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Career Month speaker series in full swing

For the ninth time in Palo Alto High School history, the annual Career Month will be held from Feb. 28 to March 9 during lunch in the English Writing Center and Library Conference Room.

The two-week speaker series will feature an array of presentations by professionals working in fields ranging from art to Indian dance to civil engineering. Like previous years, pizza and burrito lunches will be provided for the first 250 students in attendance every day.

“Our goal is to ​provide students an opportunity to explore different jobs, and learn about the journeys of successful adults and what their experiences were like when they were our age and in college,” said Stella Wan, President of the Career Month club. “Our goal is also to encourage students to pursue what ​intrigues​ them, and to give them an in-person connection with adults who have found fulfilment in their work.”

In October, the six-person Career Month committee began to plan for the event. However, as the previous year’s team consisted of all seniors and just one sophomore member, the new team operated with minimal guidance.

“All the students who organized this event last year graduated and I was the only one left,” Wan said. “[Former Paly Career Advisor and Community Service Coordinator] Ms. [Christina] Owen also does not work at Paly anymore, so we had no guidance from teachers. It seemed really, really hard to make it happen again from my point of view.”

However, once a team of organizers — comprised of juniors Tilak Misner, Stella Wan and Jerry Yang and sophomores Yue Shi, Ashley Wang and Maggie Yan — was formed, their preparation progressed with few complications.

“I decided to recruit my team and talked with the administrators about making it happen again,” Wan said. “My team was able to help me invite speakers and publicize this event, and the administrators were supportive and helped me solve a lot of problems [such as] food.”

As for the speakers, the committee looked to find a group of diverse professionals in both STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and humanities fields.

“We first brainstormed different fields and people we know who work in those fields and we reached out to them,” Wan said. “Then, we emailed Paly Link and ask for suggestions.”

Paly students across all grade levels are excited to hear from another set of engaging speakers in a broad range of careers.

“The speakers are always really informative, and it’s a good opportunity to broaden your horizons about post-Paly options,” junior Frances Zhuang said. “It’s always been fun to hear from great people in different fields, and I can’t wait to hear the speakers this year.”

necessarily as well known or talked about on campus,” Keller said. “It also allows you to ask more specific questions to colleges that you are interested in.”

To take full advantage of the college fair, Steve Munger, Director of College Counselling at the John Cooper School, advises that students come with a set agenda.

“You can’t walk around like you’re in a shopping mall,” Munger said. “Set up a game plan. Then you won’t waste your time on institutions that may or may not fit your needs.”

Students will also be able to attend workshops separately, which will be held in the dance studio at Gunn while the fair is going on.  The first workshop covers the college admission essay, while the second is a Financial Aid presentation given by Karen Cooper, Associate Dean and Director of Financial Aid at Stanford University.

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