Area Students Explore College Majors to Increase Job Potential

Middlesex Community College hosted a festive career and resource fair for local college and high school students to explore specialized job and program options on October 11. The seventh annual event, entitled “What can I do with a major in…,” gave more than 250 attendees an opportunity to meet directly with program coordinators in at least 30 of the more than 60 associate degree and certificate programs offered at MxCC.

Recent statistics show that around one-third of college graduates do not work in jobs that need a college degree. Community college students often can declare a major when they enroll, but they may not be fully aware of the career choices in their chosen field. Some students may be enrolled in the general studies program and are still searching for getting that career edge over the competition

The purpose of this event was to showcase academic programs to prospective and current students seeking to boost career options and seek majors with potential high earning and employment, such as chemical engineering. In addition, several of MxCC’s programs offer career pathway credit courses in specific fields to help guide students to focus on future job options they may not even know exist.

For example, Associate Professor Rebecca Rist-Brown, coordinator of the criminal justice program with a popular display at the event, explained that students unsure of their career focus can enroll in the Careers in Criminal Justice course.

“In this course, students can explore the physical, intellectual, and psychological demands associated with obtaining and maintaining a career in the field of criminal justice. They can learn about the various types of job opportunities available in the courts, corrections, law enforcement community, and even more specialized areas such as information security,” she said.

That’s just what Jacob Murphy, a first-year student from Haddam, Conn., and former home-schooled student originally from California, has in mind. While he is majoring in engineering science at Middlesex, he is thinking of taking some criminal justice courses to complement his tech degree.

“I came here to check out other engineering disciplines such as chemical engineering and also look into the criminal justice field to see how it can perhaps help me with a lucrative career in cybersecurity or forensics,” said Murphy.

Murphy says he plans to transfer to UConn or another college in Connecticut after graduating from MxCC.

Christine Witkowski, professor and program coordinator for the environmental science program at MxCC, told visitors at her table about a similar course in her program. Students enrolling in the Exploring Environmental Science course can learn about environmental work in Connecticut with connections leading to broader trends in the field. This course features a series of guest speakers from the environmental field who describe the work, skills, and tools needed to be successful.

To better engage visitors, the participating academic exhibits were entered into a competition for the best display, creating a fun and interactive way to learn about what Middlesex Community College has to offer.

Oct. 23, 2017