Deering Students Explore Careers through Job Shadows

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Sixteen students at Deering High School fanned out across Portland in December to visit workplaces and explore professions such as law, journalism and health care.

The Deering job shadow day is one of several events in the Portland Public Schools that help students learn about careers matching their interests.  Pathways to Success is providing high school students with internships, career coaching and other extended learning opportunities at local businesses and community organizations.

Three Deering students visited the “Portland Press Herald” for their job shadow.  Over lunch, they discussed the challenges and perks of working for a newspaper with staff members Eric Russell, Gabe Souza and Aimsel Ponti.

“I learned so much about the work associated with the press - such as the importance of asking particularly good questions and the need to appear human in interviews, meaning understanding and respectful,” one student wrote afterward.  “The importance of being prepared was also highlighted.”

Mercy Hospital hosted five Deering students for job shadows.  They were placed in departments throughout the hospital. 

“One of the things that I liked the most was how welcoming everyone was that worked in the department and how they explained everything to me step by step,” one student commented.  “I liked connecting with the people before surgery and seeing them laugh.  It wasn’t too crazy in there and everyone had everything under control.”

Another student said the highlight was “talking and learning about X-rays and CT scans - I saw a brain!”

Deering students also shadowed a Portland police officer, lawyers at the Conservation Law Foundation and a speech therapist and kindergarten teacher at Longfellow Elementary School. 

Two students met at Unum with Cary Olson-Cartwright, director of corporate social responsibility, Steve Alpren, community relations consultant, and Susan Austin, senior community relations consultant.  One of the students is interested in investigative work; he took a tour with Gary Agger, a Unum senior investigator.  The other student, who hopes to own her own restaurant, met with Mary O’Clair of Aramark, the food services company, and Matt Purington, Unum’s director of group life products and owner of the Portland restaurant, Local 188. 

In their evaluation forms, students said that they met “some very kind and interesting people” through the job shadows.  One student wrote, “I liked how they shared the challenges they faced when they first started out.”  All of the students said they would recommend a job shadow experience to another high school student.    

Whitney Adell, a Deering High School student, shadowed Portland Police Officer Stacey Gagnon to learn about her job.  Cary Olson-Cartwright, Unum's director of corporate social responsibility, with Deering student during the school's job shadow day