Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

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Student fair offers opportunities to find the right path forward

Advisors+and+Student+discussing+the+Majors+and+Minors+SIU+has+to+offer.+%0A
Advisors and Student discussing the Majors and Minors SIU has to offer.

Not everyone who comes to college immediately knows what they want their future to look like. The Major and Minor Fair held on Jan. 30 helped many students learn more about their possibilities. The event was set up with round tables and booths, and was full of representatives from all the colleges at SIU to introduce opportunities to students.

“Part of that is exposing them to the variety of majors and areas of focus that they can go in here. For many of us, high school doesn’t expose us to nearly enough of the possibilities when it comes to careers and majors,” said Rita Medina, the recruitment and retention coordinator for the Exploratory Student Advisement Program. 

The event was put together by the Department of Exploratory Student Advisement and the Department of First-Year Experience. 

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“Part of this is to make sure that, especially for our chief academic advisors and our advisors across campus, they do a lot of answering questions throughout the semester. So this is really to help assist them too with their time management. So if there’s one place where students can come and talk, all in one, then maybe that’ll help eliminate or free some time up for other advisors or have students come to them that are really a lot more certain now,” said Gena Albert the associate dean of students and the director of First Year Experience.

All of the colleges and schools attended those included of the College of Agricultural, Life and Physical Sciences, the College of Arts and Media, the College of Business and Analytics, the College of Engineering, Computing, Technology, and Mathematics, the College of Health and Human Sciences, the College of Liberal Arts, SIU Graduate School, the School of Education, the School of Law and the School of Medicine. Students had the opportunity to sit with representatives to discuss majors, minors, job opportunities and what would be their next step.

“It’s for students who either came in undecided or were not eligible to go directly into their major. We wanted to host something a little more regular that included all colleges, departments, and units across campus that were academically focused,” Albert said.

The Majors and Minors Fair was established in the Fall of 2023 to allow all SIU students to learn more about what the different schools and colleges on campus had to offer. It was created to be a more “laid back” experience so students would be comfortable talking about their futures.

“Every time we do an event like this, we learn from it and try to make some changes and adapt and see what we can do to improve it, to make it appeal to more students. But we also know, especially in the beginning of the semester, we’re competing with a lot of other information being thrown at students,” Albert said.

Since the event took place a couple of weeks into the semester, after students had some time in class, organizers believed that students would have time to experience if they liked their current path. The fair catered to one-on-one encounters with representatives where students could browse along the booths or choose to sit at a table with a department of their choosing. The event was open to all students on campus.

“The undecided and first-year students are the primary target, it is open to anybody on campus. So if there’s a junior that says, I’m thinking about adding a minor or a second major or we will have representatives from the law school and the graduate school. So if students wanna know more about continuing their education beyond their undergrad, they can do that as well,” Albert said.

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At the event, the College of Health and Human Sciences had a booth setup with representative Brittany Mcelory, the recruitment and retention coordinator. Mcelory was there to inform students about the goals they can achieve through the college. She provided information about how large the student population is and the amount of majors and minors that are offered.

“The College of Health and Human Sciences, we make up 40 percent of the student population here on campus. So we’re here to offer the different majors and minors that we have within the college and so providing program information, specifics about contact information, any of the degree requirements that are needed for those students to help them become successful on their path,” Mcelory said.

The College of Engineering, Computing Technology and Mathematics was represented by Tarnisha Green, the director of Seed Program, which stands for Success in Engineering through Excellence and Diversity. Green spent time informing students about the various opportunities that the College of Engineering, Computing Technology, and Mathematics can offer them. 

“I believe it’s important for us to be here because a lot of students don’t know about our majors. When we say engineering people get scared, but really just alerting them to the jobs and the money they can make with it and letting them know that it’s not impossible and that it is not exactly what they think it is. I always tried to change their minds, to show them a different perspective,” Green said.

Both Albert and Medina are available for students to reach out too if they are in need of help finding a path. They can assist students in finding a major by providing them with information or point them in the right direction of who to reach out to.

“It may be a chief advisor, it may be another recruitment retention coordinator, it may be a program director or professor directly. Gena and I have been here long enough that we know most of the faces around here and most of the names around here. So if they’re looking for the quickest way to get to the right person, they can always reach out to us,” Medina said.

The career development center on campus provides resources for students who are exploring different career paths, both Medina and Albert refer students there often. Students can also find guidance by referring to the information Medina provided after the event. 

 

Explore all SIU Programs by Subject; https://academics.siu.edu/ , Explore all SIU Programs Alphabetically; Includes details on formats and levels https://catalog.siu.edu/programs/, View Academic Curricular Guides/Majors Maps; https://curricularguides.siu.edu/, Find the Right Academic Advisor; https://advisement.siu.edu/advisors/, Learn More about the McNair Scholarship Program; https://mcnair.siu.edu/, View SIU’s Graduate Program https://gradschool.siu.edu/academics/.



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