SGA Hosts First Career Day Event | Communities

SGA hosted Whitman’s first ever Career Day event in the Commons last Thursday and Friday. The program brought together parents working in various career fields to talk about their pursuits and professional journeys.

The event covers four sessions over two days. It was held during second and third periods on Thursday and fourth and fifth periods on Friday, featuring 15 speakers who work in fields ranging from sports broadcasting to law enforcement. Students pre-registered for the program and received an excused absence from class to attend.

SGA leadership team member Era Kerimi, senior, proposed the event last year while serving as president of the business leadership club, DECA. The extracurricular program focuses on career development and hosts events for students to learn about working in the field.

“I understood this after hearing [professionals’] stories through DECA business panels, I knew I had a role in SGA to help not only DECA members, but many other students who would love to have this opportunity,” Kerimi wrote in a text message to The Black & White.

Each session began with speakers sharing a one- to two-minute “pitch” that summarized their professions and briefly explained the experiences that led them to their chosen career paths. The student organizers then gave the floor to the students to ask questions of the speakers.

During the event, students learned about the experiences of professionals and gathered advice that they could use in their future careers.

“I visited to learn more about different careers,” junior Ella Kaplan said. “I like being able to ask questions at the end of different types of people so I can figure out what I want to do.”

Amazon Emergency Services manager Dinesh Patil, a former Montgomery County police officer, said he spoke at the event to highlight the impact of pursuing a career in law enforcement and the responsibilities that come with the job, he said. During his career, Patil recognized the significant ways in which the police contribute to the social needs of the community.

“It can be daunting trying to figure out how you’re getting to your goal,” Patil said. “Hearing different people talk about what their own journey has been, what steps they’ve taken [and] maybe even if you were brave and stepped outside of what might be the norm, I think you could achieve a lot of growth through other people’s experiences.

In addition to answering questions about their careers, the lead parents gave advice to the students in pursuing their own career ambitions.

FDA Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist Yulia Yasinskaya encouraged students to learn from new experiences and make the most of opportunities that arise.

“Keep your eyes open; opportunities are always coming,” Yasinskaya said. “You may be set for one trip, but for interactions with other people and opportunities that come your way [can change that] “

During the opening and Q&A portion of the event, many speakers revealed that their happiness and success came as a result of finding a career they were passionate about. According to Kaplan, students left Career Day with a clear takeaway: pursue a career you love.

For Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Leonhardt, a senior writer for the New York Times, it’s important that students don’t feel pressured to make a career decision just yet. He advised students to take advantage of the wide range of course offerings at Whitman, explore their interests and keep an open mind.

“Try to find something that you really like to do, not something that you think you should do or that your parents say you should do,” Leonhardt said in an interview. “You don’t have to know what you want to do when you’re 18.”

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