It is usually exciting to work through the anticipation of what kind of group we are going to find when visiting a school for a MEET a Champion session. Focusing on the underserved, but covering the entire range, our team gets to experience the different settings, and consistently we get to live at least a wonderful experience of those students who, when offered an opportunity illuminate the room with their skills and personalities.
Today we visited Madison Middle School, in Hialeah, Florida, where Glenda Castro, a microbiologist at Johnson and Johnson, and one of our Career Champions, told a class of over 40 students her story. Glenda moved to the US after obtaining a Masters degree in microbiology from a university in Mexico, where she is originally from, and after hard work and continuous adjustments to the language and the culture she managed to secure an exciting and fulfilling career with one of the top pharmaceuticals in the world.
Glenda spoke to the class about how achieving her dreams and goals was not a challenge free path. She also told the more than 40 students in the class what she had to study to become a microbiologist, and discussed what her day to day life was at work. Glenda showed us a video on how drugs are developed in pharmaceuticals, and also shared the personal side of her story.
After Glenda’s presentation the students had an opportunity to reflect on what they had learned, and using our Spark toolset wrote ebooks that captured her conversation with us, and at the same time incorporated some of the student’s own dreams and aspirations.
The one wonderful experience the team is bringing home after our MEET a Champion session at Madison Middle School today is one student, who after paying close attention to Glenda, completing a contest-winning ebook, engaged in a software development conversation with me, his career aspiration, that developed into the student downloading a python development environment and starting to code.
I have no doubt that if we each help one kid, in addition to our own, to see beyond the limitations of his/her environment and the available information, the world will soon become a better place. Specially if we ask them to pay it forward once they start achieving their career milestones.
Genius Career is our career exploration program, and MEET a Champion virtually brings accomplished professionals to classrooms, so students can listen to their stories, get a sense for what it takes to pursue such career, and understand that although probably facing some challenges, we can all aspire to, and achieve fulfilling careers.