Career Day at South Middle School

Seventh and Eighth grade Extended Learning Program students attended a Career Day on April 30. Professionals from various backgrounds and fields were brought in to help students focus on developing the 21st Century Skills needed to contribute to society in the future.  Speakers were given about 35 minutes to talk with students about their profession.


Larry Lyon, Owner, Remodelworks and Mr. Fix It

Larry Lyon, Owner, Remodelworks and Mr. Fix It
Lyon is a self-employed remodeling contractor who started his business in 1996. His company began by specializing in home repairs but now has expanded into kitchen and bath remodeling. Lyon discussed career options in the construction industry including architecture, engineering and design.

A. J. Groathouse, Technology Manager, VP
Groathous is a technology manager with 30 people who report to him. His team’s primary function is to support the day-to-day operational needs of the Consumer Lending area within Wells Fargo. Typically, Groathouse works with the various operational areas (Fraud, Finance, Disputes) to automate as much daily work as possible.  Groathouse discussed how he utilizes a variety of coding languages, web pages and databases to support this function.

Laura Warner, Director of Sales
Warner has been the Director of Sales at the West Des Moines Marriott for 11 years. Her hotel career has provided her a front row seat as the hotel industry has transformed over the years. It’s through this experience and knowledge that she is able to oversee the sales efforts for the West Des Moines Marriott, as well as the marketing for the “sister properties” SpringHill Suites by Marriott and Fairfield Inn & Suites also located in West Des Moines. Warner discussed basic operations of the hotel business and what it takes to be a leader in the market.

Nikki Spence, Director of Financial Reporting, Principal Real Estate Investor
Spence is a Certified Public Accountant more commonly known as CPA. She discussed why students should choose accounting. After a brief presentation, participants individually completed a short, on-line assessment called Build Your FutureMe to see what types of accounting careers fit their personal interests.

Dr. Idit Hazan, Professor of Biology, Grand View University

Dr. Idit Hazan, Professor of Biology, Grand View University
Hazan received her undergraduate degree in Food engineering and biotechnology in the Technion, Israel institute of Technology in 1994 and her PhD in Biological sciences from The University of California, Irvine in 2002. 
In 2004, she came to Iowa to become faculty member at Grand View University where she has been teaching genetics, molecular biology and biotechnology ever since. Hazan discussed genetics, traits and biotechnology. 
Why do some of us have blue eyes and some brown? Why is some people’s hair curly and others straight? Why do some of us have perfect musical pitch and others excel in sports? Why are some of us thrill seekers and others coffee drinkers? Why are we similar to our brothers and sisters in some characteristics, yet different in others? How does this tie in with our health? 
…and what does this have to do with growing corn in Iowa?

Carol Meyer, Senior Actuary-Pricing at Principal Financial Group
An actuary is a business professional who analyzes the financial consequences of risk. Actuaries use mathematics, statistics and financial theory to study uncertain future events, especially those of concern to insurance and pension programs. They evaluate the likelihood of those events, design creative ways to reduce the likelihood and decrease the impact of adverse events that actually do occur. Meyer discussed the important role actuaries play as members of a management team and the a combination of skills required to manage programs that control risk.

Shannon Petersen, Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program
Physical therapy is an active profession. Physical therapists are healthcare professionals who work with people who have conditions that limit their ability to move and function in daily activities. Physical therapists diagnose problems with movement, help restore physical function, and prevent injuries. Peterson discussed the types of places a physical therapist can work, types of patients they work with and gave students a chance to try some muscle tests and exercises a physical thearapist may prescribe.

Becky Sjurson, Project Manager III

Becky Sjurson, Project Manager III

As a project manager, Sjurson ensures her teams have the resources necessary to complete their work. According to Sjurson, project manager must possess a combination of skills including the following: leadership, good communication, conflict resolution, negotiation, team building, listening and relationship management. Sjurson discussed the education paths that lead to project management and the types of certifications project managers usually earn. Students were also given the opportunity to complete an interactive skills assessment to determine if this a career was right for them.

560 Southeast University Avenue
Waukee, Iowa 50263
Phone 515.987.5161
Fax 515.987.2701