The Herald Bulletin

September 13, 2013

In pursuit of a profession

Career fair exposes students to occupational opportunities

By Traci L. Moyer
The Herald Bulletin

ELWOOD, Ind. — Krystyna Thompson needs one question answered before she makes a final career decision.

“I tend to have a bit of a weak stomach,” said Thompson, 17. “I want a job I can enjoy, so I want to know if my stomach will keep me from being a radiologist.”

Seeking answers, Thompson took her question to the Madison County Career Expo this week.

Bob Reed, administrative director of radiology for Community Hospital Anderson, had Thompson's answer.

“I would say no. It won’t be a problem,” Reed said.

Hundreds of students and their parents attended the Madison County Education Coalition to observe a mock courtroom trial, perform a simulated surgical procedure and talk with experts in a variety of career fields.

Thompson, a Frankton student, said her mother and two aunts are in the medical field but no one is in radiology. She said she job shadowed a radiology technologist last year for a research paper and found herself fascinated by the technology.

Thompson explained to Reed that she does not get queasy, she just does not care for needles and she can feel the pinch when she sees others getting shots.

“We would not want you to care for people if you did not have compassion for them,” Reed said. “Your heart has to be in it.”

Reed also strongly discouraged Thompson from limiting herself by focusing exclusively on ultrasounds or other jobs because of her needle aversion.

“You don’t want to be expendable,” he said. “When times get tough, you want to be as valuable as possible.”

Thompson said Reed was very helpful and feels confident that radiology is the career she wants to pursue.

"I really think I can get over it," she said. "I'm really starting to think it might just be mind over matter."

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a record 21.8 million students will attend American colleges and universities this semester, constituting an increase of about 6.5 million since fall 2000. With competitive enrollment at higher education institutions and the cost of attending college on a constant rise, high school students and their parents are looking for the best investment with the highest return.

Antoinette Sargent, of Anderson, attended the expo with her 13-year-old daughter Hailey to shop for the best career. Before attending the event, Sargent said her daughter was considering being a pharmacist. After talking to experts at the career fair she said there were opportunities that might be a better fit.

“We skipped the firefighters,” the mother said. "That’s too much like work. She is going to use her brain power.”

Sargent said she would also like to see the expo be held more than once a year.

“Kids change their minds so often, it would be nice,” she said. “My husband and I went to work because we had to work – she can choose.”

Haley Jetty, 15, of Elwood, said she wants to pursue a career in engineering or mechanics, but learning about all the possible opportunities would make a final career decision more overwhelming.

“I think it makes it a little harder,” she said. “I’m scared of making the wrong decision because I decided to do what I want to do and not what people tell me I should do.”

Several people said they were surprised by the different experts at the expo, but a few attendees had suggestions to make the event better.

Kaya Goetz, 16, of Elwood, said she would like them to add more college representatives next year.

“I need to pick one soon,” Goetz said.

Like Traci L. Moyer on Facebook and follow her @moyyer on Twitter, or call 648-4250.