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Students gain in sight from community speakers

By Andrew Duval Feb. 15, 2023

Quincy Han Art

On Tuesday morning, the GBA and Media Center filled with students eager to hear experienced professionals share life lessons, job advice and insight gained from years working in their respective industries. From Jan. 24 to 27, the school hosted its first-ever Career Week, inviting students to attend speaker panels centered on specific fields—including Education, Legal, Medical, Engineering, Business and Emergency Response—during tutorial. Career-oriented events are commonly held in local middle and high schools. However, at higher grade levels, greater importance is placed on it as students begin to delve deeper into possible career options by choosing classes geared towards their interests and signing up for courses offered at local community colleges.

The specialized panel featured business owner and winemaker Kim Engelhardt, news photographer Rudy Garcia, associate pastor Matt Hall and social media director Ashoorina Barreto. They each gave an introduction on the responsibilities their jobs entailed and the required level of education. Associated Student Body (ASB) member Senior Ethan Chang helped facilitate conversation between the students and the panel, asking questions to the speakers and calling on students with raised hands. The presenters also initiated discussions, inquiring whether a positive interaction with a teacher sparked an interest in education for any students.

“Hearing from the panel, I learned that it is never too late to switch to a new field even if it is different from what you studied in college. The Social Media Director stood out to me because she designed an entirely new position and taught herself the necessary skills to help advertise for a government agency. Attending Career Week and hearing the stories of industry professionals helped me gain greater reassurance and made me aware of the manifold career possibilities I can explore,” Senior Erica Song said.

The business presentations—which took place on Wednesday and Friday, were led by a global account executive, chief people officer, digital strategy lead and the co-founder of Palo Alto-based company Xage Security. They answered questions on a wide range of topics, such as how startups can differentiate themselves from other businesses, and explained what type of people their jobs might appeal to. For example, the chief people officer detailed how their job is fit for those who enjoy helping others and value an inclusive workplace environment. The speakers also shared valuable resources and internship and networking opportunities and offered tips for maintaining a work-life balance and setting priorities.

“I am more interested in going into engineering now, and attending all three engineering panels played a big role in that. They covered topics I was fascinated about like machine learning and artificial intelligence and biomedical engineering. Career Week was extremely beneficial; choosing what you want to do for the rest of your life is no easy task, and it helped direct me towards a career path best fit for me. And it is not everyday you can talk to a mechanical engineer lead from Cisco or a machine learning expert from Roku,” Sophomore Jeffrey Tseng said.

Career Week was organized by Activities Director Meg Walsh, along with ASB students Junior Rohan Talwar and Senior Kaily Yoshioka-Meonske. In August, Walsh began reaching out to the local community to gather professionals and figure out what careers students would be interested in learning about. There were concerns that there would not be enough volunteer speakers, so they utilized multiple channels to advertise—asking school staff to contact friends, sending newsletters and posting on Nextdoor and Facebook. In order to encourage student attendance, they promoted the event using posters, announcements over the school speakers and posts on the Chargers’ Instagram account.

Many students characterized the school’s first Career Week as informative and inspiring, noting that it offered them greater clarity and direction on their future career path and the realities of working within specific industries. In this era of widespread information proliferation regarding higher education and possible careers, students found it an invaluable experience to be able to connect with the speakers on a more personal, face-to-face level and receive specific advice relevant to their aspirations.


About the Contributors

Andrew Duval

Staff Writer

Andrew Duval is a freshman staff writer for The Charger Account. He spends his spare time surfing Wikipedia, reading, and editing videos.

Quincy Han


Quincy is a senior at Leland High School and an artist for The Charger Account. He likes to play video games and listen to Will Wood.

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