What do athletic trainer, musician, video game artist, pediatrician, forensic science technician, mathematician, emergency medical technician, veterinarian, computer hardware engineer, multimedia artist, and administrative services manager have in common? They are all career possibilities explored by 7th graders as part of a career quest program facilitated by a partnership among Early College at the Richmond Schools, Ivy Tech, and the IU Campus East Library. Jackie Schlichte (Early College Director), Latrisha Jackson (Early College instructor and IU East graduate student), and Heidi Huff (IU East Library Instruction Coordinator) worked with 7th graders throughout the Spring semester to develop their research skills and focus on targeted information to help them make informed decisions about potential career choices. The culminating project was a powerpoint presentation that highlighted essential content such as skills and education needed for the career, potential livelihood, and interesting aspects and challenges of the chosen career.
Heidi created a resource guide for the students and developed a “Smarties’ Career Quest.” Students produced Wordle tag clouds as a brainstorming activity and accessed information at Learn More Indiana where they also completed the Career Clickers interest inventory. Students then looked at Career Profiles based on their inventory and then repeated the process with a career of their choosing that was not indicated in their inventory profile. They also used the Occupational Outlook Handbook and completed a research information document on which they organized the information about careers and included accurate citations, which they learned about through formal instruction and using OWL as a resource.
Their presentations were evaluated by Early College faculty and IU East Library services coordinator Mandi Moning and instruction coordinator Heidi Huff. After their formal presentations, students discussed their own and their peers’ research, including questions such as “What did you learn, were you surprised, do you still want to pursue this career?” Many students didn’t realize how much education was needed. They also learned the importance of basic skills like public speaking, punctuality, time management, getting along with others, etc. Also, some mentioned they didn’t realize how many schools in Indiana offered what they were interested in, so the Career Quest project opened options for them.
As is evident from these photos these middle school students took seriously their learning responsibility to research career possibilities. IU East Library welcome partnerships that help prepare current K-12 students for a higher education that can lead them to achieving their goals.