We here at WETLAB are proud of our continued involvement in the community. That involvement takes many different forms, recently including helping to inspire young minds to be interested in science. Below, four WETLABbers share their experience presenting at a local high school’s career day.
Career Day at Galena High School: April 23, 2015
-Jennifer Delaney, AJ Lewis, Maiya Greenwood and Cory Baker-
Each year, Galena High School hosts a Career Fair for its sophomore students. The career fair exposes students to the possibilities and realities of a successful career path. Sophomores are invited because 10th grade is often the point at which they begin looking into colleges and potential career interests. Professionals from various backgrounds participate as speakers, teaching kids about their careers, their educations, how they got to where they are, volunteer services, the importance of networking and more.
WETLAB is now a veteran of this event, as this was our second year participating. We met early at Galena High School to set up the displays at our booth. We had pamphlets with pictures of the lab, Erlenmeyer flasks with concentrated and dilute green slime, yellow and red acid vials to represent Nitric and Sulfuric Acid, a specimen cup with pink solution to simulate the presence of CN (properly labeled on the cup), and a tiny volumetric flask dyed blue to simulate the presence of MBAS. Most importantly, we had the WETLAB mascot, the Labrador, wearing its personal protective gear to demonstrate proper PPE and to show that science can be fun. These visuals helped to engage the students by prompting questions that led to discussions about their own interests and the breadth of scientific study and career paths.
We presented to six groups of students for 20 minutes each. First we introduced what WETLAB does and the importance of our business. Most students seemed knowledgeable about the importance of water quality and the need for environmental testing in Nevada, as well as locally here in the Truckee Basin. Next, we each described our educational backgrounds, work experiences, and the importance of networking and volunteering. With different backgrounds and career paths, students were able to hear our individual perspectives and learn about our unique experiences that led us to our current careers. This helped to emphasize that there is more than one way to find an interesting and fulfilling career if you follow your passion. While we all had varying messages, the resonating theme was to work hard, build a professional network, ask for help along the way, and keep your doors open to different opportunities.
It will be a few years before these kids enter the workforce, but their desire for a career in science and their level of interest is encouraging. Our industry has a promising future if we continue to feed and encourage young minds, teach them how to overcome challenges, and pursue what is important to them. Hopefully, networking in a more intimate setting plants the seed that will inspire our future workforce to grow and work towards their goals, prepare for higher education, and gain crucial career experience.