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Public Interest Technology Career Fair Connects Value-Aligned Students and Employers

Written by Rebekah Tweed
Program Director, All Tech Is Human

As Program Director for the non-profit All Tech Is Human, on May 12, I had the pleasure of organizing the virtual Spring 2022 Public Interest Technology (PIT) Career Fair in collaboration with PIT-UN member and grantee Leslie Saul Garvin, Senior Program Director of Cardinal Careers in the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford University. Two other member institutions, Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy and the University of Washington’s School of Information were also partners in the event. 

The PIT Career Fair brought hundreds of students and recent graduates together on the virtual platform Handshake to browse jobs and internships. Students could sign up for both 10-minute one-on-one sessions and 30-minute group sessions with 36 potential employers.  

This event was patterned after the first PIT career fair, A BETTER TECH, that I also helped organize in October 2021 in partnership with New York University (NYU). The latest spring event was built upon the blueprint created by A Better Tech team at NYU, led by Principal Investigator Mona Sloane and Co-Principal Investigator Matthew Statler, with the support of a PIT-UN grant.

Garvin, the Senior Program Director from Stanford, said the May career fair was a success and hoped to see another nationwide career event dedicated to PIT. With more than 40 percent of Stanford students pursuing either a major or minor in computer science, engineering and other technical fields, Garvin said, it was essential for Stanford to promote PIT to students.

The career fair was one of many initiatives Garvin and her colleague Shoshanah Cohen spearheaded to develop a pathway for students to pursue careers in PIT after  Stanford received a PIT-UN grant two years ago. To that end, the partnership with Pepperdine University and University of Washington was a strategic move that paid off. “I am now a fan of the multi-university approach,” she said. 

As part of the May event, Stanford hosted a virtual booth to offer career advice on PIT, and students were eager to learn about the many career opportunities and directions in the field.

“We talked to so many students and it became clear to me that not all universities are offering PIT career support. Students were so eager for the knowledge we shared; that was super rewarding.”

Leslie Saul Garvin, Senior Program Director
Cardinal Careers in the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford University

Many of the employers featured over the years have appreciated the opportunity to connect with job seekers, too. Working with All Tech Is Human took the outreach effort to the next level, Garvin added, something any Program Director would be happy to hear. I was fortunate to be able to draw from the organization’s strong community of employers looking to hire candidates passionate about designing, developing, and deploying technology aligned with public interest as well as  students seeking to contribute their skills in the fields of PIT and responsible tech.

This and past career fairs are concrete examples of the impact PIT-UN grantees can have driving the talent pipeline for the field. Because of this experience, I believe there is even potential to bring together the 48 member universities within the Network to connect students and employers from across sectors in a free future event. 

With enough lead time and collaboration, recurring PIT-UN career fairs can move the needle on the field of PIT public interest technology and become a significant force in bringing together PIT-centered employers and value-aligned students. As an outgrowth of our work, many job seekers have turned to the Responsible Tech Job Board since September 2020 to source available socio-technical roles. 

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