Eight undergraduate students participated in the ninth annual Out for Work career conference for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally (LGBTQA) community.
Over the two-day event held Sept. 28 and 29 at the University of Illinois-Chicago, students experienced workshops led by leaders from LGBTQA-affirming companies such as Lockheed-Martin, Google, Boeing and Clorox.
Students engaged in discussions on topics such as the importance of mentors, coming out at work and marketing LGBTQ leadership experiences.
The event concluded with a career and networking fair where students discovered employment opportunities and interacted directly with companies who value LGBTQA perspectives.
“Out For Work has not only showed me that the workforce can be welcoming to diversity, including sexuality and gender,” said Miles Faciane, a senior with a double major in computer science and applied mathematics and acting president of NIU’s Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics chapter, “but has also been able to connect me with people in my field of study who could help with my professional development.”
Margaret Tinberg, a senior with a double major in accounting and public administration, called the conference “a great experience.”
“I met great people and had some meaningful networking experiences,” Tinberg said. “Before I went, I had some fears with being out in business, but after speaking with people who were in my shoes just a few years ago, I know that it is OK and I have the courage to be who I am, and to create the change I want to see.”
Brian Pillsbury, NIU’s assistant director for Career Services, helped students prepare for the conference by facilitating a resume and networking session.
“The Out for Work conference was an excellent opportunity for NIU students to network with employers who are committed to a diverse workforce,” Pillsbury said. “By experiencing this career fair, students will approach the October NIU career fairs with a stronger sense of what they have to offer and greater confidence in their ability to convey that to employers.”
Support for the conference was provided by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center. This support was as part of the LGBT Resource Center’s goal to provide resources, programs, and experiences that support and expand student leadership development and contributes to the President Baker’s strategic initiative of student career success.