Students seek careers at College Bowl
A party atmosphere got prospective employees fired up at the kickoff for the 2010 Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference College Bowl Oct. 7 in Orlando, Fla.

ORLANDO, Fla. - Hundreds of college students seeking jobs are partnering with government and industry in a unique event during the 2010 Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference here Oct. 7-9.

The College Bowl is a competition like none other. It combines the high-energy enthusiasm of an athletic event with pressure-filled deadlines.

Students are competing for cash scholarships and the chance to get noticed by major corporations and government organizations seeking talented engineers and researchers.

The New Orleans-style competition started Oct. 7 with an enthusiastic show of support by organizers and participants. Shouting, music, chants, noisemakers and costumes gave a Mardi Gras atmosphere to the kickoff.

"We are trying to accomplish team building and social skills," said Jonathan Novoa, a College Bowl assistant coach from the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command. "The students earned their slots on our team by showing enthusiasm, creativity and potential."

Teams received challenges and tight deadlines. Judges score the final presentation on content, message and participation.

"The level of enthusiasm is high," said College Bowl coach and judge Jose Gonzalez, a branch chief from the Army Research Laboratory. "One thing that I like seeing is the teamwork. They're strangers, and they come together and form a team and compete."

Gonzalez said one of the things he looks for in College Bowl participants is getting the job done outside of their comfort zone.

"Will they work on a team' Will they communicate' These are all factors, I as a branch chief, am looking for in employees," Gonzalez said.

The potential employee for Gonzalez is enthusiastic and communicates well.

"These are things you don't necessarily see in a resume," he said. "At the job fair, you're going to encounter a barrier. You're the professional. They are just a student. They are trying to show themselves in just a few seconds, maybe a minute or two. The College Bowl allows me to go beyond that resume."

Major Gen. Nick Justice, RDECOM commanding general, talked with the students Oct. 8 after they spent most of the previous night working challenges.

"It's just stimulating to be around those kids," Justice said.

Justice taught the crowd about Army terminology.

"Hooah is the answer to every question," Justice told the students. "It's a magic word. And you're down here at Disney World' You need magic words."

The students shouted "hooah" until the general felt they got it. Then he told them about his philosophy.

"Going to college and deciding to study engineering is not easy. It's incredibly challenging," Justice said. "You have made a decision that sets the condition for your future."

Justice told the students their decision to attend college was rewarding and challenging.

"If four years was a tough decision, what do you think 40-year-decisions are'" Justice asked the group. "Your future now builds on every decision and every opportunity that knocks in your life."

The general encouraged the students to do five things when deciding their careers. He said to look for opportunities that are rewarding, exciting, challenging, valuable and meaningful.

"You ought to choose a life that is exciting," he said. "Think what you can do that is giving back to your family, your community and your nation and the world."

The time students spent together working through the College Bowl challenges may leave a lifelong impression.

"You saw how easy it was to shape that enthusiasm and energy that they have," Justice said after his speech. "That just makes me so much more encouraged that we can put a national program together and move the nation forward."

Page last updated Fri September 9th, 2011 at 14:00