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Student Events & Information
Student/Professional Networking Events
The student/professional networking events are popular every year at the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference. These are great opportunities for students to make connections with professionals which can have a positive impact on your career.

The Student/Professional Networking Events are in two parts outlined below.

1) Networking Lunch - Monday, January 27, Noon – 1:10 PM

The first event will be a Networking Lunch on Monday, January 27, which will feature speakers and opportunities to interact with professionals in your chosen area(s) of interest. Lunch is a great opportunity for students and fish and wildlife professionals to interact in a small group, discuss professional/career development, and enjoy a meal and conversation! We hope you make the most out of this experience. Students: we encourage you to come prepared to ask questions. Professionals: be ready to discuss a variety of topics, for example: career development, transitioning from school, qualifications needed for various professions, and the realities of working in the natural resources field. The tables will be identified by topics of interest, as indicated on your registration form (Fisheries or Wildlife), and table assignments will be coordinated ahead of time, and will include State/Provincial Agency Employment, Federal Agency Employment, Academia & Research Institutions/Graduate School, and Non-Government Organizations & Private Sector (e.g. consulting, industry).

Seating: Choose your first table that reflects your career experience or interest.

Schedule:
12:00 Lunch

12:15 Introduction – Gary Potts, Chair, Student Events Committee

12:20 Presidents Welcome
North Central Section of The Wildlife Society - President Gary Roloff
North Central Division of the American Fisheries Society

12:30 Midwest Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies - Student Travel Grant Announcement

12:35 Networking Rotations – Choose a table that reflects your career experience or interest. Switch (optional) among tables every 10-15 minutes. (2-3 rotations)

1:10 Event Ends – further mentoring at Student Events Table in the Exhibit Hall
Tables: Select from the following Employers & Career topics. Look for signs on large tables. Popular topics have multiple tables.
  1. Federal agencies
  2. State/Provincial agencies
  3. Non-Government Organizations, Private Sector (e.g. consulting, industry)
  4. Academia & Research Institutions/Graduate School
Students: come prepared with questions; professionals: be prepared to discuss your experiences and advice for students interested on your position or field. View/download suggested networking questions.

2) Student Events table in the Exhibit Hall

The second opportunity to network with professionals will be at the Student Events table located in the Exhibit Hall during scheduled breaks. Students can speak with professionals representing different sectors. The schedule is as follows:

Monday, January 27 3:00 p.m. – 3:20 p.m. State/Provincial Agency professionals
Monday, January 27 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Representatives from all disciplines will be available
Tuesday, January 28 10:00 a.m. – 10:20 a.m. Federal Agency professionals
Tuesday, January 28 3:00 p.m. – 3:20 p.m. University and Research Institution professionals
Wednesday, January 29 10:00 a.m. – 10:20 a.m. Non-Government Organizations & Private Sector professionals
Conference Mentoring
Are you a little nervous about attending your first Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference? Or are you a seasoned veteran student interested in meeting more professionals in your field? Would you like the chance to meet and talk individually with one of the professional attendees to learn about their professional journey? If so, sign up for the Conference Mentoring at this year’s meeting!

Mentorship in the natural resources field is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. Both mentor and mentee share responsibility in building a positive relationship that is focused on assisting the mentee navigate the natural resources profession and grow professionally. This can include, although not solely limited to: a mentor assisting a mentee with networking opportunities, offering career advice, providing constructive criticism on mentee work products (e.g. talks and poster presentation, resumes, cover letters), communicating resume building opportunities (e.g. prescribed fire and/or wildlife monitoring training opportunities), and encouragement of professional development (e.g. attending and presenting at meetings and seeking further work experience). Equally a mentee shares responsibility in engaging with their mentor by asking questions, taking advantage of opportunities facilitated by the mentor and more.

We will pair interested students with professionals of similar interests to give you the opportunity to interact personally with each other. Graduate and undergraduate students are encouraged to participate. Professionals will represent management agencies, academic institutions, and non-government organizations in multiple specialties from around the Midwest. This is a unique opportunity to get to know a professional from outside your normal group of colleagues!

Prior to the conference, we will forward contact information to mentors (professionals) and mentees (students). We encourage you to meet for lunch or dinner early in the conference to get to know each other and to continue your interactions during the sessions, social events and even after the conference has ended! Use this opportunity to get to know someone in your field personally, and get another perspective on what it means to be a fish or wildlife professional today!

Student Mentee Responsibilities:
  • Contact your mentor before the meeting to determine how and when you will meet.
  • Come prepared with some questions to discuss with your mentor.
  • Be prepared to share some things about yourself and where you’d like to take your career in fish or wildlife management.
Professional Mentor Responsibilities:
  • Contact your mentee before the meeting to determine how and when you will meet.
  • Engage your mentee during sessions, meetings, social events and at other times to discuss what being a professional means to you and in your field.
  • Be prepared to share your experiences and professional journey.
  • Introduce your mentee to other professionals who they may be interested in speaking with.
If you are interested in signing up for the Conference Mentoring activity, please indicate that on your registration form. Don’t forget to include your area of interest so that we may match you with an appropriate mentor!
Tips for Students: Networking and Applications
Professional tips on networking and job applications, prepared by the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference 2020 Student Committee. Click here to download as a PDF.

Networking
  • Join student organizations such as a Student Subunit of The Wildlife Society, Student Subunit of the American Fisheries Society, Biology Club, etc. on your campus
  • Join the National and State Chapters of TWS, AFS or other environmental organizations and attend workshops and/or meetings
  • Volunteer to work for a University graduate student, professor or other local fish or wildlife professional for a day. Chances are that experience will lead to other opportunities
  • Introduce yourself to professionals in your field of interest during conferences
  • Present your research at professional conferences. Posters are a great way to get started
  • Get one or more mentors to assist you in getting experience and knowledge
Application Documents
  • Use CV/resume of others in your profession online to reference how to develop yours
  • Use pertinent online resources to best develop your cover letter, letter of interests, etc.
  • Sign your cover letter with your actual signature
  • Use proper grammar, spelling and have one or more people proof read your documents
  • Do not include any photos of yourself or otherwise
  • Write succinctly – a hierarchal bullet point structure works well
Applying for Jobs
  • Use language from job description to develop your cover letter, CV/resume, etc.
  • Tailor your application materials (e.g., CV/resume) to each job
  • Take time to sleuth out who is the leader of the project and their background. You may want to email the person to ask more about the position before you apply, as this will give you a sense of whether the position is suitable, the supervisor’s personality and demonstrate your interest in the position. However, do not harass the leader with emails or calls – one email is enough
  • Do not apply last minute if possible, sometimes application systems can have errors and you will want time to work out those issues with human resources if they occur
  • Contact hiring manager to make sure your application materials were received
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