Exploration Fair a Major Success

With 735 attendees, the Nov. 5 Major Exploration Fair was one of JJC’s most successful events for the

students this year. The fair allowed students to look into their future and begin to explore the degree

options JJC has, and what possible career paths are available.

Being the first year that this event has taken place, the outcome was more than JJC had ever hoped for.

According to the Career Services department, 90 percent of the attendees were JJC students while the

remaining attendees were high school students, students from other colleges, and those who are not

attending school right now.

JJC had tables for every program offered here, including criminal justice, agriculture and horticultural,

the library, English/world Language department, and career services. This variety of departments helped

students get a feel for what a program or area of study will be like, and gave them the facts and

knowledge needed to make a choice on what they would like to study.

Along with programs available at JJC, many advisors from four year schools were available for students

to talk to as well. This gave students a chance to talk with representatives about possible transfers and

what kind of programs they offer.

Aseret Gonzalez, a counselor from Eastern Illinois University, gave input about what she thinks having

transfer schools at the Major Exploration Fair does to benefit the students. “Ultimately I think it allows

the students to get a face and a name to the school. Get acclimated to what they need to do here at JJC

to make sure it transitions very smooth,” said Gonzalez.

“And I know this is also a good time that if they don’t quite know what they want to study, they can hear

it from the university stand point of what they could be doing now.”

The success of the fair stems largely from over a year of planning by a committee made up of JJC’s

Career Services, Counseling, Admissions, the Office of Student Activities, and Phi Theta Kappa.

Bridgett Larkin-Beene – the Director of Career Services – was a member of this planning committee as a

co-chair.

“We do a lot of job fairs in career services, so we needed students to have the same opportunity as they

would at a job fair,” states Larkin. “You need to be able to walk around and talk to people. Learn about

wage and salary information. Learn about what kind of jobs you can get with that degree and if you

need to transfer to a four-year school, or can I just work.”

This committee came up with the details and creative ideas to run this fair and keep it interesting. By

looking and communicating with other community colleges, the committee built upon smaller events

the college has staged to make the event unique onto itself.

This is evident in the very popular photo booth where students could dress up as their career. Another

major supporter of this event was the contribution of the Perkins Grant by Mr. Linden who is the Dean

of Career and Technical Education.

With the huge masses of people coming into the fair, there were volunteers from many different clubs

and organizations that helped steady the flow of people coming and going. These volunteers included

students from Emerging Leaders, Phi Theta Kappa, Career Services Student workings, and the Psych

club. All of these volunteers contributed immensely to the success of this event.

As a result of this fair, Career Services and counseling was overflowing with students to ask more

questions about what they should be doing about their potential career path. This was the main goal

that this fair was trying to accomplish. To help students figure out what they are passionate about, what

they could do with their lives, and then motivate them to take the first step towards it.

This is where career services helps our students further by helping them choose a major, helping them

get experience in their field, and finding them a job.

Bridget Larkin-Beene, the director for Career Services, said the Career Services office is strategically

places right next to the doors as you walk in the A-building, so that it is the first thing that students go

to in order to plan their degree, and the last thing they go to after they graduate to find work. On

average about 100 students come in per semester in order to have assistance finding internships.

This institution-wide initiative in making the fair happen was a major achievement and helped hundreds

of students decide on what they want to do as a career and understand where they would need to start.

Hopefully this great success with be the starting place for many more Major Exploration Fairs to come.

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Olivia Bergagna

A former copy editor of the Blazer, Bergagna served on the Blazer staff from Fall 2014 to Spring 2015. She moved on to Illinois State University in the Fall of 2015.