Diversity Works Expo rewards students for career experience
The Santa Clara
January 17, 2019
In exchange for an inspiring elevator pitch about their career experience, students will get the chance to win $200.
This opportunity to help students learn how to leverage their own diverse perspectives when job searching comes from the Career Center in the form of the second annual Diversity Works Awards and Expo.
The Diversity Works exposition will occur on Feb. 20 and will consist of a panel of industry experts and a career fair where students will be able to network with employers and organizations that have demonstrated a focus on diversity and inclusion.
The award is given to a minimum of four students for the best elevator pitches about how their identity has shaped their career path and development. The deadline to enter is Feb. 1.
Award winners will have the opportunity to moderate the panel and all participants will be granted early access to the event, allowing them additional direct access to employers.
The Diversity Works Awards and Expo began last year as a way to show students how their unique experiences can be an asset to them in their developing careers.
Last year, five contestants won the award, including junior Pavithra Nagarajan, who spoke about Bharatanatyam dance.
Marieli Rubio is a sophomore civil engineer and was also a recipient of one of last year’s Diversity Works Awards.
Rubio believes events such as these are important because they encourage students from different backgrounds to appreciate their identities.
“At a campus like Santa Clara it’s important to acknowledge all cultures and identities to create a welcoming and safe environment for everyone,” Rubio said. “It was inspiring to see people of color share their passions and struggles and I was empowered to share my story and my goals and aspirations.”
The event provides students with the opportunity to talk to employers about diversity, both within the employers’ companies as well as what the students can offer given their own diverse perspectives.
Kristina Kwan, a career development specialist at the Career Center, created the expo with the goal of helping students realize their viewpoints can be valuable assets to employers.
“The background students have really shows the diverse perspectives they can bring to a company,” Kwan said. “Here students are realizing they do have unique identities and that they can contribute something that employers are really looking for.”
Another aspect of the Diversity Works Award that Kwan and others at the Career Center hope will attract students is the contest’s low commitment entry requirements.
Students are only required to submit a three to five sentence elevator pitch or a 30 to 45-second video of themselves delivering the pitch.
The Diversity Works Expo will host around 40 employers in Locatelli Student Activity Center.
All the employers present have a proven track record when it comes to diversity, which they’ve shown through their employee recruitment.
Kwan notes that events like career fairs can cause a great amount of stress for students, especially those from underrepresented groups.
The hope is that the Diversity Works Expo will create a safe space where students can talk to employers about inclusivity and what they have done to support minorities and students with disabilities.
Raymond Plaza, director for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, believes this event gives students a new way to interact with companies and organizations that are committed to diversity and inclusion.
“My hope is that these events help to reinforce the importance and value of diversity and inclusion and how these experiences are critical for all of our students,” Plaza said. “Oftentimes we think of diversity and inclusion as an ‘add-on’ but it is something that shapes all of our experiences in different ways.”
Contact Emma Pollans at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.