2007 May - Career Fuel2007 May - Career Fuel

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Issue:  May 2007
In This Issue:

Best Advice for High School Grads
Major Decisions
New Media and More
From Estonia, with Ambition
Resource Corner

Best Advice for High School Grads

Zip up those gowns and bobby-pin those mortarboards. You are graduating from high school! This is an amazing time of achievement-and uncertainty. What will the future hold now that you have to clean out your lockers for good? Some of you will go on to college or trade school, while others will go directly into the workforce. All of you will be making some exciting and scary choices in the next few years. Career Fuel strives with each monthly newsletter it publishes and each article it adds to the njnextstop.org website to help you make informed decisions about your lives after high school. Now we've called on educators and New Jersey high school and college grads to offer you their best advice to navigate the years ahead. Take a moment to read what they have to say-these words of wisdom come from people who have been there, done that. And from all of us to all of you-Congratulations, graduates!

Best Advice
You will be spending many years in the work force. Find your passion and follow it. If you enjoy waking up each morning and look forward to taking on the challenge of the day at work, you have hit a home run!
Jill Magidson
Science Academy at Morristown High School

Challenge yourself to try something new; you will always learn from your experience. Get through your college classes/courses and take them for what they are. It's not until you have some more life experience that you will understand the true lessons learned.
Katina M. Vassiliou
Events & Project Specialist
Ernst & Young
1998 Summit High School grad

Know that the process of making decisions is not always easy or fast. Take your time, think everything through and most importantly, make your decisions for yourself, not for others. In the end you are the only person accountable for the decisions you make.
Angela Dipaolo
2001 Howell High School grad
2007 Rider University grad

Whatever you decide to do right after high school feels weighty, but it's really just the next step. If it turns out that you don't like whatever that is-majoring in accounting, going to a small school in Nebraska, selling jeans at the mall-you can do something else. You can take a step in another direction.
Barbara Bretcko
English Professor
Raritan Valley Community College

A lot of scholarships are available to students. If you put your mind to it and work a little harder, it does a lot of help. Every single semester of school, I've had some kind of scholarship to help me pay my way.
Siiri Julianus
2007 New Jersey Institute of Technology grad

Continue your education in any way that works for you. Never stop learning.
Dana Egreczky
Business Coalition for Educational Excellence
New Jersey Chamber of Commerce

Don't be afraid to transfer. I originally wanted to attend the University of Delaware, but ended up spending my freshman year at Fairfield University in Connecticut. I worked hard to get good grades and then transferred to Delaware my sophomore year. I'm really happy with my decision.
Katy Drake
2005 Montgomery High School grad

Every theory of learning that I have ever read always comes to the same conclusion: the best way to learn is by doing. Imagine trying to learn how to use a computer or drive a car by reading a book. You couldn't do it. Read, learn AND do through apprenticeships and hands-on experience.
Henry Plotkin
Executive Director
New Jersey State Employment & Training Commission

Pursue a degree in something that you are passionate about. Success comes to those who are passionate and work hard when no one else wants to work.
E. Colfax
Research Science Teacher
Morristown High School

Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every single time we do fall-so that when we finally stand again, our colors are evermore clear and our desires are evermore reflective. Until we make peace with who we are, we will never be content with what we have. When making decisions you must consider what is always in your best interest, and your best interest should always be goal oriented and purpose driven.
Hezekiah Griggs III
HG3 Media
2006 Passaic High School grad

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Major Decisions

You've got the diploma in-hand and you're heading for college in the fall. You aren't sure what you want to study once you get there? Not to worry. It's perfectly natural for high school students to not yet have decided on a college major. Now's the time to start giving it some thought. We did a little digging, consulting the college experts involved with such organizations as the Ventures Scholars Program, a national nonprofit membership program designed to promote access to higher education for young adults interested in pursuing math- and science-based careers, and came up with some of the most important questions to ask yourself when choosing a college major.

  • Assess your interests. What types of things excite you? What careers appeal to you? You can also visit www.njnextstop.org and check out the "Career Clusters" on the homepage to draw connections between knowledge and careers.
  • Examine your abilities. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your top skills? Take a look at the subjects you took in high school and note where you excelled and what you enjoyed. Always remember, too, that college can be a fresh start.
  • Figure out what you value in work. Do you like to help society? Do you work well under pressure? Do you want to travel? Talk with your parents and/or as many people who have been in the workforce as possible to begin to understand some of the characteristics that help define jobs.
  • Keep an open mind. College is a time of change and personal development. Many freshmen enter as one person and emerge four or five years later much wiser and more mature. Be open-minded, seek mentors, utilize resources and explore options. You'll find your niche and have a whole lot of fun along the way.

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New Media and More

The economy is constantly changing and evolving as technology becomes more sophisticated and consumers more worldly. This means that the jobs and skills required to fuel the economy are also changing. Take, for instance, some of the latest news out of Warren County Community College in Northwest New Jersey's Washington Township. Beginning this fall, the college will offer a two-year associate in science degree in ecotourism. The degree is for students who want a career in the growing field of ecotourism with a focus on natural history and is designed so that students can later transfer into other related degree programs at four-year colleges. Ecotourism is nature-based tourism, often with an educational component. Eventually, graduates can get jobs as resort and park managers, environmental educators and wildlife guides, to name a few. Ecotourism is one of the newer majors for high school grads and college co-eds to consider. Fastweb.com, a resource for colleges, scholarships and jobs and internships, offers a list of other majors that didn't exist 10 years ago:

  • New Media-Majors that combine traditional journalism studies with course on the design and management of digital media
  • Biotechnology-The combo of biology and technology to solve agricultural, food science and medical issues.
  • Organic Agriculture-Meeting the needs of the nation's growing appetite for organic foods.
  • Homeland Security-Established since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, homeland security degrees involve everything from psychology to disaster relief.
  • E-Business/E-Marketing-Buy anything online lately? Usually a business school program, this major focuses on everything in Internet commerce.

Learn about five additional new majors by accessing this article online at www.njnextstop.org. Click on the "Show All" feature of the Lifeline column and click on "New Media and More."

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From Estonia, with Ambition

On May 17, Siiri Julianus, 26, of Iselin graduated from the New Jersey Institute of Technology with a graduate degree in architecture infrastructure planning. For Siiri, this important milestone was the result of a post-high school career and education path that took her on an amazing journey halfway around the world. Siiri is proof that, with ambition and hard work, dreams do come true.
When Siiri was 18 and just out of high school in her native Estonia, a small Eastern European country, she joined Au Pair in America as a way to travel to America to learn English. She was placed as a live-in nanny with a family in Princeton and began taking classes at Mercer County Community College. While Siiri started out as a humanities and social sciences major, it didn't take her long to realize her love for architecture. "I had a friend who suggested I take a class in architecture. I took one class and was sold," explains Siiri, who speaks six different languages. "I've always liked to draw, but I didn't really want to be an artist. I wanted to do something where I could calculate, think and measure. Once I took the architecture course, I knew this was my calling in life. It had a lot to do with the professors I had at the time. They were very inspiring."
Siiri graduated from Mercer County in 2003 with degrees in social sciences and architecture and continued on at NJIT, New Jersey's only four-year architecture school. Her transfer credits from Mercer enabled her to go for her NJIT undergrad and graduate degrees at the same time. She also realized the value of getting work experience along the way, first as an intern at CUH2A, one of the state's largest architecture firms in Princeton, and later at Posen Architects, a small firm based in Elizabeth where she now works full-time.
Siiri plans to return to Estonia for the first time in five years this summer. Ultimately, she will return for good. "I'd like to go back and have my own company, maybe in Estonia or somewhere in Europe, and use my urban planning background to work more with community. I do feel that a great future is waiting for me."

Read more about Siiri's educational journey in America at www.njnextstop.org. Click on the "Show All" feature of the Real People column and click on "Siiri Julianus." www.njnextstop.org

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Resource Corner

  • For more advice to high school grads from people who have been there, done that, visit www.realsimple.com/realsimple/content/skills/0,21770,1047658-2,00.html.
  • Read more about the Ventures Scholar Program at www.venturescholar.org.
  • Access information on Warren County Community College's Ecotourism major program at www.warren.edu or by calling Robert Sintich at (908) 835-2345.
  • Research scholarships, colleges and jobs and internships at www.fastweb.com, and more specifically, information on new majors at www.fastweb.com/fastweb/resources/articles/index/110381?id.
  • Learn more about studying at Mercer County Community College by visiting www.mccc.edu.
  • Find information on New Jersey Institute of Technology's architecture program and more at www.njit.edu.
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