October 21, 2004 | By: Aimee Heald-Nielson

Making contacts is perhaps the most important thing college students can do to secure employment after graduation. The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture recently set aside a day for students to do just that at a career fair held on the Lexington campus.

Nearly 40 companies and organizations sent representatives to network with and interview students for potential internships and full-time jobs. Students received information on a variety of careers and companies ranging from farms, finance and fashion to education and entertainment.

“As we know, agriculture is more than cows, sows and plows,” said Lennie Underwood, career associate for the UK Career Center. “There are so many incredible opportunities for students to take advantage of. These companies are here looking for talented people and the College of Agriculture has plenty of those in many different areas.”

Underwood said the UK College of Agriculture has had one of the most successful career fairs on campus for many years.

“The one-on-one contact students get with employers is great experience,” she said. “It helps them get comfortable with interviewing and having professional conversations.”

The students are not the only ones who benefit from the career fair. Each year employers find students who are great fits for internships and full-time jobs. Ann Joyce is a regional recruiter for The Brickman Group, Inc., a national landscape management company with offices in 23 states. This was the company’s first time at the career fair.

“We’re looking for students interested in landscape management as a career and we typically look for landscape management and horticulture majors,” she said. “We’ve talked to some good students today who want to get started in their careers.”

Robin Fleischer, assistant director of the James W. Stuckert Career Center and liaison to the College of Agriculture, helped coordinate the career fair. She also serves as a career counselor in the College of Agriculture.

“It’s important that the College of Ag works closely with the UK Career Center,” she said. “We want employers to know what great students we have and we want them to be talking to students as freshmen, sophomores and juniors about internships, as well as full-time jobs. We also want students to be exposed to a variety of employers and to be aware of opportunities with employers they might not otherwise have thought about.”

UK agricultural education sophomore Bart Mattingly of Springfield, Ky., visited the career fair to get an early start on his future career aspirations.

“There are a lot of businesses here and that impresses me,” he said. “It encourages me to stay in the College of Agriculture and finish my degree. It just makes me feel like there will be some kind of a job out there for me after I graduate, even with the market the way it is now.”

UK’s Cooperative Extension Service had a booth at the career fair to let students know about internships and job opportunities in Extension. Family and Consumer Sciences Agent for Fayette County Extension Amelia Brown met with many students during the day to explain the roles of Extension agents and interns.

“We offer many internships in Extension,” she said. “Internships are a great way for students to decide if that is the kind of career they want after graduation.”


Writer: Aimee D. Nielson 859-257-4736, ext. 267

Contact: Robin Fleischer 859-257-3356