Written by Cynthia Paulis, firstname.lastname@example.org Saturday, 21 December 2013 00:00
The gymnasium at Massapequa High School played center court as students and professionals volleyed questions back and forth about career choices at the school’s 5th annual Career Day Futures Fair.
Forty booths representing such diverse careers as aviation, medicine, automotive, electrical engineering, culinary arts, banking law enforcement and more were set up for professionals to interact with students in grades 10 through 12. The goal of the event, created by Denise DeLury, career to education counselor and Susan Thompson, chairperson for career technology education, was to introduce students to the many different careers available to them and give them the opportunity to learn about the careers by speaking with those in the fields.
“This exposes students to different careers and they can talk to people who are actually doing the job and that is the best way to find out information about a career,” said DeLury. “They can give them advice on what classes to take in high school, what is the next step, are there any clubs they should be joining in high school, what skills do they need, what majors they need, what kind of colleges they should be going to. The students know what their parents do but there are so many career opportunities out there that they don’t know about and this will help them.”
One former Massapequan who graduated from Berner High School in 1975 and traveled down from upstate was Steven Herschbein, an electrical engineer with IBM microelectronics.
“My mission is to try to convince young people to look at STEM careers — science, technology, engineering and math,” he said. “There is still a tremendous opportunity in this country and truly a shortage of kids interested in this field. I think the reason being that between entertainment, sports and the other areas of the world that perhaps seem more interesting, it just discourages kids to take the hard road. Getting young women in this field is very difficult. As parents and educators I think we need to encourage young people, especially women, to take that tough road.”
One of the stars of the show was a robot built by Massapequa students. The robot zipped around the gym, lifted a dollar bill off of a table and then returned it to its rightful owner.
Brian Zaneck, a teacher in technology education, electricity, digital electronics, digital production and video photography, displayed two robots, one built by the robotics club and another by the principals of engineering class. The students built it and programmed it.
“Many of the students that built these robots are going into the different engineering and technology fields,” said Zaneck. “These are elective courses and can be used for college courses. Even though it tends to be a male dominated field, about a third of the class are girls. In fact this robot was built by a girl, Christina DeLucca and Kyle Sean were the pair that built it. There are a lot of scholarship opportunities available for the courses we offer. There is a lot of great job potential in these fields.”
The event, which lasted four hours, scored high marks with the students.
Students came away from the event with a new perspective on the careers out there in the real world. One of those students, 11th grader Jesse Nakashian, left with a newfound interest in electronics.
“I learned the controls of the robot, I learned how to bring things over, grab things, pick things up, bring things to other people,” said Nakashian. “I actually knew nothing about the robot originally and just by playing with it I learned all there is to know about it. I am interested in going into physical therapy, but now I am also interested in electronics.”
Ninth grader John Probst explained how each student interacted with the companies on had at the fair..
“We went to each table, wrote down the name of the company and what the responsibilities of the job were if I were to get that job. I would like to go into engineering,” said Probst. “I spoke with an environmental engineer and they go into water pipes underground and make sure that everything is working functionally and if something is wrong with it they would replace it.”
Probst’s friend David Levine said he learned a valuable lesson at the career fair — good grades really do matter.
“There are different colleges for different work forces and you need to get really good grades to get into most schools now,” said Levine.