The spring session of TechConnect, in its third year now, had its best showing with 25 companies and about 250 computer science and engineering students attending the biannual networking event January 24.
“Companies were very enthusiastic about the quality of Duke students they talked to and with the level of interest they received,” said Richard Lucic, associate chairman of the Department of Computer Science and co-organizer of TechConnect. “The panel discussion was very lively with lots of great questions from the students.”
The event, which took place in the Energy Hub of the Gross Chemistry Building, provides companies that have technical interests with priority access to students the night before Industry on Campus Day, an event hosted by the Department of Computer Science and the Pratt School of Engineering. The evening started with an hour-long panel discussion featuring representatives from BlueRun Ventures, Citadel, Cortina Systems and Stryker. It was followed by 90 minutes of networking.
“Our numbers continue to grow for the spring,” noted Kirsten Shaw, assistant director of Corporate and Industry Relations in the Pratt School and co-organizer of the event. The larger fall session has been hosted for more than 10 years. However, the spring session has grown from the initial 13 companies that participated in 2010.
Lucic noted that he hadn’t seen as much enthusiasm for hiring in a long time and that companies made many offers to develop broader relations with Duke.
“Cisco was interested in learning more about the Computer Science Undergraduate Research Fellows — C-SURF — program,” Shaw added. “And other companies were looking for opportunities to partner with student organizations for future events.”
She believes the enthusiasm was based around branding for future hires, interns and niche positions.
“There is a lot of competition for the best students,” Lucic added, “so companies want to get to know students well before they graduate so they can start building rapport. They also want to build name recognition in the student mindset and establish linkages with faculty.”
The next TechConnect takes place September 11. It is co-sponsored by the Department of Computer Science, the Pratt School of Engineering and the Duke Career Center.
View the TechConnect 2012 Spring web site