As part of the Geneva 2020 initiative, nearly a dozen professionals from throughout the community hosted Geneva High School students for job shadowing experiences.
The program, held on Wednesday, April 16, gave students a view of careers across a number of professions, including graphic design, law, radio news media, educational administration and the nonprofit sector. The program was organized by the HWS Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL) in partnership with the Geneva City School District.
“Career readiness is an important part of the Geneva 2020 initiative,” says CCESL Director Katie Flowers. “Today, ninth-grade students from Geneva High School had the opportunity to learn about careers from community members who are engaged in Geneva 2020. This was ‘collective impact’ in action, students finished the job shadowing experiences knowing more about prospective careers, and equally important, that their success in school is important to all of us.”
In addition to the job shadowing day, HWS recently hosted ninth graders as part of a Geneva 2020 program that provides an informative look at college life.
During the job shadowing day, students spent the morning at host workplaces, learning about the day-to-day duties of their mentors. Students also learned how to apply coursework to leadership and internships with professional advice from the Salisbury Center for Career Service and Professional Development.
Following the morning activities, students and mentors were invited to a special luncheon at the HWS President’s House before returning home.
Community members who hosted students include: Colleen Aiezza, adjunct instructor at Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC); Teresa and Dennis Angelo of In House Graphic Design; Ted Baker of the Finger Lakes Radio Group; Timothy Buckley, esq., supervising city judge; Melissa Rapini French, owner of Blink, Permanent Cosmetics and Beauty Bar; Marc F. Fuchs, associate professor of viticulture and enology, Cornell University/New York State Agricultural Experiment Station; William F. McGowan, esq.; Trina Newton, superintendent of schools, and Heather Swanson, public information officer; attorney Mark A. Venuti of the Law Offices of Heaton and Venuti; attorney Eliza G. Heaton of of the Law Offices of Heaton and Venuti; Virginia Torruella of Legal Services of the Finger Lakes; Mike Rusinko, assistant vice president at Lyons National Bank; Mark D. Gearan, president of Hobart and William Smith; and the Colleges’ communications office.
“As educators, we hope the best for all of our students,” Newton says. “We want to see each of them go on to a rewarding career and fulfilling life. Providing them with a strong educational background is a key piece of that picture, but so is real world experience. While some young people know from an early age which career is right for them, many need time to test their options and develop their dreams — that’s what makes job shadowing day so important. Students need the opportunity to experience the different choices available to them; they need to know that with the right combination of education, motivation and inspiration, the possibilities are endless. We are so grateful to Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva 2020 and all of the gracious hosts who took time out of their day to make such an experience possible.”
A longtime Geneva-based lawyer, McGowan and his job shadowing student explored a number of legal problems, giving the student a broader snapshot of what it’s like to be an attorney. McGowan says they drew up a will and examined abstract titles to see if a property was a safe buy. They also ran through a mock negotiation and contract signing between a land owner and a music production company.
“Whether a student is shadowing a plumber, a radio announcer or an attorney, I think this was a great opportunity for students to spend a day or part of a day observing what someone does and how they get their work done,” says McGowan. “I think it’s very helpful for a student to explore their career interests and what they may want to do.”
At FLCC, Adjunct Instructor and Geneva Campus Specialist Colleen Aiezza offered a view of what it’s like to work in higher education, introducing her job shadowing student to a range of occupations including faculty, administrators and other campus employees.
“The job shadowing program is a great idea,” says Aiezza. “It is a nice opportunity to start with ninth-grade students so that they can begin to plan ahead and explore different opportunities prior to going to college.”
The Geneva 2020 initiative is rooted in the collective impact model aimed directly at ensuring that low-income high school students in the local community have the skills necessary to graduate from high school and to effectively pursue college. The program has already helped move the local high school graduation rate from 70% in 2010 to 82% in 2013, and to increase the number of local high school students entering college from 74% in 2009 to 76% in 2013.
A gallery of photos from the Geneva 2020 Job Shadowing Day is viewable on the HWS Facebook Page.
In the photo above, Geneva ninth-grader Ethaina Tofiga shadows team members at In House Graphic Design.