Palo Alto High School will be hosting its eighth annual Career Month during the first two weeks of March, an event in which students will be given the opportunity to listen to guest speakers and learn about a wide range of career possibilities.
The speaker series will take place in the library at lunch, where pizza and other foods will be provided for students. Speakers will cover a number of topics, including what a typical day at their jobs looks like, and how they came to choose their specific career path.
Christina Owens, Paly Community Service and Career Advisor, is facilitating the speaker series alongside a committee of senior student leaders. The committee consists of Co-Chairs Jeanette Wong and Priya Misner, Co-Directors of Operations Minyoung Kim and Allison Zhang and Business Manager Zach Segal.
After putting out a survey and reflecting on past Career Months, the student leaders decided to put a heavier emphasis on careers in the arts this year.
“[We’re trying] to get more speakers related to arts,” Kim said. “Last year, I think most speakers were STEM related and didn’t have as many variety of speakers, so this year we tried to make it half-half.”
The first week of speakers, Feb. 29 through March 4, will include Musae Choir Director Ben Johns, former Google Engineering Senior Vice President Alan Eustace, Pinterest Qualitative Researcher Altay Sendil and eight other speakers.
The second week of speakers, March 7 through March 10, will include GeneWeve Chief Technical Officer Diego Rey, DreamWorks Story Board Artist and Animator Rob Koo as well as seven other speakers, one of which is a surprise guest in professional sports.
Career Month uses Jim Harbaugh’s words — “Follow your passion with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind” — as its motto to inspire students and expose them to new career paths.
“We think it’s important for students to hear from people who are actually working in the field about their career and what they do,” Kim said. “We also bring in many speakers so that students learn about new career fields they may not have known before.”
Career Month not only teaches students about different occupations, but also creates an opportunity for students to network with people currently in the work force.
“[Career Month helps students] to create that new connection and provide opportunities for them to ask the speakers any questions they have directly.” Kim said.
Last year’s Career Month included speakers from professions such as surgery, art, engineering and counseling. There were also two featured special speakers: Edward Zuckerberg, a dentist and social media consultant, and Jaime Waydo, an engineer working on the Google driverless car.
Career Month serves as more than an educational experience. To some, the presentations are also entertaining.
“I like going to see some really cool speakers who have some odd stories to tell,” senior Katie Francis said. “I think most of the jobs can get pretty into tech work or obscure jobs. They try to go for the speakers who are interesting.”
Each year, Career Month exposes students to an array of professions, inspiring students to pursue careers that embody not only what they love to do and what they are good at but also what the world values.