Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Students gain career insights from Corps, USCG during Shadow Day

Students listen to Jacob Prebianca, St. Louis District co-op
student as he describes what the Water Control office does.
(Photo by Lafayette HS Student Shadow Brendan Donahue)
By  Mary Tomlinson,
Eureka High School Student Shadow

As Students from the Rockwood School District Career Shadowing Program waited anxiously in the lobby of the Robert A. Young Federal Building in St. Louis, Mo., the morning of Nov. 4, 2011, similar thoughts ran rapidly through their heads: What should they expect? Who would their shadow be? Would they gain anything from this full day of shadowing? Seven hours and one informative experience later, those questions no longer lingered and even more had been answered.

More than 30 students from four Rockwood School District high schools took time out of their busy schedules to shadow professionals from a variety of careers within the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard. The careers ranged from civil engineers and architects to attorneys and graphic designers.

Col. Chris Hall, the Corps’ St. Louis District commander and one of the civil engineering career experts, said the experience was “a great opportunity for a glimpse of a career.” “Your involvement as citizens will help shape the Corps' priorities. The things you learn about today, the projects and plans we’re working on, are all rooted in the voice of your parents and any voting Americans.

Mary interviews Commander of the St. Louis
District Col. Chris Hall as part of her shadow day experience.
(Photo by Lafayette HS Student Shadow Brendan Donahue)
The colonel’s shadow, Meghan Pregler, a junior at Lafayette High School, shared the colonel’s opinion on the productiveness of the program. She said it expanded her knowledge of her desired career and that she learned about “the different pieces that make up civil engineering.”

“I especially enjoyed getting a glimpse into the world of civil engineering and seeing how it affects the community,” Pregler said.

Just as civil engineering has a direct impact on the community, Shadow Day had a direct impact on the students’ lives. Chief Warrant Officer Brandon Hansen of the Coast Guard, though he wasn’t directly involved in the shadowing, still realized the importance of the day. Hansen helped to arrange for nine students to work with members of the Coast Guard.

“The great thing about Shadow Day,” Hansen expressed, “is its ability to identify the right career path or to point out the wrong career path.”

At the end of the day, students walked away embodying Hansen’s belief. Shadow Day gave students a first-hand look at potential career fields and answered questions that couldn’t have been answered any other way. It helped prepare them for the real world and has the potential to be a valuable experience to look back upon.

Students from the Rockwood School District talk about their career
aspirations during shadow day with the St. Louis District and
the U.S. Coast Guard.
(Video by Public Affairs Specialist Romanda Walker and Lafayette HS
Student Shadow Brian McKanna)

Editor’s Note: This article and its associated content were created by students in the Rockwood School District during their Shadow Day experience with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers St. Louis District’s Public Affairs Office November 4, 2011.  (Author: Mary Tomlinson, Photographer: Brendan Donahue and Videographer: Brian McKanna)

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