Spring 2011

Career Night draws hundreds of students

By Kim Markesich

For the 350 students who attended this year’s Career Night on November 3, the event provided an opportunity to get information and network with more than 90 employers in a variety of fields.

“We strive to invite employers that represent all College majors and as many of the possible job opportunities available in our fields,” says event organizer Kathryn Upson, academic advisor in the Office of Academic Programs.

The evening event provides students with information about various fields of study and career options associated with those majors. In addition to students from the College and the Ratcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture, Upson invites students enrolled in the Academic Center for Exploratory Students (ACES.). Any student interested in agriculture, health, or the environment is welcome.

The majority of employers who attend are UConn alumni, although any employer from an agricultural, environmental, or health field is welcome. According to Pam Chudzik, coordinator of alumni relations, many of the alumni attend as an opportunity to help students and give back to the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “It’s a great way to keep our alumni connected to the College,” Upson agrees. “We ask participants to complete a survey at the end of the night, and they come back overwhelmingly positive.”

Peter Picone, alumnus and wildlife biologist with the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Wildlife Division, has attended every Career Night since the first in 2006. He says, “Career Night brings together professional UConn alumni and graduating students to discuss and share insights about the realities of natural resource job opportunities and challenges.”

Participating employers include service organizations such as AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps, educational organizations, horticultural businesses, veterinary clinics, various departments within USDA and DEP, UConn School of Medicine, and UConn physical therapy and nursing programs. View a complete list of employers at this year’s event.

The College’s alumni association (UCANRAA) sponsored a buffet dinner for all attending alumni and employers. Students from the Connecticut vocational agriculture centers were invited to come to the event. Twenty-two students from Killingly, Ledyard and Branford high schools attended. Before the event, Patricia Jepson, academic advisory center director in the Office of Academic Programs, and two College Ambassadors gave a short presentation for the high school students, highlighting the programs available within the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Ratcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture, and offered guidelines for college applications.

Some of the employers discussed internships and job openings. “One thing that stood out this year is that the students were very eager for internship opportunities,” says Upson. “There is a lot of movement on campus to promote internships. We would love to invite future employers looking for interns.”

“I’ve taken part in this career night two years in a row, and have had the opportunity to hire two fantastic students,” says Kevin Sylvia, recruiting manager at FarmTek. For more information visit Career Night. For information on UCANRAA, go to The UConn Alumni Association is on the Web at