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Staff Editorial: The Career Fair is for all, not just STEM majors
This upcoming Thursday, Sept. 19, Washington University will be presenting its fall Career Fair. This fair offers the opportunity to many students to seek out potential jobs or internships, and many look forward to taking advantage of the possibilities that the fair presents. However, the Career Fair is not such a pleasant occasion for humanities majors, as they find themselves surrounded by employers that do not represent their own interests.
According to a 2017 fall report, Wash. U. had 4,435 students enrolled under the College of Arts & Sciences, making it the university’s largest undergraduate department. This number, coupled with the numerous humanities majors offered by the University, makes is all the more unnerving that humanities students are underrepresented at the Career Fair.
The Career Fair has in the past–and continues present day–to be dominated by employers that represent STEM majors, leaving humanities majors with few specified options to choose from. Without the help of the Career Fair, the largest listing of potential employers humanities majors are currently able to access requires them to dig through the Career Center website and independently pick through the data of where past graduates have been employed to see what type of job opportunities are available, as opposed to the ease of attending a productive Career Fair.
The University makes apparent the value it places on STEM programs over humanities, as demonstrated by the focus around the East-End expansion while humanities majors often find their classes in outdated and cramped classrooms in the basements of buildings. This suggests an unfair advantage of resources provided to STEM students and a general lack of support for those who study humanities.
The Editorial Board would like to recognize, however, the work of the Career Center. They do exceptionally well with outreach, counseling and walk-in programs, but perhaps they should look at expanding on existing options and creating more in order to encompass all students on campus. Currently, some academic departments on campus send out major-wide emails to keep students within their respective majors informed on academic and work opportunities, but this is not true for all majors. The Editorial Board proposes that each department reach out to employers in order to make this process a collaborative effort between students, the University and employers. All students should have available resources, regardless of how small their department may be.
The problem of a lack of resources extends beyond solely humanities majors. It is important to note that students who attend Wash. U. have a variety of different backgrounds and familial education experiences. This in mind, the University must be aware that accessing educational and professional help and resources outside of school is not a feasible option for all students. Creating the necessary resources and making said resources easily accessible to all students is imperative to their post-college success, especially for low socioeconomic students as they attempt to achieve upward mobility.
The Career Fair has generally fallen short of the expectations of those studying anything outside of STEM, and resources for humanities majors are sparse. It is time the University takes these students into account and works towards meeting the needs of all as opposed to just a few.