BENNINGTON >> Students in the Emerging Leaders program got the rare opportunity on Monday to sit down and have one-on-one conversations with professionals in fields they could find themselves in one day.
The Emerging Leaders program, which formed out of a partnership between the Community College of Vermont, Mount Anthony Union High School, the Southwest Vermont Career Development Center, and Burr and Burton Academy, gives high school sophomores and juniors a chance to learn essential life and career skills. The program meets weekly, and culminates with an internship with a local business of the students' choice over the summer.
On Monday, CCV invited 19 local professionals to come and speak with the students. During each 10-minute round, the professionals each spoke to an individual student, asking about their career aspirations, their experiences with the program, and what their plans were after high school. The students were able to pick the professionals' brains for career and college advice. "It's designed to be a conversation," said Jeannie Jenkins, CCV Bennington's coordinator of academic services, who is also one of the coordinators of the Emerging Leaders program.
Among those who were invited to speak to the students were Dimitri Garder of Global Z; Aaron Dickie of the Vermont Department of Labor; Vermont state representative Bill Botzow, who represents Pownal and Woodford; Jim Trimarchi, director of strategic planning at Southwestern Vermont Health Care; Mike O'Neil, controls manager at Abacus Automation; Natasha Littrell, owner of Crazy Russian Girls bakery; Mark Anders, transportation planner at the Bennington County Regional Commission; JJ Williams, of Williams Financial Management; Jen Loyd-Pain, director of One World Conservation Center; Gail Cohen, nurse practitioner at the Molly Stark Early Essential Education Program; Kelly Clarke, of Centerline Architects; Brian Campion, state senator from Bennington; Deana Mallory, director of public programs at Bennington Museum; Angeline Conte, counselor at MAUHS; Brooke Remington, school to work coordinator at MAUHS; Katelyn Gleason, of the English department at MAUHS; Jody Schade, on the English faculty at CCV; and Neil Havlak, from Kaman Aerospace.
Jenkins said that students and advisors had sat down with the student's career plans that they had made, and discussed which of the professionals they should talk to. In the first three rounds, partnerships were pre-determined, then for the final two rounds, students could choose who they wanted to speak with. Jenkins pointing out one student who wanted to go into animation. Her pre-selected interviews included Clarke and Mallory, said Jenkins, to give her some other ideas about what can be accomplished with a little artistic creavity. "No one's path is straight, so exploring broadly is important," she said.
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.