The Free Press, Mankato, MN

April 3, 2013

Sophomores get introduction to various careers at civic center

By Amanda Dyslin
Free Press Staff Writer

MANKATO — When you’re 15 or 16, you’re not supposed to know what you want to be when you grow up. And many sophomores at the Career Day event Wednesday at the Verizon Wireless Center didn’t.

The reps from the dozens of businesses and organizations totally got that, so the vibe of the day was simply to plant seeds of interest for career fields in the students’ minds and let them grow over time.

Arianna Cerritos of St. Peter High School was one of those students who wanted to check out a variety of things. She plays guitar, so learning about South Central College’s engineering program that teaches students how to make fully functional electric guitars was pretty cool, she said.

She also spent a great deal of time with Kim Latzke, a graphic designer at The Occasions Group, to play around with Photoshop and put together an image of a water-side cityscape at night.

Chad Strauss, product design manager with the company, said students today know what Photoshop is and are fairly familiar with the program. What he was most happy to see Wednesday was an interest in creative writing, which is an important part of the business at The Occasions Group.

“It’s been a moot topic in the past,” he said.

Ryan Braulick, district conservationist with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, said he’s also seen changes in student interest and background over the past few years. Meeting with students who grew up on farms is becoming less common, and those kids have typically been the ones to continue on in the family business.

As such, farmers are becoming fewer and farms are becoming much bigger, he said.

Just across the way from Braulick’s booth, Jacob Ehret, a paramedic intern at South Central College, was one of various second-year interns talking to students about Gold Cross and emergency medical services.

Ehret said a lot of students were just following friends along to different booths, but he said the hope is that some of the information they gave Wednesday will sink in and create interest in the field.

Sarah Haynes and a few of her friends from Madelia High School visited the booth. Unlike a lot of sophomores, Haynes has a handle on her career aspirations, at least in a broad sense.

“I want to go into the medical field,” Haynes said.

Judging from her steady composure when the interns described and demonstrated on a fake leg how to insert an IV into the soft tissue of a tibia, Haynes is headed in the right direction.

Other career fields represented ranged from the Department of Natural Resources to radio broadcasting to photography.