Approximately 40 business leaders from 28 different career fields arrived at Corning Community College (CCC) on the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 9, to offer career guidance to high school students during the sixth annual Sophomore Career Day.
The educational event was sponsored in part by the Corning Foundation and was coordinated by Career Development Council Program Coordinators, Cindy Dubots and Sue Strack. Co-Chairs for Career Day included Corning-Painted Post High School’s Executive Principal, Robin Sheehan, Assistant Principal, Nick Kapral, and Guidance Counselor, Patrick Clark.
“Sophomore Career Day is a stepping-stone to job exploration for Corning-Painted Post High School sophomores. It aims to give students an understanding of the educational steps necessary to achieve future occupation goals,” said Sue Strack, a representative from the Career Development Council, who coordinated the event.
Professionals in fields ranging from accounting to veterinary services volunteered to participate in the Career Day that brought more than 375 Corning-Painted Post High School students and chaperones to CCC’s Spencer Hill campus.
Each career area and its professionals were designated a room in the College’s Classroom Building or Learning Center, where they performed three, 30-minute presentations on their job experiences for different groups of students.
WETM-TV’s 18 News Today co-host, Samantha Lantz, represented the journalism and broadcasting field, offering the sophomores an inside-look at her personal, educational, and professional broadcast experience.
“I’m very honest in my presentations when I talk about my experiences. I think this day is important because it gives students a very realistic look at many different careers,” Lantz said.
Mary Franklin, the representative for the education field, utilized students’ time with PowerPoint presentations to break stereotypes about teachers, explaining their common tasks and sharing certification requirements to become an educator.
She said, “There are a lot of changes happening in education, and there are a lot of dimensions. I hope my presentations encouraged students to consider pursuing jobs as educators.”
Many of the business leaders, like Dr. Charles Fontana of the Elmira Psychiatric Center, had realistic discussions with students about starting salaries and what to expect when entering their chosen fields. Other leaders in areas such as graphic design and culinary arts chose to involve the sophomores in more visual, hands-on presentations.
Ultimately, Sophomore Career Day encouraged students to sharpen their interests, make career choices, and think about their futures in broad perspectives. In addition, they were often urged to move out of their comfort zones.
This idea was reinforced with a quote printed on the back of the Sophomore Career Day pamphlet from the popular musician, Jon Bon Jovi: “Don’t get too comfortable with who you are at any given time—you may miss the opportunity to become who you want to be.”
Individuals representing career fields from area businesses included the following:
- Accounting/Finance: Keith Orfanides (ServU Credit Union)
- Architecture: Jeff Robbins (Hunt Engineers)
- Auto Technology Jason Stanbro and Brian Halm (CCC Auto Programs)
- Building Trades: Jean Houston and Brian McGurgan (Welliver)
- Business Ownership: Barry Nicholson (Pure Design)
- Business Communications: Yvette Sterbenk (Ithaca College)
- Computer Science: Aaron Kreamer (GST BOCES)
- Computer Technologies: Keith Vandegrift (CFCU)
- Cosmetology: Alyssa Akins and Leah White (Regis Salon)
- Dentistry: Dr. Dennis Vargas (Corning Dental Associates)
- Education: Mary Franklin (retiree of C-PP School District)
- Engineering/Technologies: Bryan Mannel (Corning Incorporated)
- Food Service/Culinary Arts: Burt Beebe and students (GST BOCES)
- Forensics/Investigation: Eric Hurd and Jason Fifield (NYS Police)
- Graphic Design: Sandi Fortune and Zach Burczynski (CFCU)
- Heavy Equipment: David DeJong and Alan Neally (Neally-DeJong Co.)
- Journalism/Broadcasting: Samantha Lantz (WETM-TV)
- Law Enforcement: Brianne Lesperance (NYS Police)
- Lawyer & Paralegal: Shana Robertson (Steuben County Courts)
- Machinist and Welding: Jerry Smith and Timothy Kriner (Dresser Rand) and Cheryl Barton (CCC Welding Program)
- Military: Sgt. Jacob Hetterly (U.S. Army) and Sgt. Jason Welch (U.S. Marines)
- Nursing: Jennifer Hepinger (Guthrie)
- Performing Arts/MusicL: John Kelly (Elmira College)
- Pharmacy: Mary Hopson (Guthrie) and Christie Wilkinson (pharmacy student)
- Physical Therapy/AT: Paige Farrell and Sydney Folk (Guthrie Healthworks)
- Physician/Physician Assistant: Dr. Christopher Fucito and Diane Legendre (Guthrie)
- Psychology/Social Work: Dr. Charles Fontana (Elmira Psychiatric Center)
- Veterinarian/Vet Tech: Darlene Squires (Bath Veterinary Hospital)