Updated: Nov 17, 2021
Council for the Advancement of Minority Engineering Organizations (CAMEO) is an umbrella organization for the minority engineering organizations at Virginia Tech. CAMEO provides funding and scholarships and organizes the CareerFest career fair during the spring semester. This student-run organization provides help and support to peers so they can meet their career goals and aspirations.
This umbrella organization is made up of five organizations: Association of Women in Computing (AWC), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE), Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), and Society of Women Engineers (SWE).
Bevlee Watford, Associate Dean for Equity and Engagement, is responsible for the recruitment and retention of diverse students, both undergraduate and graduate. The office for Equity and Engagement includes a wide array of programs such as C-Tech^2, Galipatia, Peer Mentoring, and STEP developed and implemented for pre-college students as well as programs supporting the academic, professional, and personal development of current students.
CAMEO is a group of member organizations with the goal to increase their representation in the field of engineering. “CareerFest was created almost a year after CAMEO was formed and was the glue that joined the member organizations,” Dr. Watford recalls. The then SHPE President and SEC Engineering Expo Chair, Monique Jackson brought in the knowledge and resources for organizing the student-run CareerFest. Though being a dominantly student-run career fair, the office of the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED) became a part of the CAMEO due to the lack of infrastructure.
Due to COVID-19, the CareerFest career fair will be held virtually on February 15, 2021. The committee of CAMEO representatives along with Dr. Watford and Taylor Cupp meet on a need-basis to plan the CareerFest. The member organizations are also planning to collaborate for professional development events and workshops before the career fair.
Taylor Cupp, Assistant to the Director of CEED, helps run the CAMEO CareerFest and organizes the Dean’s Team. With an experience of 8 years in running career fairs for the School of Architecture + Design at Virginia Tech, Taylor is looking forward to the virtual CareerFest being run via Brazen.
CareerFest is historically held in-person and had a total of 104 companies in attendance last year. In the previous years, about 1700 students attended the career fair. However, this year the committee is working towards providing a better experience to all attendees. Understanding student complaints from Engineering Expo, Brazen added new features that enable attendees to see their position in line and give an estimated waiting time. Student registration will begin at the start of February via Brazen. So far, about 60 companies have registered to attend the career fair.
Each CAMEO member organization is responsible for separate tasks that are essential to the success of the CareerFest. Due to the shift from in-person to a virtual setting of the career fair, a majority of tasks have been changed. However, the CAMEO committee has adapted very well and is preparing to provide the attendees with a comfortable experience despite the challenges.
Valeria Lebron, Vice President Internal for SHPE, and Leo Olivera, SEC representative for SHPE, are responsible for creating a guidebook for CareerFest. Being a professional organization, SHPE organizes events such as mock interviews, resume reviews, and company events to help prepare its members for the career fairs. The guidebook will provide an overview of how everything works for both employers and students. CareerFest means a lot to SHPE members as the employers are specifically looking for students from the member organizations and giving them the representation they’re looking for.
“Having a career fair geared towards minority organizations is very important as it provides good exposure for our members.”
Ashita Anuga, CAMEO chair for AWC, is responsible for advertising for the CareerFest. She is currently looking into masks for students as a form of advertising and planning events to increase student registration in communities like Galipatia. AWC provides support to its members by sharing professional development opportunities and preparing them for virtual or in-person career fairs. CareerFest provides opportunities for networking and preparing students for the upcoming career fairs as well. It is helpful to have a career fair for the minority student population as AWC’s mission is to promote the recruitment and retention of women in the tech industry.
Nonso Onyia and Betelhem Demissie, Senators for NSBE, are responsible for creating a resume book. The resume book will be sent to the companies prior to the CareerFest. “Having a career fair geared towards minority organizations is very important as it provides good exposure for our members”, said Nonso Onyia. Although the majority of recruitment takes place in the fall, CareerFest has its own merits. It provides students with a different avenue to search and network for internships and jobs.
Julia Pimentel, External Vice President for SASE, is responsible for organizing informational sessions that are aimed at preparing students to succeed at the career fair. These sessions such as interview preparation, resume review, and elevator pitch preparation will be held by the CAMEO member organizations as an interconnected and collaborative effort. With an emphasis in the field of computer science and electrical and computer engineering, SASE has students from a variety of backgrounds. Since the CareerFest is held in the spring, it gives students another opportunity to network and improve their representation in the field.
Check out cameo.vt.edu for more information. If you have any questions about the CAMEO CareerFest, please feel free to reach out to: