The Exploring Majors Fair provided an informative and friendly atmosphere last week for students looking to investigate possible majors and careers. The initial quiet of the outdoor quad belied the dull roar of the indoor one, which was busy Wednesday, Oct. 26 with faculty, staff and students hurrying between tables and talking excitedly.
Third-year student Jonathan Mendez was especially exuberant.
“I want to see what else is here,” said Mendez, who was looking for a minor to supplement his art major.
Much like Mendez, many students went from table to table conversing with the program representatives about their future plans.
Seventeen of the 33 Los Medanos College majors had tables decorated with posters, props and flyers, and many were designed to grab attention. The English Department’s table staffed by professor Jill Buettner-Ouellette, had a typewriter for students to collaboratively write a story.
Buettner-Ouellette emphasized how studying English can build empathy, adding it “puts you in touch with your own humanity.”
Justin Kirk and Rob Grantham, two Appliance Service Technology students came out to help promote their program.
“With this you can transfer anywhere,” Grantham said. “We want to create opportunities for students and help them get jobs while they’re in school and after,” Kirk added.
Also available to help students was Janice Townsend, a professor representing the child development major.
“Every day you change lives,” said Townsend, explaining how vital child development and early childcare is.
Townsend was also excited for a new spring course, “Teaching in a Diverse Society,” that deals with race and sexuality and emphasizes acceptance among educators and those who work with children.
Director of Transfer and Career Services Kristen Connor organized the event with the purpose of helping students see where the classes they are enrolled in can take them.
“My goal for the majors fair was to expose students to the variety of majors and career options at LMC,” said Conner, reiterating the importance for students to be more knowledgeable and confident about the choices they make regarding their educational experience.
There are a lot of students who have not declared majors and who have doubts about what kind of careers they can pursue within their program, she said, often leading them to take longer completing their general education requirements.
“I am undecided right now,” said third-semester student Maika Jimenez. “I’ve seen a lot of info and maybe this will help me make a decision on a major.”
A second-year student struggling to understand requirements found the event helpful in solving her problem.
“I knew that I wanted to take child development, but was unsure how to proceed with it. This is my third time changing my major within a year, I was worried that I would not be able to graduate on time,” Evette Gillard. “But I just spoke with a lady in the department of child development and she has already helped me map out what classes I need to take next semester.”
Tyerisha Collins, who is majoring in Fine Arts, witnessed the event’s success first-hand.
“I am only working as a student volunteer but numerous students have wandered to my table with nervous and confused looks on their faces. By the time they finish talking to us, they seem generally interested in what we have to offer, It doesn’t have to be this major specifically, but at least they have sparked interest somewhere,” she said.
The fair also worked as a platform for students to become more aware of the various resources available to them.
Javier Leyla, who works in the Financial Aid Office, said he was eager to inform students about the money available to help them.
“I feel that students are a lot more receptive in this specific environment, compared to when they are trying to meet deadlines for financial aid,” he said.
The Library highlighted other ways to get info on campus about career choices.
“We have books and resources for students trying to choose a career,” said librarian Leila Swisher. At her table were books like “Book of Majors” and “100 Fastest-Growing Careers.”
“There are also research guides on the LMC website that focus on job searching,” she added.
Student activities and clubs were also well represented at the fair. Several sold refreshments and confections to support themselves, and club reps hustled back and forth hawking their wares.
The R.E.A.D. club, represented by RC Kubota, was fundraising by selling books at two for a dollar.
Kubota’s rallying cry was “make textbooks more affordable.” Her club’s crusade is for affordable textbooks and making them more available to underprivileged students.
The Nurses Club sold bakery goods for a dollar to raise money for their pinning ceremony at the end of their program. First-year LMC vocational student Sheila Polynice said she appreciated the opportunity to participate in the fair.
“Since the school doesn’t fund our pinning ceremony at the end of our program we are trying to raise as much money as possible to make it happen,” she said.
Before leaving the event, students could stop by Connor’s table for a free flash drive in exchange for completing a survey, giving feedback on the fair. The flash drive provided degree checklists, career assessments, and resume handouts.
Emmanuel Pantoja, who works in Transfer and Career Services, said he believes the Exploring Majors Fair was helpful for students because it provided them with the necessary information for a solid foundation of what to do as a student.
“Students will finish LMC fast, find a career and centralize energy into a successful future,” he said.
— Zachary Said, Ariel Stevenson and Cameron Toth contributed to this report