MARQUETTE - Hundreds of high school juniors from around Marquette and Alger counties were in Marquette Friday for the annual Pathways to Your Future Career Day.
Sponsored by Northern Michigan University, the Lake Superior Community Partnership and the Marquette-Alger Regional Educational Service Agency, career day provided students the opportunity to hear presentations about different career paths.
"This is only the starting point," said Sandy Meyskins, one of the event organizers. "Talk to your parents, relatives, neighbors. Keeping their minds open."
About 700 high school juniors took part in the event this year, with presentations from 134 presenters arranged in small panels according to career path, from photography to law enforcement to medical fields.
Prior to Friday, students had the chance to request two presentations to attend based on careers that interested them. Panels were made up of local professionals who gave the students a first-hand account of how they got started in their careers, what helped them along the way and what their daily routine is, as well as helpful career advice.
One of the objectives of the career day is to expose students to possibilities within career paths.
During the photography session, local photographer Tom Buchkoe gave the students tips on everything from photographing events to starting his own postcard company.
"One of the fun things about photography is getting to have a front seat for some very interesting things," he said. "If your job isn't fun, then you don't have the right job."
In the therapeutic services section, the students got the chance to talk with occupational and physical therapists, trying out different activities to simulate having a physical handicap.
In the writing session, students who were interested in poetry or novels learned about specialized fields like technical writing.
"You never know where it's going to bring you," Emily Downs, director of regulatory and clinical affairs for Pioneer Surgical, said of writing.
Originally an engineer, Downs said she realized she enjoyed communicating more than actual designing, and has since worked to put together reports, instructions and other required documents for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of Pioneer Surgical products.
"It's given me a lot of career opportunities," Downs said. "You need to be diverse and willing to take a risk."
For students, Career Day is much more than a few hours off of their normal school work.
"They give you a ton of information about what you should do to get yourself to your career," said Aundrea Leader, 19, a student at the Ishpeming-Negaunee-NICE Community Schools. "Do something you're actually interested in, not what your friends want you to do."
Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.