Liberal arts and engineering don’t mix, right?
Not true for Isabel Nieman.
When Isabel attended a spring career fair at Oregon State University a few months before graduation, the political science major made a point not to limit herself when it came to networking. With a B.A. in Political Science, focusing on International Affairs, and a minor in Spanish, Nieman was confident she could bring value to a variety of organizations – it was just a matter of making the right connections.
“I treated the event as if I was interviewing the companies present, rather than have them interview me,” she said. “Also, conversing with all companies, no matter what they may have been looking for, was important, because you never know what opportunities might arise or what connections you can make.”
Nieman’s tenacity paid off. She walked away from the event with contacts at State Farm, Trex Co, and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) who were all interested in hiring her.
Aaron Riojas, the San Francisco-based U.S. Army Corps of Engineers talent specialist who attended Oregon State’s spring career fair, was initially looking for engineering students, not liberal arts majors. But when Isabel struck up a conversation with him about a shared experience (she’s from the Bay Area, and was familiar with the neighborhood where the USACE building is located), it led to further discussion about how her experience in international affairs might be useful to the Corps of Engineers.
“You never know what opportunities might arise or what connections you might make.”Isabel Nieman, ’22, Political Science
Now, Isabel works for the San Francisco District of the USACE, assisting their Public Affairs and Equal Employment Opportunity teams.
Her advice to other OSU students who aren’t sure whether they’ll find a relevant job or internship at a career fair: give it a shot!
“The people at the career fair were so nice, and the companies present were ready to hire and excited to get to know students,” she said.
Resources for making the most of a career fair
Tips for in-person career fairs
Networking overview, tools, and elevator pitches