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Virtual career fair inspires budding criminologists

February 24, 2021

By Michael Wu

From January 25-27, 2021, SFU’s Criminology Student Association (CSA) hosted The Criminology Career Series, a three-day virtual career fair featuring professionals from various criminology-related fields. Kaitlyn Richards and Asia Clarke, the President and Vice President of the CSA respectively, were eager to make the event as successful as in previous years, but pandemic times required that they change their approach.

“In Spring 2020, we were planning an in-person career fair! However, due to COVID-19, we had to cancel our event 2 weeks before the date. As remote learning continued, we had to adapt our plans and learn new ways to hold events so that we could continue holding events for Criminology students. Our greatest challenge was learning how to hold a large-scale event online! We had to ensure people were monitoring the chat, taking attendance, and ensuring all attendees were being respectful. Luckily, we have since spent a year working remotely, so we were familiar with online platforms like Zoom and Eventbrite.”

Kaitlyn Richards and Asia Clarke

Seeing the unique situation they found themselves in as an opportunity, Richards and Clarke made full use of the virtual format by inviting guest speakers from all over Canada. To showcase the diversity of Criminology, they featured a wide variety of guests from different career paths, including but not limited to: law firms, RCMP, VPD, the International Criminal Court, the government, the judiciary, and the coroner’s service.

We really enjoyed coming up with creative ways that we could get students engaged and looking forward to coming to the Career Series. As a team, being able to generate interesting and unique ideas of how we can run the event in a virtual environment was a really great experience.”

All proceeds from the event were donated to support the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society (VAFCS), a non-profit organization providing programs in health and welfare, social services, human rights, culture, education, recreation and equality for all Indigenous people.

"Through studying Criminology, we have learned a lot about Indigenous issues; particularly challenges within the criminal justice system, such as the overrepresentation of the Indigenous population in prisons. This organization provides resources and support to Indigenous peoples, which fits well with the values of our executive committee.”

Attendees came out of the event with a better understanding of the jobs available in the field, noting that hearing from the variety of professionals was both beneficial and intriguing.

So what advice do Richards and Clarke have for their fellow students when planning an event like this? Start early and don’t be afraid to reach out to others for help. They note that the Criminology Career Series could not have been held successfully without the support of many faculty members within the School of Criminology.

The CSA will be hosting three more events this semester: a social during Reading Week in February, a games night in March, and a Coffee with Criminology Profs in April! More details will be announced on their social media platforms, primarily Instagram @sfu.csa, so give their socials a follow to keep updated!