The newly formed Pride Student Veterans Organization (PSVO) and the Hofstra Career Center recently partnered to host the University’s first networking event for student veterans. Seven Hofstra student veterans, as well as two students from outside the University, attended the event to meet prospective employers and discuss career opportunities.
Participating companies in the April 7 event included Enterprise Holdings, CA Technologies, Workforce1, Northwestern Mutual, and Sherwin-Williams.
About 130 current students at Hofstra have either served in a branch of the military or are the spouse or child of a veteran. The PSVO was created earlier this year to help veterans transition to academic and professional life by student Eric Schmidt, who served from 2010 to 2014 as a security forces specialist in the U.S. Air Force before coming to Hofstra. He is slated to graduate in May 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in finance, and is also pursuing a bachelor’s degree in economics as a member of Hofstra’s inaugural dual-degree cohort at Dongbei University of Economics and Finance in China.
“I wanted to start this organization because I enrolled in college just weeks after separating from the Air Force, and did not have a lot of time to adjust to being a student again and was struggling with reinventing myself in the civilian sector,” said Schmidt, currently an intern at Northwestern Mutual, a life insurance and financial planning company. “I missed certain aspects of the military, specifically camaraderie, and had nothing in common with my student peers. I was searching for an outlet where I could bounce ideas off of like-minded individuals, and figured there had to be other veterans at Hofstra who had similar feelings.”
The networking event stemmed from a demand for veteran recruitment from the University’s employer partners, particularly Enterprise Holdings, which has a deep history rooted in the military, said Stefano Verdesoto, assistant director of external relations for the Career Center.
“We received an exceptional amount of interest from our partners, so we ran this as a pilot program and limited the number of participants,” he said. “Next time around, we could definitely see this event growing.”
Marianne Cocco, campus and diversity specialist at CA Technologies, found the event worthwhile. “I was so happy to be there and meet all the students, and I found two students I would like to recruit come this fall for full-time opportunities,” she said.
Featured image: Student veterans with representatives from Northwestern Mutual, Sherwin-Williams, Enterprise Holdings, and CA Technologies at the networking event. Pride Student Veterans Organization founder Eric Schmidt’17 is at right.