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C of I students explore professional growth at Career & Internship Expo

February 28, 2018
College of Idaho students speak with representatives at the Career & Internship Expo.

With fresh copies of a recently revised resume in hand and a confident smile on her face, College of Idaho junior psychology major Mali Sawyer strode confidently between tables at the College’s Spring Career & Internship Expo. She admitted to being nervous before arriving, but said the atmosphere from the businesses and organizations who had come to visit campus instantly put her at ease as she searched for summer internship options.

“I knew I wanted to get a jump start on what internships were available, and I knew I needed to put myself out there,” Sawyer said. “I thought it would be more formal, but it’s actually been really relaxed. It’s been more about conversations and learning more about what’s there for me.”

Sawyer was one of 130 C of I students who visited the expo on Feb. 27, which hosted 26 local businesses and organizations covering a gamut of professions appealing to majors across each PEAK, from software engineering to local theatre. It was the second such expo at the C of I this school year organized by the C of I PEAK Center, which is becoming increasingly popular with both students and employers alike — this spring’s expo saw a 52 percent increase in student attendance, and enough companies showed interest that some needed to be placed on a waiting list for next fall’s expo.

Career and Internship Expo

“I think the College of Idaho is intriguing to most employers because of the uniqueness of our curriculum,” said PEAK Center Director Jennifer Riddle. “They’re pleasantly surprised by the diversity of knowledge our students bring to the table. Between the students’ majors and their minors, their academic experiences can fit into many of these positions with the right insight.”

Some of the companies at the expo were already very aware of C of I’s professional quality, including Boise-based investment accounting company Clearwater Analytics. Deena Emry ’16 was one of three C of I alumni posted at the expo’s Clearwater Booth, and one of over 40 C of I alumni currently working for the company. At the expo, she helped guide students through the company’s full-time employment possibilities and explained future internships opening in the fall.

“As a C of I alum, I know the kind of students we can recruit here,” Emry said. “I know exactly the kind of students C of I offers — responsible, really engaged and proactive students who are active and knowledgeable in so many different areas.”

For others, their interactions with students at the expo were among their first with C of I students, many of whom left strong impressions on the recruiters who came to visit. Kassie Stern of Boise Cascade was pleased at the wide variety of student interests that had come by her booth, from business and economics to designers and computer scientists.

“I appreciated the students who came in today and knew exactly what they wanted,” Stern said. “Those are the kinds of students that we’re happy to get to know.”

Riddle said the PEAK Center intends to continue hosting career expos at least twice each school year for the foreseeable future, with the fall including representatives for a variety of graduate programs and internship opportunities and the spring geared more toward summer internships and full-time opportunities for upcoming graduates.

“We want to grow as much as our space allows here,” Riddle said. “We’re thrilled to host as many companies as we can and allow our students the opportunity to invest in their futures.”

Sawyer said she hoped attending the expo as a junior would help better prepare her for pursuing additional internships in her senior year, knowing that the experience she could gain now would allow her to stand out.

“The PEAK Center has helped me get a jump start on what I want to do,” she said.

The College of Idaho has a 127-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom.  For more information, visit