Students explore options at Career Day

Published 7:22 am Friday, April 23, 2010

Austin High School junior Zandra Conner is pretty sure she wants to become a lawyer, but she’s still trying to figure out just how to do that.

Conner, along with nearly 1,000 area high school students, attended Career Day at Riverland Community College Thursday.

The students had chances to attend career presentations and sessions on volunteerism in the morning before spending the afternoon wandering through Riverland’s gym where 88 colleges were represented at a Minnesota Education Fair.

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“The goal is to help students with career exploration,” said Tricia Whalen, Career Day coordinator. “We want them to get excited about careers, and maybe even rule out some.”

More than 90 professionals from area businesses and industries put together about 30 presentations, of which students could select three to attend Thursday morning, Whalen said.

After which, she said, hopefully students would be prepared to go into the college fair so that they could seek out schools to meet their interests.

Career Day, which is in its 35th year at Riverland, had a couple new offerings this year, Whalen said.

There was a session on green careers as well as volunteerism, led by representatives from the Mower County and Albert Lea United Way offices.

“I’m having a good time checking all the schools out,” said Nikki Furland, an AHS junior who is considering going into social work.

Her friend, Kajaria Knox, AHS student, said she was on the lookout for schools with cosmetology programs.

“I just love to do hair. I’m pretty sure that’s what I want to do.”

Deb Vang, assistant director of admissions, coordinated the college fair and said though most of the schools represented are in the Midwest, there were some from as far away as the Grand Canyon.

“We want to help students find out what opportunities are out there. “

Conner said she is thinking about going to Riverland after graduating, and then maybe to the University of Minnesota.

“I really am kind of scared to go to college,” she said. “But, I know I’ll figure it out.”