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Posted by raherschbach on 6 Feb 2017

Career preparation is a major priority at Capitol. In addition to offering programs in high-demand fields such as engineering and cyber, the school strives to mentor students in career-building skills and helps connect them with employers through events such as our twice-yearly Career Conference.

More than 25 area employers, including the CIA, the National Security Agency and Orbital ATK, will be participating in the Spring 2017 conference, to be held on Friday, February 17 on the Capitol campus.

“We attract a unique set of employers due to our location,” said Sarah Alspaw, associate director of career services. “Capitol is just one exit north of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and in close proximity to Fort Meade. We’re conveniently near to the many federal contractors that work out of the Annapolis Junction-Columbia area.”

The Career Conference is more than a job fair, however. Unlike events at many colleges, where students often receive little help or advice before encountering a room full of employer booths, Capitol’s conference is part of an overall career mentoring program that includes interview practice, resume reviews, coaching by Career Services personnel, seminars on business etiquette, and other career preparation activities.

This semester, the conference will feature several workshops, on topics ranging from meeting preparation to recognizing body language in interviews.

In one workshop, Samantha Van Sant –  who is pursuing a theater vocation while also serving as Capitol’s associate director of admissions – will lead students in practicing improve techniques and applying these to interview situations.

“It’s designed to help the students with interviews, in terms of spontaneity and flexibility in what they’re saying and how they’re responding to what they’re seeing," explained Van Sant. who has trained with the Baltimore Improv Group and currently works with an independent troupe, Topiary, that performs around Maryland and Pennsylvania.

“It’s important to have the ability to carry on a conversation on the spot,” Van Sant said. “Students often walk into interviews with a certain paragraph or dialogue memorized in their head, ready to go – but interviews don’t always go like that.”

For employers, meanwhile, the Career Conference brings several benefits. They know they’ll be meeting students with backgrounds in specific technology, engineering, and business fields – including astronautical engineering, cybersecurity, and electrical engineering.

“We require all of our students to attend, and we require all our students to be dressed appropriately,” Alspaw said. “It’s good for employers because if you’re looking for qualified candidates, you’ll find them. You’re not going to show up and have two hours of no one to talk to. You’ll be meeting with students who are actively seeking internships and full-time opportunities.”

The Career Conference will take place from at the McGowan Center on the Capitol campus in Beltsville, MD. Doors open at 10 am for juniors and seniors, and at 11 am for freshmen and sophomores. Workshops will be held in the afternoon, from 2pm to 5pm. You do not have to be a Capitol student to attend; the event is open to interested members of the wider community. For more information, contact Career Services at careers@captechu.edu

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