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Career Event Provides UW Students Look into Industry in Sweetwater County

May 3, 2018
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UW students in a UW Career Services pilot program recently toured a Rock Springs plant facility. Students visited several Sweetwater County industries and businesses as part of the “Live Local, Work Local” program that provides students opportunities to live and work in Wyoming. (UW Photo)

Nineteen University of Wyoming students recently participated in a “Live Local, Work Local” career experience in Sweetwater County. The program provides students opportunities to live and work in Wyoming.

“Live Local, Work Local: Sweetwater County” is a UW Career Services pilot program. The Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce was integral for the planning of the program, organizing a two-day schedule packed with events that helped students understand the driving forces within the community.

Area business professionals had the opportunity to meet with UW students, discuss internships and employment opportunities, and showcase southwest Wyoming.

“We want to grow UW students’ awareness of potential employment opportunities in Wyoming by exposing them to companies and careers they likely have not been aware of,” says Ann Jones, associate director of career services in the UW College of Engineering and Applied Science Center for Student Success. “It provides a stage for companies to showcase their sustainable and growing businesses in the community in which they live, work and support.”

Students visited Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County and the Sweetwater Events Complex, learning the important role each of the organizations plays in the community. The group also visited Simplot Phosphates, Rock Springs National Bank, Commerce Bank, Waddell and Reed, Sweetwater Tech, BIS Lab at Western Wyoming Community College, Mountain States Pressure Services, Halliburton, Sweetwater County Justice Center and Detention Center, and Desert View Animal Hospital.

“The program was valuable to learn more about local businesses and get introduced to individuals working at the companies that I aspire to work for after graduation,” says Jade Jewkes, a finance student from Green River.

Jessica Walsh, a chemical and petroleum engineering major from Peotone, Ill., had only known Rock Springs from driving past the community on the interstate.

“I had no idea of the opportunity or potential for jobs in the area,” Walsh says. “As someone who is currently looking for job and internship possibilities, it is beneficial for me to know all my options within Wyoming.”

Ongoing outreach efforts between UW and area employers who have hired UW students and graduates for full-time jobs and summer internships made the event possible, Jones says.

Sweetwater County company representatives were a driving force behind the event, which included UW alumni Bruce Pivic (electrical engineering, 1984), Amy Allen (civil engineering, 1986) and Bret Pizzato (electrical engineering, 1986). All are well-connected in area business circles, Jones says.

There is a desire for more engagement with UW students for learning experiences, as well as postgraduation employment, she adds. Additionally, several UW career services professionals worked with Dave Hanks from the Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce and Kayla McDonald with the Sweetwater Economic Development Coalition.  

While this is the first event of this magnitude, the roots of “Live Local, Work Local” began in spring 2017 when Jo Chytka, director of the UW Advising, Career and Exploratory Studies (ACES) Center, worked with a group of Laramie employers to organize a networking event for UW students.

The UW Career Services group consists of career services individuals from the College of Engineering and Applied Science, the College of Business, the School of Energy Resources and ACES; all co-sponsored the Sweetwater County event.

They work together to organize events for students and host programs to increase awareness of career opportunities and help students meet employers, says Jennie Hedrick, student advising coordinator in the UW College of Business.

The group is planning the next business tour to Fremont County. Hedrick says there is additional interest from multiple Wyoming communities to host UW students. 

To learn more about the program, call the ACES office at (307) 766-2398 or email aces@uwyo.edu.

Students who participated in the Sweetwater County event, and their majors, are:

Broomfield, Colo. -- Johnathan Tibbetts, computer science.

Cheyenne -- Taylor Arnold, social science, and Sarah Dey, agricultural business.

Chittagong, Bangladesh -- Faisal Bhuiyan, mechanical engineering.

Dhaka, Bangladesh -- Nabil Siddiqui, economics.

Evanston -- Todd Muller, chemical engineering.

Green River -- Jade Jewkes, finance, and Aubrey Peterson, mechanical engineering.

Hot Springs, S.D. -- Bree Thompson, international agriculture.

Jacksonville, Fla. -- Anna Kemner, agricultural business.

Laramie -- Michael Gunderson, accounting.

Lingle -- Kaylee Greenwald, agricultural business.

Loveland, Colo. -- Tyler Martin, criminal justice.

Oran, Algeria -- Ikram Lalmi, computer science.

Peotone, Ill. -- Jessica Walsh, chemical and petroleum engineering.

Pinedale -- Joshua Anderson, chemistry.

San Gabriel, Calif. -- Stephen Cummings, petroleum engineering.

Standish, Mich. -- Sebastian Bowerson, petroleum engineering.

Thornton, Colo. -- Tiffany Mundhenke, molecular biology and microbiology.

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