Startups are back on campus: UW job fair brings out big crowd for internship and job opportunities


UW Startup Career & Internship Fair. (GeekWire photo / Julie Emory)

The Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship and CoMotion hosted the University of Washington Startup Career & Internship Fair this week for interested students seeking opportunities with up-and-coming startups.

More than 20 startups and organizations were represented at the event Wednesday afternoon at the Hub Ballroom, one of the first career fairs held in-person since the pandemic began in March 2020. This job fair was canceled in 2020 due to COVID and held virtually last year.

Many of the more than 500 students in attendance prepared copies of their resumes and donned suits. Some of the students even missed class to search for job opportunities.

The potential earnings in startups — with more than 900 were valued at least $1 billion in 2021 — contributed to the broad student appeal across degree programs, ranging from information management to marketing.

Sam Halabiya, a volunteer at SoundBio Labs. (GeekWire photo / Julie Emory)

Many of the startups at the event were biotech companies, indicative of the larger biotech boom in the Seattle area. Washington state biotech companies and research centers received $1.4 billion in funding from the National Institutes of Health in 2021. Around 94% of this funding went to Seattle-based biotech companies and research centers.

Some startups present were founded by current UW students, such as Proxi, which seeks to create accessible maps that are free to use and integrate into blogs and other websites.

Atweet from Melinda Haughey, one of the co-founders of Proxi, about the event.

Recruiters across the startup fair shared key takeaways about their organizations and what they’re looking for in candidates:

  • CoMotion Labs: Ashlee Esteban, associate director at CoMotion Labs, said that CoMotion can support startups with its incubators in hardware, life sciences, and software.
  • Proteios Technology: Bob Synder, co-founder of Proteios Technology, said the company is looking for candidates with prior lab experience outside of the classroom environment.
  • SoundBio Labs: Sam Halabiya, a SoundBio Labs volunteer, said the organization is currently looking for a full-time lab manager. There are a variety of opportunities for volunteers to get involved. Its community engagement committee, in particular, focuses on getting people from diverse backgrounds involved in science.
Cameron Cordray,senior research associate at A-Alpha Bio (GeekWire Photo / Julie Emory)
  • Parse Biosciences: Emily O’Connor, manager of manufacturing at Parse Biosciences, said the startup is seeking to hire individuals in almost all positions (from manufacturing to sales) at almost all levels.
  • A-Alpha Bio: Cameron Cordray, senior research associate at A-Alpha Bio, said the startup is hiring data scientists and entry level lab positions.


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