Jobs, and the Future of the Young People We Work With

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Going into my fellowship, I thought “oh cool, the EPA, lots of environmental type people with Birkenstocks—very crunchy, I’ll fit right in.”  Okay, so I WAS pretty spot on in some ways, but I quickly learned that there is so much more happening at the Environmental Protection Agency.  Throughout my three weeks at the agency, I was continually surprised by the career and job opportunities I encountered and shadowed.  Though my knowledge of career opportunities didn’t change, I gained insight into how far reaching specific fields of study are, and how much people can do with specific degrees.

One of the first things that I learned is that there are so many different types of engineering degrees, and even more jobs to go along with them.  When I used to think of engineering, I only thought of science-y and math-y things that were far outside of my scope of understanding; however, there is a lot more to it than that.  If I knew about environmental engineering when I was younger, I would definitely have had a different career path.  Additionally, I was very impressed with how this type of engineering played into Geography Information Systems, and mapping.  The type of services this kind of mapping provides informs large scale decision making in communities across the country.

In addition to this, I was also blown away by how far computer science and coding can get a person.  These degrees can and will get any one a job anywhere…and the face of computer science and coding looks way different from what I had imagined.  I am so impressed with what can be done on a computer, and what computer programs can simulate.  In addition to this, coding is the new face of research and experimentation.  This, above all else, is what I am sharing with the young people I work with; if they want job security, go into coding.

Another interesting group of people I got to work with were health and human services employees.  These people have backgrounds in medicine, policy, and communications, and I really got to see how versatile degrees in these areas are.  After spending time in a world outside of education, I am excited to share this experience with the young people I work with.  I know that a lot of juniors and seniors in high school don’t really know how to answer the question “what do you want to do when you graduate?” Hopefully, in sharing these experiences, I am able to show young people that there is an entire world for them to explore.  I kinda wish I had someone who could’ve shared all of this with me…that said, I’m know teaching is the right career for me, I will happily connect young people with their futures.