VMI Holds Engineering-Centered Networking and Internship Fair
LEXINGTON, Va. Feb. 14, 2023 — Cadets filtered in and out of Preston Library throughout the morning of Feb. 14 for the Spring 2023 Engineering Networking & Internship Fair at Virginia Military Institute.
Although VMI holds a career fair every fall and spring with about 50 employers from industries that serve all majors with around 300 cadet participants, this is the first time the Institute has attempted an industry-specific fair.
“It is our first attempt in recent times, but we are doing so in partnership with our engineering faculty,” said Lt. Col. Ammad Sheikh, director of VMI Career Services. “There is a lot of enthusiasm around this fair and I will evaluate the event and assess the possibilities moving forward.”
Twenty-seven engineering firms registered for the event, spanning from companies like Norfolk Naval Shipyard to Allan Myers out of Pennsylvania. Firms from Florida, Maryland, Connecticut, Missouri and Ohio also came out to the event.
“This spring we are trying to explore whether we should separate engineering fairs from liberal arts. This fair in the library will inform future direction,” he said.
According to Sheikh, 100 cadets were expected to attend throughout the day, and he believes there are a lot of good talent options — for both employers and cadets.
“We have exceptional cadets and they are high in demand. Employers want VMI talent and make a case why these young men and women should choose their organizations to start their careers,” Sheikh said. “Our career fairs resemble a bit of an alumni reunion. We encourage companies to send us VMI alumni for recruitment. Our faculty often find their former students at the event. For our cadets, these events allow us to highlight the value of internships, develop interpersonal communication skills, make connections and imagine all possibilities.”
Cadet Antonio Ahanj ‘24 was the career ambassador for the event. He was in charge of helping other cadets get registered and show them around.
“There are opportunities across the board,” he said.
His task was to get cadets exposed to the different firms in attendance. Ahanj said the attendance was slow at first, with many of the engineering students still in early morning classes. He said with fairs like this, it allows those cadets who are choosing not to commission to look at different options for once they leave VMI.
“With this school, the opportunities for cadets not to commission, it puts them in an incredible position,” Ahanj said. “They have the opportunity to see what they are capable of doing.”
Laura Peters Shapiro
Communications & Marketing
VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE