Power Lunch Gives SHHS Students Career Insights

Many high school students have dreams and career goals they hope to realize.

A Career Awareness Power Lunch kicked off April 2014 when Sleepy Hollow High School and the Kids’ Club of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow teamed to give students the inside track about various careers. Each of the five panels to date covered a spectrum of industries and was co-sponsored by Viana Pizza in Sleepy Hollow.

Earlier this month Career Coordinator Janet Longo-Abinanti and Kids’ Club representative Anita Suchdeo included professionals in advertising, engineering, communications and finance.

“Some female students want to be engineers, and I felt this would be beneficial,” Longo-Abinanti said.

NNYB intern Ishmael Mejia addresses SHHS students/NNYB

NNYB intern Ishmael Mejia addresses SHHS students/NNYB

Returning to his former high school, Manhattan College junior Ishmael Mejia, 21, spoke about structural engineering and how his internship with the New NY Bridge project complements his studies.

Mejia “fell in love with building and structural design by working with my parents, who are both architects,” he said. “To this day they keep ‘engineering’ my outlook on life and everything I do.”

Students often wonder how to connect their textbook to their experiences.

“Being a part of this project has put the theory I have learned in the classroom to work,” the 2012 SHHS graduate said. “Concepts on the chalkboard are now made out of real steel and concrete.”

Special Project Advisor Brian Conybeare, part of the five-member panel, spoke highly of the intern. “Ishmael is a valuable member of the New NY Bridge community outreach team and his personal story was very inspiring for the students at his alma mater,” he said.

His experience at the Community Outreach Center in Tarrytown gave Mejia “a new perspective on the engineer’s ability to shape lives as I interact with the community on a day-to-day basis.”

“That he is a recent Sleepy Hollow High School graduate allowed the students to see a part of themselves in him and possibly get a glimpse of what their own future could look like with similar hard work and dedication,” Conybeare said.

Helena Tam discusses her engineering career & path/NNYB

Helena Tam discusses her engineering career & path/NNYB

Project engineer Helena Tam worked for HDR, Inc. and left the company to start a travel planning business she continued after rejoining HDR three years ago to work on the bridge project.

Michael “Mac” McLaurin of Fifteen Degrees, a branding and promotional agency, and wealth advisor Craig Laub also spoke with the students. Hearing their various their experiences opened the teenagers’ eyes, Longo-Abinanti said. “Everyone had interesting stories about where they started and jobs they had.”

“Always brand your work at school, at home and at your job,” Mejia said. “Let everybody know you did it. No matter what you do in life — hopefully something you love — own yourself to it.”

Editorial Note: I worked in several fields and had a variety of jobs (including four weeks as a debt collector) while keeping my sights on a writing/reporting career.

“Biker in Search of Another Excursion,” detailing a college student’s coast-to-coast trip (my first bylined article and written while a college intern at The Reporter Dispatch) earned me a Third Place Gannett Student Writing Award from Women in Communications, Inc. (1981).

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

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