Following jobs gives students insight
Students from Kerr-Vance Academy are getting a glimpse of what employment is like as they shadow business professionals at locations from northern Virginia to Raleigh this week.
As part of the school’s Junior Shadow Project, 28 juniors were tasked with locating a professional to shadow for three days based on their given career interests.
Pierce Tooley, who hopes to pursue a career in the medical field, completed his shadow project weeks ago due to scheduling constraints based on the nature of his assignment.
Dr. Joel Goodwin II, director at the Raleigh campus of WakeMed, acted as Pierce’s mentor, providing him with the rare opportunity to observe an open-heart surgery.
“Dr. Goodwin said it was a once in a lifetime thing, to go into the surgery room,” Tooley said. “I got to see open heart surgery and laparoscopic surgeries where they poke holes and use cameras.”
Providing intensive care to surgical patients is routine for Goodwin, but as Pierce discovered, it’s only one aspect of his job.
“I got to see what they do when they’re not with a patient,” Tooley said. “I thought it was really cool to see the difference between seeing how a hospital works from a doctor’s perspective rather than as a visitor.”
For the students, exposure to a real work environment, from the perspective of a professional, allows them to better determine which career path they are suited for — one of the main goals of the program.
“I think we are all going to enjoy the experience, but we’ll come back and either know that’s what we really want to do, or not do at all,” said Beverly Foster, who shadowed Melissa Pelfrey, District Attorney for Halifax County. “Sometimes it looks good on the outside, but once you actually get in there, you may not like it.”
John Carr, a junior, thought he might have an interest in the field of pharmacy. After day one of shadowing Bill Tippett, pharmacist at Medical Arts Pharmacy in Henderson, he was more certain.
“I actually decided yes my first day, that that was something I really want to do,” Carr said. “I decided I’m probably going to go into the pharmacy field.”
During Kerr’s second day of shadowing Tippett, he was taken to Maria Parham Medical Center to see what a pharmacist’s role entails in a hospital setting.
“I wanted to make him aware that if retail pharmacy wasn’t for him, there are other aspects,” Tippett said.
Learning the various paths offered as a pharmacist helped Carr further determine which aspect he enjoyed most.
“They were both pretty exciting, but I thought behind the counter was cool, because people come up and talk to you,” Carr said. “Behind the counter is a lot more social, and you talk to the customer more and get to know them more.”
The shadowing experience at Medical Arts Pharmacy was enlightening for Carr, but also a pleasure for Tippett.
“It’s been a joy,” Tippett said. “I wish we would have had this when I was coming along so you could know possibilities for a career choice.”
Sue O’Leary, ninth and 11th grade English teacher at Kerr-Vance Academy, coordinates the project, which began last year.
“The response we received from students last year, the first year of the program, was extremely positive,” O’Leary said. “Building these relationships with adults that stretch beyond the classroom, teacher or athletic coach is one of the goals of this program as students transition into young adulthood.”
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