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Professionals introduce Mt. Jordan sixth-graders to careers

Feb 22, 2017 12:24PM ● Published by Julie Slama

Law enforcement sergeant Ray Loken shows students animal skins of some of the animals he is in contact with during his daily routine with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | Julie@mycityjournals.com
 
Several hands shot up when nurse and dietitian Susan Lindberg asked Mt. Jordan sixth-graders how many servings are in a Twix candy bar.
 
The answer, four, may have surprised some students, along with learning there are 500 calories.
 
Lindberg, along with wildlife officer Ray Loken and videographer and entrepreneur Parker Walbeck, shared some insights of their jobs with students during a career assembly.
 
“We want all sixth-graders to have the opportunity to have a career exploration lesson and this assembly is designed to open their eyes to careers,” said Lisa Willis, work-based learning facilitator. “Many of the kids already know about their parents’ and family members’ careers, but this will let them see what else is out there and get them excited about planning their future.”
 
Lindberg, who currently is a health-care educator after serving for years as a nurse and dietitian, advises students to study so they will learn more and be better educated.
 
“In this field, the more education you have, the better you will get paid,” she said.
 
Education is something that Utah Division of Wildlife Resources law enforcement sergeant Ray Loken emphasized.
 
“When I was in school, I was lazy and I didn’t take much science and didn’t like math and English,” he said. “It was hard when I went to college and had to catch up.”
 
For those interested in careers with animals, he suggested taking the same classes in college he didn’t study much in middle and high school, plus wildlife courses.
 
“English is important because all areas in the Division of Wildlife Resources require writing reports,” he said.
 
He said he discovered his passion for wanting to work with wildlife and in the outdoors when he was a Boy Scout working on merit badges.
 
“Everyday there’s a new adventure. I’m doing different things every day from animal rescue to counting elk, moose and bighorn sheep to tranquilizing and moving animals from danger,” he said. “I’d encourage you to think about this if you love animals and the out-of-doors. It’s a career you won’t regret. Find something you love and then, pursue it.”
 
An Alta High graduate, Walbeck echoes that sentiment after being a door-to-door salesman.
 
“You know that annoying guy who comes to your door, trying to sell you something you don’t want?” he asked students. “That was me. I was miserable. And I decided right then and there, that I don’t want to do something I don’t like just to earn money. So I quit.”
 
Walbeck, who knew a little about photography, ended up buying camera equipment after watching devinsupertramp videos. Then, he spent weeks teaching himself how to make videos from watching YouTube videos.
 
“I went to Southern Utah University and when I was there, there was a school paint dance party. I didn’t see anyone around so I posed myself as a videographer and started filming. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I looked confident. ‘Fake it ‘til you make it’ is how I approached it. Afterward, I shared the video with everyone and the administration called me down and offered me an administration scholarship as director of cinematography for the rest of the year,” he said.
 
Walbeck advised students to take risks.
 
“Put yourself out there. See if people like your work,” he said.
 
Later, he filmed devinsupertramp videos for four years, traveling to 20 countries.
 
“I told him I may not be as experienced as others, but I’ll work harder and be more passionate about it than anyone else on earth,” he said. “It takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice, but if you’re passionate about it, you’ll love what you do.”
 
Walbeck recently quit working with him and started his own company, Fulltime Filmmaker, where he teaches others the tools of his trade.
 
“Look for clarity in your life. If you know what your passion is, what you like, then you’ll be willing to work hard and be the best at it. Don’t be one of the 70 percent who hate their jobs,” he said.
 
Sixth-grader Frankie Burt learned from the speakers.
 
“I learned that if you have a passion, then make it your job, just like he did,” she said. “I learned what it takes to do these kinds of jobs.”
 
Health, physical education and keyboarding teacher Scott Dwyer said he hopes students start thinking about what classes they want to take now as well as in high school.
 
“They’re learning about skills and classes they need to take now to be successful in their futures,” he said. “We want kids to start experimenting now in what interests them so they will know about possible careers.”
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