A student receives their name tag at the 2017 Fall Career Fair
by Michelle Versfeld

“How can the University of Georgia be a resource to your company?” When building partnerships with corporate prospects, this is a question that we continuously ask. In late 2018, we heard more and more companies, such as Fiserv, Chick-fil-a, BlackRock, and Mailchimp, had an increased need for hiring talent from majors like computer science and data analytics, both at the undergraduate- and graduate-level. With the increased emphasis on data-driven decisions in companies and the expansive reach of technologies in our society, tech-related majors are experiencing tremendous growth and demand. Computer Science is among the fastest growing majors at UGA.

As our office started researching ways to engage with technical students on campus, we began reaching out to faculty and staff in Franklin College, the College of Engineering, and Terry College. We discovered each college taught a variety of unique skills to students, and many students had interests that overlapped, including career focus. With this information in mind, we reached out to our partners in the Career Center, schools and colleges that house tech-related majors, as well student service and experiential learning professionals across campus.

In October 2019, 10 companies attended the inaugural Computer and Data Science Industry Day, an event designed to further connect industry partners with students majoring in computer science, data science, computer systems engineering, management information systems, Master of Business Analytics, and other technical majors.

The event featured a networking portion open to all students. The Corporate Relations team relied heavily on the Career Center’s expertise in hosting career and internship fairs and networking sessions. Grace Williamson, the career consultant for tech-related majors, was an immense help in designing graphics and promoting to students. We also had the support of student service staff in the College of Engineering, Athletic Association, Terry College, and Franklin College.

The last hour of the event was a roundtable discussion with faculty members, moderated by Crystal Leach, Director of Industry Collaborations at UGA. Corporate prospects had voiced their desire to meet with faculty, provide valuable industry input, and create dialogue about curriculum.

We also had the opportunity to showcase the newly renovated College of Engineering space in Boyd Graduate Hall during the networking portion of the event, again working with facility partners across campus to create a dynamic atmosphere for our students and guests.

This event impacted hundreds of students and was such a success because of the collaborative efforts across campus. Each unit was able to leverage their strengths to bring something unique to the table to benefit UGA students and faculty, as well as further our relationships with companies engaging with UGA.

We hope to replicate this event in future years—increasing exposure to the departments in attendance, strengthening corporate relationships with these schools and colleges, and enhancing recruiting pipelines that will ultimately assist the university in securing more revenue and resources to these areas on campus.