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News Release

It May be Called DECaF, But It's Got Recruiters and Students Buzzing

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More than 2300 students attended the DECaF career fair this year. 

San Diego, Calif., Feb. 28, 2013 -- Why would more than 2,300 students dress up in their best business attire and line up in front of the Price Center ballrooms at 9 a.m. on a Friday? That would be the Disciplines of Engineering Career Fair, also known as DECaF, which this year gave undergraduate and graduate students alike the opportunity to talk to recruiters from 95 companies.

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A total of 95 companies took part in the event.

The career fair got so big that organizers decided to expand this year, taking over both the Price Center West and Price Center East ballrooms. The fair also boasted a record seven corporate sponsors: Intel, Sandia National Laboratories, Broadcom, Life Technologies, L3 Communications, ViaSat and Apple. “It’s pretty exciting,” said Pooja Makhijani, president of the Triton Engineering Student Council, which organizes the event every year. Excitement had been mounting all week. Companies held workshops before the Feb. 22 event to help students craft their resumes and prepare for interviews.

This year, Facebook has invested a lot of time and resources to come on campus, after getting a lot of good candidates and making good hires in past years, said Denise Hernandez, who handles university relations with UC San Diego for the company.

“We’re here and we’re ready to find some great students,” Hernandez said. UC San Diego students are very successful at Facebook, she added.  “They’re friendly. They’re outgoing,” Hernandez said. “They’re not only smart. They’re really good people.”

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Companies were recruiting for everything from summer interns to full-time employees. 

Students at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego aren’t just prepared technically, they also have a lot of experience with project work, said Belinda Mekdara, who handles university relations with UC San Diego at Life Technologies. “That’s what you do in the real world,” she said. “We get students that can transfer to corporate life pretty easily. “

Facebook and Life Technologies have long been mainstays of DECaF. Hernandez and Mekdara serve as HR business partners for the Jacobs School’s Corporate Affiliates Program. But this was the first year that LSI Corporation was participating. The company designs semiconductors and software that accelerate storage and networking in data centers, mobile networks and client computing. Sailesh Merchant, a fellow at LSI, served as a judge at Research Expo last year and is an executive champion for the CAP program. He found out about DECaF from Ken Vecchio, chair of the Department of NanoEngineering at the Jacobs School. The company just made its first full-time hire from UC San Diego. “These are smart, intelligent, hard-working students,” Mechant said.

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Organizers try to match students and companies based on their interests. 

In the East Ballroom, Hector Saldana and Jorge Navarro were ready to look for their first full-time job. The two were both aerospace engineering majors. They got some career advice from lecturer Mark Anderson. “Overall, I’m pretty confident I’m prepared,” Saldana said.

Meanwhile, Heather Hua, a first-year computer science major, wanted to learn more about local companies. “I was told it was going to be crazy event and that you can really get your resume out there,” she said. “Hopefully, I’ll end up with a summer internship along the way. “  

Makhijani, the TESC president, said that organizers do their best to make sure the event is successful for students and recruiters alike. “We just hope that they come and they get what they came for,” she said.

Media Contacts

Ioana Patringenaru
Jacobs School of Engineering