Marisa Bruno found herself among dozens of prospective college graduates Friday morning at a Baltimore job fair, pumped up for a day of speed-dating-style interviews.
More than 100 students hoped to dazzle the founders of 55 startups on hand looking for help. The students were an elite group, having beaten out hundreds of others to win two-year fellowships through Venture for America, a program that places top college graduates in startups throughout the United States.
The organization’s goal is to create jobs and reverse the trend of declining youth entrepreneurship.
Venture for America looks for applicants like Bruno. The 22-year-old business and international studies senior at the University of Pennsylvania already had turned down a job offer from a big corporation.
“Startups are innovative in many ways and they represent the future,” Bruno said. “They’re solving problems we didn’t know we had.”
Bruno, who was preparing for nine 20-minute interviews Friday, said she decided against working at a large company because “it was a little too big and corporate and it didn’t feel impactful.”