It was a pleasant autumn day when the 2006 Science and Technology Job Fair opened in Dillon Gym, but Jamaal McDell was feeling the heat.

His neighboring recruiters, from Bloomberg and Morgan Stanley, stood behind impressive displays of promotional materials but McDell was presiding over a bare table. Materials from his company, the financial software company Murex, had yet to arrive.

“I’ve got a lot in the personal charisma department but I don’t know if I can compete,” joked McDell, who as a 2001 Princeton Engineering graduate knows both sides of the Dillon Gym recruiting table.

In the end, McDell, whose materials arrived within the hour, said he had a successful day making contacts with students, despite competition from many industries beyond financial services. Companies with job opportunities from aerospace engineering to pharmaceutical development stretched across the gymnasium, beckoning undergraduates to other fields.

What kinds of employees are companies looking for this year?

Green Hills Software, of Santa Barbara, Calif., is looking for computer science or electrical engineers who love to write code. “It’s a small company so if you see a problem and you want to solve it, no one is going to stand in your way,” said Michael Lindahl who graduated with an electrical engineering degree from Princeton in 2001 and was manning the Green Hills booth.

Kevin Faaborg, of New York City-based LimeWire — which of late has been in the file-sharing limelight — said his company also was looking for programmers who are quick studies and willing to learn. “We’re very innovative and a great place to work,” he said.

While programming skills were much in demand at the fair, recruiters sought a wide range of engineering talents.

Sharon Dubow, a captain in the U.S. Marines, said she was looking to recruit military pilots. “A science and engineering background is not necessary but it’s beneficial,” she said.

Apex Technology, of South Plainfield, N.J., was recruiting people from a variety of backgrounds, said company president Sarvesh Kurmar Dharayan. “We are looking for systems engineering analysts and we are willing to train,” he said. “For international students who need sponsorship we are willing to process all the necessary paperwork.”

The job fair, which took place Oct. 13, was organized by Princeton Engineering’s Undergraduate Affairs Office. Peter Bogucki, associate dean for undergraduate affairs, credits Vanessa Ross and Sharon Kulik with making the event a success. Bogucki said that this year’s fair included a number of long-time exhibitors but also a wide range of new exhibitors.

“The fair is a great opportunity for companies and students to get to know each other,” said Bogucki. “But of course students have opportunities throughout the year as companies continue to visit campus to recruit or do ‘virtual’ recruiting through their websites.”

Some recruiters were showcasing internships as well as job opportunities. David Sparrow ’69, of the Alexandria, Va.-based Institute for Defense Analyses, said that he was looking for interns with a strong quantitative backgrounds as well as individuals with strong curiosity and interdisciplinary interests. The institute sponsors 30 paid interns a year.

Many of the recruiters were Princeton grads themselves but Elysium Digital, a technology litigation consulting firm based in Cambridge, Ma., quite likely boasts the largest percentage of Princeton grads for an exhibiting company. More than half of the company’s 12 employees are Princeton grads, according to Christian Hicks ’97, who started the company shortly before graduation with Peter Creath ’97. One of Elysium’s first clients was computer science professor Edward Felten, who hired the company to do research for his testimony in the U.S. v. Microsoft case in 1998 and ’99.

“This is not a duck-your-head into a lab kind of job,” said Hicks. “We’re looking for voracious problem solvers who want to do something new every day.”

Maggie Lechleitner, human resources manager of Clark Construction in Bethesda, Md., manned her company’s booth with Sandeep “Sandy” Murthy, who graduated last year from Princeton with a degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering. Lechleitner described Clark Construction, which does large-scale projects, as a “coat-and-tie” kind of place.

Who would she like to hire? “In general the engineering mentality works well in construction problem solving, and we are especially looking for engineers who can think outside of the box,” she said. “Basically, we would like 15 more Princeton grads who are just like Sandy.”

Participants in the 2006 Science and Technology Job Fair

ALK Technologies
Apex Technology Group
Boeing Defense Company
Bridgewater Associates
CarMax Corporate
CIA Employment Center
Clark Construction
Commvault Systems
Elysium Digital
Environ International Corporation
Ford Motor Company
General Electric Global Research Corp.
Gilbane Building Company
Glaxo Smith Kline
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Green Hills Software
GSK Pharmaceuticals/GlaxoSmithKline
Hardesty & Hanover
Hensel Phelps Construction
Institute for Defense Analyses
Integra Life Sciences
Johnson & Johnson IMLDP Program
Lime Wire
Lucent Technologies
Merck & Co.
Microsoft Corporation
MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Murex North America
Navigant Consulting
NRG Energy
NYC Dept of Buildings
Oracle Corporation
Parsons Brinkeroff
PPL Corporation
Princeton Consultants
Right Media
Rockefeller University
Sandia National Laboratories
Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
T. Rowe Price
Teach for America
Terra Technology
The Open Planning Project
Transform Pharmaceuticals
Turner Construction
United States Marine Officer Program
US Patent & Trademark
Werum Software Systems
ZS Associates