Career conversations come to Redwood

Matthew Friend

Anthony Bourke and Ken Steele both spoke in the College and Career Center last week
Anthony Bourke and Ken Steele both spoke in the College and Career Center last week

Almost one semester after the inception of the College and Career Center’s career conversations, Counselor Paula Vantrease said she is pleased with the results she sees.

“Lots of parents signed up, which we were happy to see,” Vantrease said. “Hopefully next year we’ll have even more parents interested in speaking, and more students will know about the speakers and attend.”

The lunchtime speaker series was proposed by PTSA member Ellen Eissler to give students the opportunity to ask questions about fields they hope to enter or learn about professions they might never have otherwise known existed.

Parent volunteers from a broad range of fields come to the College and Career Center as often as twice a week to share their experiences in the workforce. This week’s volunteers, Anthony Bourke and Ken Steele, spoke about their lives as an Air Force fighter pilot and a veterinarian, respectively.

“The goal is for parents to come in and share general information about their work,” Vantrease said. “Students want to know how they became interested in their fields, how they decided to pursue their career choices, and what their experience has been like.”

Although the speakers are announced in emails to teachers, the daily bulletin, and in front of the library, Vantrease said she worries that students aren’t very aware of when speakers are coming or what they will be sharing.

“The events are really hit or miss, because sometimes students just don’t realize they’re happening,” Vantrease said. “We’ve had times when no students come in at all, and I think the maximum was 17.”

The career conversations, which are planned around the school’s schedule to avoid minimum days and national testing days, will run until the end of May. The next speaker, Sanjeev Kuman, will be sharing his experiences in finance on Friday, April 5.