Laurie Roule used to be a history teacher at STEM Middle Academy in Springfield, Mass. Then she decided to switch careers. And now she’s helping sixth, seventh, and eighth graders think about their careers as the academy’s City Connects coordinator.
“I taught eighth grade forever,” Roule says. “And eighth grade is when students choose what high school they want to go to. Kids usually just choose the most popular schools. So I thought it would be cool if they could be exposed to different careers, which might change their minds about where to go to high school.”
So Roule set up what has become an annual career fair, and she invites local professionals.
“I wanted the kids to know that there’s more out there than they’re aware of. And I want them to be curious and ask questions.”
“The people we invite to the fair have fun and love talking to the kids. So we have a lot of people who come back every year.”
That has included carpenters, electricians, firefighters who bring their truck, police officers, an archeologist, and a large animal veterinarian. Representatives from the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy have come as well as a nurse practitioner, paramedics, a physical therapist, crime scene investigators (CSI), a camera crew from Channel 40, a meteorologist from Channel 22, the director of a local music school, car detailers, and automotive technicians from Sarat Ford, a nearby dealership.
“When I went to high school, I was very interested in chemistry, but that wasn’t encouraged because I was a girl,” Roule says. “So I like to bring women in from many careers,” including a member of the CSI team. “I want the girls to know that they can go into any field they want to.”Continue reading “Sky’s the limit: Connecting kids to career options”