This blog post was written by Ashley Wulf.
As the excitement of summer begins to wind down, we find ourselves at a special time of year once again. The air is crisp, the leaves are beginning to fall, and stores are fully stocked with brightly colored notebooks and freshly sharpened pencils. At Interstates, we attend college career fairs and work with area high schools across the Midwest in an effort to connect with students interested pursuing careers in the engineering and electrical field. We also visit fourth graders in area elementary schools and give them a basic overview of what we do at Interstates. Attempting to explain our work to fourth graders may seem like a challenge. Yet, we feel this is an appropriate age because they quickly absorb what is going on around them and love to learn. By the time kids are in fourth grade, they already have the brain capacity to think about what they want to be when they grow up. Our interaction with fourth graders helps to give them an idea of what it would be like to have an electrical or engineering job. It allows them to dream about the subjects they are interested in and the types of work they may do someday. Overall, we believe it may spark an interest in something that could flourish into a bright career in the future.
With the success we’ve experienced with fourth grade classes, we may attempt to visit children even younger. It is truly amazing what young children are able to learn. For instance, my son who is in kindergarten is learning about 3D shapes, taking a computer class, and already working on addition and subtraction. When I think about kindergarten, images of the alphabet, juice boxes, and carpet squares come to mind. The education my son is currently receiving and the skills he is quickly picking up in kindergarten are highly impressive. Given the types of subjects being introduced to children at such young ages, I believe we could find success in visiting younger classes as well as fourth graders. Imagine if we visited first grade classes and introduced those students to new ideas on what they can be when they grow up. We could also work with schools to implement activities like Lego Mindstorms robots or Photoshop, that might spark interest in new subjects and ignite a passion for future careers.
What jobs did you dream about when you were young and what influenced your decision?