By Penny Powell
SJR State hosts Clay County Career Day
Over 200 Clay County high school students recently visited the Orange Park campus of St. Johns River State College to participate in Career Day and learn about the College’s career and technical programs. It was the College’s nursing lab that left the biggest impression on Amber Price, an 18-year-old student from Clay High School.
Shocked by the real-life nature of the mannequin patients, Price said, "It made me a little nervous that something like that could be so realistic.” While the nursing lab aligns with Price’s aspiration to become a surgeon, she also has an interest in computer sciences, like her dad. Price appreciated the technology tour stop introducing her to career paths she was unaware of, such as virtual technology.
SJR State career and technical education advisor Jennifer Griner, who coordinated the tour, said, “We set up all program stops to be hands-on and engaging. I wanted to show students how our degrees are used in practice and real-world situations, putting the real-word practice into a perspective that they could understand.”
Like Price, 17-year-old Gaspar Jeanty, who attends Oakleaf High School and aspires to become an anesthesiologist, was fascinated by the College’s nursing lab. Realizing that there's so much more to learn about the programs he was exposed to on Career Day, Jeanty’s advice to his peers is to research what appealed to them most. "There's always more information out there to find," he said. "Look further into it!"
Jeanty added that participating in college tours not only broadens students’ minds, but also has the potential to change their minds about future occupations. It’s a great reason to take advantage of attending college tours while in high school, he said.
Career Day helped to ‘seal the deal’ for Jake Frisbee and his career choice after visiting the engineering technology tour stop and learning about the apprenticeship opportunity connected to the program. “That means I can get my basic engineering training while also having a bit of a job,” said Frisbee. “Or I can just go straight into one of the specializations.”
Frisbee, 18, is enrolled in the Health Academy at Orange Park High School. Both his father and brother recently graduated from SJR State’s nursing program, but Frisbee has had his sights set on biomedical engineering. "I've always wanted to go into biomedical engineering,” he said.
While Frisbee enjoyed the opportunity to explore “all the cool (engineering technology) equipment,” he advises his high school peers to also pay close attention to other useful information provided during the tour, such as the apprenticeship opportunity.
In addition to Clay, Oakleaf and Orange Park high schools, other schools participating in the tours included Fleming Island, Middleburg, Ridgeview, and Keystone Heights high schools, as well as Clay Pace Center for Girls and AMIkids Clay.
The students also attended a Job Fair at the College’s Thrasher-Horne Center. Business participants included Modis, Northeast Florida Builders Association, Electrical Training Alliance, Trad’s Pest Control & Garden Center, Carlton Construction, Jacksonville Plumbers and Pipefitters Apprenticeship Training, Trad’s Garden Center, Clary & Associates, Florida National Guard, Clay County Board of Commissioners, Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Allstar Irrigation Company, Petticoat Schmitt Civil Contractors, Liberty Ambulance Service, Citi Bank, Orange Park Medical Center, Wantman Group Engineering, and W.W. Gay Mechanical Contractor.
“All of the employers that came out were business partners with Clay County schools, and they did an amazing job showcasing their businesses,” said Griner. “Our staff, faculty and student volunteers also did a fantastic job providing insight to the students and guiding them through the tour.”
Students wrapped up their time on campus with lunch and returned to their respective high schools with full stomachs and their minds full of new ideas for future careers.
For more information about SJR State and the College’s career and technical programs, visit SJRstate.edu.
SJR State instructor Robert Frank explains to Clay County school students how to operate robotic equipment at the Engineering Technology tour stop during "Career Day" at St. Johns River State College
Clay County high school students listen to the heartbeat of a mannequin patient in the nursing lab at St. Johns River State College. More than 200 students visited the College to participate in “Career Day.”
St. Johns River State College nursing professor Charlene Velasco observes as Clay County high school students listen to the heartbeat of a mannequin patient in the College's nursing lab on "Career Day.”
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