“Hey, look. This guy’s already Googly,” said Bob Hancock, a recruiter for Google. Perry slowed to a stop at the search engine giant’s booth and chatted about his other volunteer work: he collaborates on “open source,” software programming. Such freely available applications often outperform proprietary software, and Google recently signaled its interest in what some call the countercultural ideal by hiring the lead engineer of the open source Web browser Firefox.
The U.S. economy and job growth may be sluggish, and technology companies may be facing tough foreign competition and pressure to keep profits up and spending down, but companies such as Google, Northrup Grumman, and Qualcomm – the three corporate sponsors of this year’s DECaF – were eager to mingle with UCSD students and talk about entry-level positions and internships.
Ten to 15 engineering students continually stood in line during the half-day career fair, waiting to talk to Gregory Chmielewski, a recruiter for Sunnyvale, CA-based Lockheed Martin Corporation. Chmielewski accumulated a stack of resumes and provided lots of advice about how to join the defense and aerospace company. “I didn’t know it was going to be this busy,” said Chmielewski, searching for one of his remaining business cards to provide to a visitor.
Chmielewski asked Joel Perez, a senior who is majoring in aeronautical engineering, if he would be willing to work outside of the San Diego area. Perez, who attended College of the Desert in Palm Desert, CA, for two years before transferring to UCSD, said he would definitely consider a move, particularly if it involved working on a project related to aeronautics or space. Perez has been hooked on aeronautics since his father, Filiberto Joel Perez, gave him a ride in the family Cessna 182 over Palm Desert more than 15 years ago. Perez currently is vice president of the UCSD student chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Recruiters for the 20 companies at this year’s DECaF event, double last year’s total, handed out free pens, calculators, and advice to Perez, Perry, and more than 500 other student attendees. Most of the companies are corporate affiliates of the Jacobs School of Engineering. “For these top notch companies, the ability to recruit UCSD students as interns is particularly important because it helps both the companies and the interns check out each other,” said True Xiong, a fifth-year electrical engineering major and chair of the DECaF event.