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Sandy Journal

Mt. Jordan Eighth-Graders Learn About Careers

Jun 13, 2016 08:27AM ● By Julie Slama

Loveland Living Planet Aquarium keeper/trainer Karli Healy suggested Mt. Jordan Middle School students begin learning about careers, volunteering and studying college programs to help them pursue their interests. Here, she shows tools used to help train animals at the aquarium. — Julie Slama

By Julie Slama |  [email protected]

Mt. Jordan eighth-grader Cherlyn Sharp is thinking of possibly earning a degree in biotechnology, but definitely in the science field.

That interest propelled her into making choices to listen to four guest speakers who have jobs in those areas during the school’s second annual “Pizza with a Professional” career fair that offered eighth graders an opportunity to learn about fields from marketing to audio-visual technology.

“We want students to get broad, diverse information about careers which they may not know a lot about,” school counselor Whitney Bates said.

School counselor Melissa Baker said students prepared questions for the speakers, such as to describe day-to-day responsibilities, pros and cons of the career and classes they should take to prepare for their careers.

Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Kristopher Cope gave students advice about entering law enforcement.

“Students should know to keep up with their school work, hang with a good group of friends and learn to follow rules. It’s important students realize they need to make smart choices now,” he said.

Cope said his English classes have helped with reading and writing reports as well as gym class since he has to be physically fit. He suggested students earn a degree in communications, psychology or criminal justice.

Third-year dental students at the Roseman University of Health Sciences talked about dental hygiene as well as tips to enter the field.

“If students play instruments or are very artistic, they will become skilled and meticulous with their hands so that is very helpful to the field,” dental student Eddie Lee said, who became interested in the field after helping at a Costa Rican dental clinic.

Dental student Greg Kang suggested job shadowing and volunteering.

“It will give you an idea if this career is something that truly interests you,” he said.

That is partially how Karli Healy, a Loveland Living Planet Aquarium keeper/trainer, entered her field.

“I was an intern when I realized this is exactly what I’d like to do,” she said. “I love my job. It’s fun to swim with the penguins and sharks, feed the otters, train the parrots, but there is a lot of work that people don’t often realize. We do a lot of research on the animals, we learn how we can stimulate and enrich their lives. We know their behaviors, how they may respond, what to do if they’re sick, come take care of them at all hours,” she said.

She suggests students begin learning about the career, volunteering and studying college programs to help them pursue the field.

That’s the same advice chef Tom Woodbury gave students.

“Decide your passion, do what you can to learn about it, work hard and figure out how you can earn money at it to make it your career,” he said.

As a chef for infomercials, he combined his passion for cooking with the desire to be on television.

“I was an unpaid intern at a radio station, vacuuming, emptying trash when I got my break to do the talk show Sunday mornings on an oldie country station. It was a stepping stone. At the same time, I worked in a steak restaurant from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., cooking them high-end meals. I did everything to learn back then,” he said.

A break came for Woodbury when he went to work for a company that sold supplies and was given a shot to sell their product on TV. It evolved into the television hiring him to sell items, and he eventually jumped at the opportunity to sell cooking products.

“If I were giving advice to my eighth-grade self, I’d ask the question, ‘What thoughts pop into your head?’ and ‘How can I make money doing this?’” he said.

The passion message came across to eighth-grader Jewel Burgener.

“I like kids and helping people, so I’m thinking about being a pediatrician,” Jewel said.

Classmate Joselyn Kump added, “As long as it’s our passion, I learned that the work will be worth it.”

Math teacher Michele Snyder said she hopes students take the professionals’ advice seriously.

“It can help them think about the future, see what options are out there and look where their education can lead them,” she said.