CAED career fair helps students connect, grow


Kent State students at the university’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) Spring Career Fair had the chance to meet over 50 different national architecture and design firms on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. 

Alicia Krynock

Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) held its annual spring career fair on Friday from 1-4 p.m. in the ballroom.

“Some of our best hires have come from here,” said John Rach, director of marketing for CBLH Design, one of the companies in attendance.

CBLH Design has attend the career fair for nearly a decade. Kent State students stand out, Rach said, as they’re more “polished and prepared.”

From the student’s attention to detail on renderings, to portfolios and resume design, “Kent (State) really helps to prepare their students to make a very good impression on employers,” Rach said.

Rach said he identifies serious candidates based on who talks to him — not only during the career fair, but after.

“I always encourage people to follow up with me, send me projects,” he said. “And then if they do, I know they’re really serious.”

Marti Ring, senior director of institutional advancement at Kent State, has organized the fair for 7 years. The companies attending have a wide array of specializations and branches, including healthcare, commercial, homeland security and private residence, she said.

“We’re broadening our reach from just local firms, to firms that are all over the country,” Ring said.

She said at least 90 percent of the companies that attended the job fair were returning from previous years, and there is more demand for Kent State students and their skills.

“What separates their education is that it’s beyond theory,” Ring said. “They’re also taught structure and how buildings go together. And when I talk to firms, that’s what they talk about — the work ethic and the knowledge that’s vast, in both design and building systems.”

Ware Malcomb corporate recruiter Beth Bakulich has recruited at Kent State since 2004. The company’s CEO, Lawrence Armstrong, is a Kent State alumus and international architect who remains very involved in the local community.

“We keep coming back because we know Kent produces technically strong students with strong work ethics,” Bakulich said. “I barely have to talk to students. They already know what they’re about.”

Every year, Ware Malcomb hires 50 interns. This year, 12-14 Kent alumni are employed at their 22 offices, ranging from New York to Los Angeles.

Chicago and New Jersey are the firm’s closest offices, but Bakulich said she makes sure to visit Kent State due to the caliber of students she can expect to meet.

“Kent (State)’s program — it’s rigorous,” Bakulich said. “It’s not an easy program, so anyone graduating is strong.”

For the first time, the university charged firms to attend the career fair. The cost to attend was $200, but “to make a $200 investment — it’s not only the relationship you’re creating today, but the future relationship,” Bakulich said.

“We pay upwards of $700 for similar events where the schools aren’t necessarily the same caliber,” she said. “It’s really incredible this was a free event for so long.”

This year, CAED held a career fair prep workshop, which discussed how to put together a professional resume and portfolio, how to dress professionally and how to approach firms.

Senior architecture major Jack Kritzman said he appreciated the workshop.

“They had a portion of it where you could show them your portfolio and get a critique,” he said. “I actually got a really solid critique, and it was really helpful.”

This as an excellent opportunity, Ring said, for students to get exposure to the variety of careers available to them and start networking.

“There’s a lot of opportunity for architecture and design that most people don’t really think of,” she said. “But that’s the beauty of a design education — it can be applied to so many different fields.”

Alicia Krynock is the architecture and environmental design reporter, contact her at [email protected].