The Things to Come
Science-minded students treated to special career fair
Students at Atkins Academic and Technology High School were shown the opportunities that await those who master the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum that the school specializes in.
A career fair last Thursday evening brought employers, colleges and organizations to the school to show students the paths they can take with a STEM background.
“For our students that come tonight, their focus is to say ‘What’s beyond high school?’” said Atkins’ Kevin Hamilton, who organized the fair along with Terry Howerton and Monika Vasili. The event was open to students system-wide.
Adam Helmus displayed a truck horn and seat components from Volvo North America’s Greensboro location, where the engineering, sales and marketing departments for the company’s heavy truck manufacturing division are based.
“A lot of trucks go for 100,000 miles a year, 150,000 miles a year,” said Helmus. “It takes a lot of science to keep them that reliable.”
A half dozen Caterpillar employees were on hand from the company’s new Winston-Salem site, where components of mining trucks are assembled, tested and painted. Shawn Meck, Caterpillar’s machining factory manager, said that so far, the company has not had any problems finding local skilled employees; he added that Caterpillar wants to make sure that continues in the future.
“We want to start at the lowest level or the youngest level possible to begin stemming the interest, letting people know there is opportunity in manufacturing, in engineering,” he said.
School Board Member John Davenport was on hand, wearing his professional hat. He owns a transportation and traffic engineering firm. He hoped that his local roots would serve as an inspiration to the students.
“I think it’s important that they see the different aspects…the connection between the education piece and the outcome,” he said.
Tenth-grader Asia Davis was fascinated by the display of Digital Design and Modeling, a local company that uses Computer Numeric Control (CNC) technology to turn 3-D computer models into real-life molds used to create everything from statues to unmanned aircraft.
Joshua Hannaford, a 10th grader who is interested in 3-D animation, graphics and web design, said the fair reminded him that he is on the right career path.
“It just more affirms that I’m pretty sure I know where I want to go,” he said.
Other companies on hand included B/E Aerospace, a national company that makes cabin interior products for airplanes; local drug developer Targacept Pharmaceuticals; healthcare device supplier Cook Medical; and Carolina Liquid Chemistries Corp, a local company that offers chemistry supplies and services.
NC A&T State University, Wake Forest University, Forsyth Technical Community College and Winston-Salem State University also sent representatives, as did the Institute of
Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the health care organization Code Blue and North Carolina Biotechnology Center–Piedmont Triad Region. Principal Joe Childers said the fairs are a good way of keeping his students focused and excited about the future.
“We know that most good paying jobs that are out there today that are readily accessible are for people who have training in STEM careers,” he said.