‘Power in Diversity’ Leadership Conference Held at St. Cloud State University: Job/Internship/Graduate School Fair Held as Part of Annual Conference

Kim Watkins, Editor-In-Chief

As the graduation date inches closer and closer, excitement looms ahead for those eager to finally receive their degrees after four years of hard work. Though there is plenty of excitement to be had as seniors check off their to-do lists for school, anxiety about the impending future is sure to be had as many of these students are on the search for one thing – a job.

Searching through the web, talking with professors, advisors, family or friends about different options for employment, and building up resumes and cover letters are only the start to college students taking the next step in their lives. One way students can better their chances of being chosen for a job is to attend career fairs.

One such event includes the Diversity Job and Internship Fair, held as part of the Power in Diversity Leadership Conference at St. Cloud State University, celebrating its fifth year Jan. 23-26. SCSU held the fair Friday, Jan. 24 from 1-4 p.m. at the Atwood Memorial Center.

The theme for the conference, “Today’s Vision: Tomorrow’s Reality,” emphasizes the importance of looking towards the future based on the ideas made in the world today.

Used as an opportunity “for personal growth and leadership development to college students of color and underrepresented students through a variety of workshops, keynote addresses and programs,” the conference will help attendees enhance their own skills and “successfully navigate through college and into the workforce” according to Multicultural Student Services at SCSU.

Attending the conference and participating in the fair, students from the UGLYS (United Global Leaders Yearning for Success), Hmong Student Organization, the AOS (Access, Opportunity, and Success) program and more will have the opportunity to meet with employers who are on the lookout for new members to build up a diverse workforce.

“There are 22 students attending the fair…from freshman to seniors. Four ambassadors [will also be going]…they have been selected help at the conference…announce speakers and help with different sessions,” Jay Lee, director of Office of Diversity and Inclusion, said.

Graduating students looking towards furthering their education versus finding a job were also in luck as a Graduate School Fair was held alongside the Job and Internship Fair.

Though the fair has plenty of opportunities for attendees, an array of activities held throughout the conference will give them the chance to listen and learn from other students and mentors.

These events include several keynote speakers who will share their own stories of success, breakout sessions for students and mentors to meet and converse as well as several performances and a variety show.

“There are 55 different workshops. Friday’s events are geared towards self-development and education…utilizing individual help and Saturday’s events are more about culture, leadership skills and self-awareness. Whether you are a freshman or a graduate student, there’s something for you,” Harry Jackson, assistant director of Multicultural Student Services at SCSU, said.

This conference began as a way for Minn. students and faculty to be part of an event that is similar to the Big 12 conference, particularly in concentrating on various issues. SMSU has played an active role in the planning committee since the conference’s inception and was one of its first SCSU’s first partners according to Lee.

When asked what students really got out of the Power in Diversity conference, Jackson simply said, “Hope.”

Jackson shares that this is a chance for students to “develop leadership skills, develop an understanding of culture and diversity and finding success in and out of the classroom.”

Jackson also shares that staff and faculty have the opportunity to “connect, network and develop as one” while employers can “reach out to a lot of students, open up and get them in the work world.”