tompkins Workforce, looks forward to more events and “was impressed with the spirit and camaraderie of Cornell's student partners. Everyone I've met has been so willing to be involved, anxious to get settled into meaningful work, and supportive of one another and eager to make a difference here.”

To learn more about the Students with Families Advisory Committee and the resources they provide, visit the Students with Families website.


Sally Kral is a communications and outreach assistant in the Graduate School