Western Environmental
Testing Laboratory
Galena High School Career Fair 2015

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.

 

WETLab's booth to demonstrate a Laboratory Scientist career path.

WETLab’s booth to demonstrate a Laboratory Scientist career path.

 

Each year, Galena High School hosts a Career Fair for its sophomore students. The goal of the career fair is to expose 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 jobs including education, how they got to where they are, volunteer service, the importance of networking and more.

Starting the day early at Galena High School, our group set up displays. We had pamphlets with pictures of the lab, a beaker filled with concentrated beet juice and an Erlenmeyer flask with diluted beet juice to show a small portion of lab processes. Most importantly, we had the WETLAB mascot, a Labrador, with its personal protective gear on to demonstrate the importance of safety and to show that science can be fun. These items provided visuals for the kids and were used during our presentations. We engaged the students by asking questions about their own interests and discussing how there are many different and exciting careers in the scientific field.

The first groups of students did not have many questions, but had a genuine interest in a diverse range of careers in the scientific community. The later groups were more vocal and asked questions ranging from work hours, how often we dealt with the public and the amount of technology available to work with. We hope we sparked some interest and motivation in the children that are our future.

We presented to six groups of sophomore students for 20 minutes each. We talked about what WETLAB does and why our business is so important. Most students seemed fairly knowledgeable about water quality and the need for testing in Nevada, as well as locally here in the Truckee Basin. Each of us discussed our education and work history as well as provided suggestions for volunteering and networking. With different backgrounds and career paths, the students got to hear our individual perspectives and learn about the 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 stick with your studies, despite the challenges, because in the end, a career in science is very rewarding.

While it will be a few years before these kids enter the workforce, their desire for a career in science and the level of interest is encouraging. Our industry has a promising future if we continue to feed young minds and encourage them, teaching them how to deal with challenges and overcome obstacles to pursue what is important to them. Hopefully, networking in a more intimate setting plants the seed that will inspire them to grow toward their goals, prepare for higher education and gain crucial career experience.