Computer science career fair gives students and companies a distinctive edge

Virginia Tech computer science major
Ankita Khera was drawn to Virginia Tech because of the opportunity
she’d have here. “To stand out as a computer
science student, you need to do a lot of things outside of the classroom.”
The Computer Science Resources Consortium scholarship recipient knows the benefits
of making connections as more than 350 companies come to campus
to meet students each year. “I did get a internship in freshman
year with Lockheed Martin. And following that, in sophomore year,
I did speak to IBM and I was able to get an IBM
internship as well.” College of Engineering Dean Julia Ross says
Virginia Tech, the 5th largest producer of engineers in the country, works to
prepare students for the workforce. “We want our students to be as
well prepared as they possibly can be to go out and have amazing careers and
a really important part of that is us understanding what industry
needs from our students. And so, you know,
we really care very much about building partnerships with business and industry
to help us understand their needs, to make sure we really are producing
the talent that will help drive their futures.” The Innovation
Campus in Northern Virginia is yet another way Virginia Tech can create a
pipeline and talent workforce of tomorrow. “Right now, there’s a significant gap in the number of people with training in
computer science and computer engineering. And so,
as we think about the Innovation Campus, it’s really about how Virginia Tech can
fill that gap, both at the graduate level, at the Master’s and Ph D., level but of course it starts with the undergraduate
degree production at the B.S. level.” More than half
of alum Greg Caufman’s staff at Blacksburg software development
company, Solers, are Virginia Tech grads. “Certainly, you know we’ve had
a tremendous number of people from Virginia Tech move on to more senior
technical or leadership positions, some Virginia Tech grads who have
ultimately become at the director level within the company.” Being a member
of the consortium gives Solers a way to engage with students as they
progress through their studies in a way that helps distinguish Virginia Tech
graduates from others. “All of the internship and
co-op type opportunities for employers like Solers and many, many,
others as well as undergraduate research, and all the different
opportunities that they get, I think really creates a much more
well rounded student than you see from some other schools.” Companies also
help the consortium offer scholarships. “We’ve provided scholarships to over
80 computer science students last year because of support from the consortium and
those members of course, are very important to us in terms of, again, of
understanding critical industry needs and helping us think about how
to frame our programs.” And giving students like Ankita more time to
focus on their education and not the cost. “These scholarships have provided be
a means to not worry about my finances. It’s a big relief.”

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