Students given look at career options
Finding a career option that best suits oneself is a difficult thing to do. Luckily, the annual Rotary Career Day helps students better prepare themselves for their future career interests.
This year, 18 students from Rhinelander High School and Northwoods Community Secondary School were given an opportunity to learn more about the career options that are available to them.
The Rhinelander Rotary Club and School District of Rhinelander organized the event.
The Rotary Club first hosted the students for lunch at the Claridge before the students separated into smaller groups for their career education opportunities. The businesses and community organizations that hosted students included Grace Lodge, the Nicolet College counseling, information technology, education and web design departments, Stoxen’s Pharmacy, the Rhinelander Police Department, Spine & Sport and Animal Health Care North Veterinary Clinic. Students who attend this trip were encouraged to dress and act professionally.
“I was pretty excited to hear that we could do something like this through school,” said RHS senior Coty Skinner, who was spending time learning about law enforcement from Rhinelander Police Chief and Rotarian Mike Steffes. “I’ve already applied for the law enforcement program at Nicolet, but I’ve never had the chance to do a job shadow before. This is cool.”
Bryce Richardson, another senior at RHS, was also learning about law enforcement at the Rhinelander Police Department. She said that while she has an interest in police work, she’s keeping her options open.
“I saw this as an opportunity to explore what was out there a little bit,” she said. “I knew that police officers arrested people who break the law, but there’s a lot more to it.” Both Skinner and Richardson were hoping for the opportunity to accompany Steffes on a emergency call during their time spent at the PD.
Steffes said he chose to volunteer for career day because it gives him another opportunity to show the police department in a positive light in the community.
“We’ve done this here ever since I joined the Rotary Club in 2007, and I’ve seen several students that participated in the event move on with law enforcement after high school,” said Steffes. “It’s only a few hours, but sometimes that’s all it takes to plant that seed in a student’s head.”
Four of the students had the opportunity to examine careers in physical therapy, led by Rotarian and Spine & Sport owner Tim Thorsen. For Thorsen, who’s business has participated in Career Day for 13 years, it is an opportunity to educate students on what a real life work environment looks like, and also gives him the chance to share an interest he’s especially passionate about.
“For students thinking about what career choices they have, opportunities like this are very important,” said Thorsen. “I’ve had several students here over the years who have went on to become physical therapists. Programs like this are a great way for our students to get out and learn about what’s available in their own community.”
For Shane White, a junior at RHS, an interest in physical therapy comes naturally.
“I play several sports, and have had a few injuries that required physical therapy,” said White. “I’ve come here a lot as a patient of Tim’s, and he’s really gotten me interested in looking at this. I want a career where I can help people, and Tim does that every day.”
Jensen, a senior at RHS, also wants a career where he gets to help people. Already a volunteer firefighter, Jensen has participated in job shadowing programs in the past with the Rhinelander Fire Department and Ambulance Service, and would also like to shadow a Rhinelander police officer. He said he chose to visit Spine and Sport because if he goes to school to become a paramedic, he wanted to have some knowledge of physical therapy.
“This kind of program is a great opportunity to learn about careers that you may not have thought much about before, too,” said Jensen. “I like seeing how the doctors interact with their patients.”
In her address to the Rotary Club last week, Club President Kyle Gruening pointed out that her family is proof positive of the kind of effect the Career Day program can have on a student. Her daughter, Kayci, shadowed Corky Stoxen of Stoxen’s Pharamcy several years ago, and based largely on that experience, she decided to pursue a career as a pharmacist. She served as an pharmacy intern over the summer with Ministry Health Care, and is enrolled in the pharmacy program at Carroll University.
“Don’t ever think that programs like these won’t mean anything to the students,” said Gruening. “It is such a great opportunity to see how their interests translate in the real world.”
The students at Spine & Sport got the rare opportunity to see Thorsen work with one of his patients who was experiencing lower back pain. Throughout the appointment both Thorsen and the patient interacted with the students, answering questions and asking some of their own.
“In this trade, coming up with the right prognosis is a lot like putting together a puzzle,” explained Thorsen to the students. “For most therapists, interest began in high school and built from there. Giving students the opportunity to see these careers in real life is so valuable.”