Tarleton job fair attracts wide range of students

Mark Wilson mwilson@empiretribune.com
Students took advantage of the Tarleton State University Fall Job Fair, held Wednesday on campus at Thompson Student Center.

The Tarleton State University Fall Job Fair attracted students ranging from a freshman trying to get a head start in the workforce to one senior student from overseas hoping to find a sponsor to stay in the United States on a work visa.

Dajung Jun, a 22-year-old senior from South Korea majoring in International Business, is scheduled to graduate from TSU in December with a bachelor’s degree.

Jun is in the federal government’s OPT (Optional Practical Training) program for foreign students. OPT requires that she find a work sponsor in order for her to remain in the country legally.

“As an international student, my opportunities are really limited,” said Jun, who was a foreign exchange student for one year at Glen Rose High School, then graduated from Happy Hill Farm, also in Somervell County. “If you find a company sponsor, you get a working visa and you can work five years legally. Not so many companies work with visas. I only found four or five.”

Sierra Long, an 18-year-old freshman from Caldwell, is majoring in animal science and wants to follow in her father’s career footsteps as a reproductive physiologist. Her father is a professor at Texas A&M University.

For now, Long is looking for a short-term job as she pays her own way through school.

“I want to get myself out there while I can,” Long said. “If I can get a job and build relationships, hopefully that will help me later on in life and people will see that I’m a hard worker.”

Long spoke with representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, among several others at the fair.

“They have a lot of career opportunities that I feel could benefit me,” Long said about the USDA.

Long said she is optimistic about finding work in her specialized occupation field.

“I’ll be working with genetically modified animals, and enhanced DNA,” she said, explaining that the work is intended to yield more muscle gain and require less feeding of animals.

“I’ll also work with disease control and make disease-resistant animals,” she added.

Dietra Stroebel, a recruiter with the Stephenville office of Personnel Services, said she works with various clients to fill positions where they have needs.

“We do a lot of warehouse (jobs) and welding and clerical,” Stroebel said.

The TSU students who come to the job fairs will usually tell her they are looking for a position in their career field, she said.

“We have an accounting position open, and a maintenance position and an engineering position that would require more specific training,” Stroebel said. “We take your resume and keep you on file.”

Stroebel said that the students she meets tend to have optimistic attitudes about finding employment.

“Usually they are very positive in the job fair because there are so many options,” she said.

There was a recruiting table for the Marines, as well as police representatives from both the Grand Prairie and Dallas police departments.

Jimmy Aldridge, who has been a recruiter for the Dallas Police Department for almost seven years, said that most of the potential recruits who stop at their table already have the necessary desire to become a public servant.

“We’re getting people who walk in that want to be police officers,” Aldridge said. “They want a job and they want to make a difference. Some people figure out that it’s not for them.”

Aldridge said he and other DPD recruiters not only visit colleges and career fairs, but also military bases.

TSU holds its job fair twice a year, in the Thompson Student Center.