A Boon for Jobseekers

More than 200 USF students participating in IBM’s Lotusphere’s College Day at Disney World Jan. 16.


In addition to meeting potential employers, USF students at last year's Lotusphere enjoyed surprise keynote speaker, actor Kevin Spacey.


By Barbara Melendez

USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 13, 2012) – Future and current job seekers couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to network and connect with potential employers or learn how to use the latest developments in business technology to help advance their careers.


That’s what is in store for the 212 University of South Florida students registered to attend IBM Lotusphere 2012’s College Day Jan. 16. They’re boarding buses at 5 a.m. that day to make the trip to Orlando and Walt Disney World to be part of it.


The event is part of the annual premier conference for developers, administrators, IT and business professionals from all over the world that runs Jan. 15 to 19. They meet each year to share their latest innovations and software solutions. 


This year marks the second time students from around the country are being allowed to attend for one day. Financial support for transportation and attendance from GROUP Business Software (GBS) and IBM is once again making it possible for them to attend the conference’s high level technical and business sessions, experience hands-on use of the latest software and meet IBM executives as well as leading engineers and software developers. The day also features a job fair.


There were 140 in USF’s 2011 contingent. Three of them, Marcus McGee, David Hablewitz and Jeremy Fisher, each left with an iPad for passing the test of wits in the XPages Adventure programming application contest. There was also a surprise keynote address by actor Kevin Spacey.

As they did last year, industry experts will again focus on advances in social software as a vital business tool. Attendees will also be introduced to the latest in web development, social media applications, cloud computing, instant messaging and collaboration solutions.


“The whole experience was such a hit with students last year that we were able to fill every available slot in a matter of days,” said Drema Howard, director of USF’s Career Center. “The fact that the focus of the conference deals with the social business workplace and cutting edge technology fits well with the interest of the state of Florida as well as USF and the Career Center regarding jobs, STEM careers and connecting students with employers.”


Michael Baum, a USF alumnus, is the director of corporate communications for GBS and was instrumental in making sure his alma mater was included. He views GBS’s College Day as a means for future professionals coming from USF to interact and network with some of the most innovative and creative minds in the field of social business today.


Kristin Shufeldt, on-campus interview and employer relations coordinator for the USF Career Center, is serving as the Lotusphere campus liaison and took the lead in promoting and organizing the student attendees this year.


“Imagine interacting with the R&D, engineering, marketing and business development decision-makers at their principal event. Knowing they want to meet our students and include them in this social business phenomenon is incredible,” she said.


Howard added, “This collaboration with GBS is just one more  example of how the Career Center is involved in initiatives that enhance and increase student’s career success and future employment opportunities.” 


Barbara Melendez can be reached at 813-974-4563.