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National Capital Region alumni chapter sponsors most successful job fair in 20 years to raise money for scholarships


Job seekers talk to prospective employers during job fair Job seekers discuss opportunities with prospective employers at 20th annual job fair sponsored by the alumni chapter in the National Capital Region.

NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION, April 20, 2011 – The National Capital Region Chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association sponsored  its 20th annual job fair recently to raise money for scholarships. 

Chapter president Marvin Boyd reported that this year's fair reaped more than $51,000, making it the most successful one to date.

Some 1,600 applicants registered for the job fair held at the Northern Virginia Center and submitted their resumes online prior to meeting with representatives from a wide range of 85 companies recruiting for all levels and disciplines. These include government agencies and contractors, technology, security, public utilities, financial services, landscaping services, education, and retail.

The job fair is free to prospective job applicants. Funds are raised by charging employers a fee to participate and go to scholarships for high school seniors in the region who have been accepted at Virginia Tech and to graduate students enrolled in the National Capital Region.

Boyd, who also serves on the Virginia Tech Alumni National Board; Kristy Cartier; Greg Merritt, a member of the Virginia Tech Alumni National Board; and Kambiz Rahnavardy, treasurer of the National Capital Region alumni chapter, were responsible for organizing the event. Boyd earned a bachelor’s degree in management science and information technology in 2000 and a bachelor’s degree in business management in 2001; Cartier earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics in 1992; Merrit earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing management in 1993; and Rahnavardy earned a master's degree in electrical engineering in 1996. 

The job fair was staffed by 25 volunteers, and supported by Northern Virginia Center staff, including Jack Hutcheson, director of National Capital Region Alumni Programs; Barbara Barrell, facilities manager; Jason Huffman, facilities coordinator; Justin Davenport, director of National Capital Region information services; security personnel; and representatives of Virginia Tech Career Services from Blacksburg. Virginia Tech Career Services hosted "How to Make the Most of a Career Fair" for job applicants prior to the opening of the fair. 

The National Capital Region alumni chapter sponsors the job fair annually in the spirit of Virginia Tech’s motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Rahnavardy said. “Having so many volunteers dedicated to this event “is a testament to the unique quality of being, well, a Hokie,” he said

Rahnavardy said that the event garnered positive feedback from job seekers, many of whom reported that they were pleased to have the opportunity to meet with even more prospective employers than they had originally scheduled, and from participating business recruiters who pointed out how impressed they were with the caliber and professionalism of the job applicants interviewing with them. 

One job fair volunteer, Cheryl Hanback, who earned a bachelor’s degree in education in 1979, said, “It was very exciting knowing that our efforts could change the lives of those seeking employment. One gentleman that I talked to had been out of work for a year and the employer wanted him to fill out an application on the spot. Needless to say, he was very encouraged.” Hanback said that based on her experience this year she planned to volunteer for future job fairs.

“I would like to thank all of the dedicated volunteers who came to help us run this year’s job fair. I would especially like to thank Kambiz, Greg, and Kristy for serving on the leadership team to ensure this year’s event was the most successful ever – raising over $51,000,” said Boyd.

In June, the chapter will announce the scholarship awards funded through the job fair.

Virginia Tech has fostered a growing partnership with the greater metropolitan Washington, D.C., community since 1969. Today, the university’s presence in the National Capital Region includes graduate programs and research centers in Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Falls Church, Leesburg, Manassas, and Middleburg. In addition to supporting the university’s teaching and research mission, Virginia Tech’s National Capital Region has established collaborations with local and federal agencies, businesses, and other institutions of higher education. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.