Falcons Figure Out Their Future With Career Day

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  • Career Days existed in the past, but didn’t happen for several years, including during COVID-19. However, the event was able to come back a year ago.

  • The keynote speech was given by Lupita Carabes ‘11 who is currently an Enterprise Application Security Executive for the company GitHub.

  • “It’s nice to see the diversity of speakers and the diversity of students and all the different things that they’ve done in their careers after they leave La Salle,” Ms. Crimmins said.

  • While freshmen were away at a class retreat, and sophomores had a Career Day reflection in homeroom, juniors and seniors saw a presentation from Mr. Hollingshead on how to cultivate a strong online presence for the job market.

  • Emily Griffin, a La Salle alum, OB-GYN, and assistant professor at OHSU, hopes that “students can be exposed to a whole number of things and meet people and see career opportunities that they hadn’t really thought were a thing for them,” she said.

  • Alum Brett Bollier ‘09 is a filmmaker and director of photography who works for an agency in Seattle that often does various shoots for big tech companies. Although the path to becoming a film director may not be the easiest, Bollier said “if you really want to do it, the best way is to just start with a little practice here and there and keep doing this for a long time.”

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“What do you want to do after high school?” 

“Where do you want to go to college?” 

“What do you want to study?”

These are some of the stressful questions frequently posed to young adults — all addressing post-high school life. 

To help La Salle students determine what the answers to these questions will be, Director of Giving and Alumni Relations Ms. Michelle Crimmins and the Alumni Association organized a Career Day for sophomores, juniors, and seniors, which took place on Monday, March 6. The event welcomed nearly 50 adults from various professions to give presentations about their career paths. 

“My hope is that students will see there are so many job opportunities available, so you don’t have to feel pigeon-holed,” Ms. Crimmins said. “You can really explore the different opportunities that are out there.”

The day was split up into three parts: a keynote speech, classroom sessions, and a series of rotations. These rotations included lunch, a career fair in the gym, and a class-specific activity. 

The keynote speech was given in the gym by La Salle alum Lupita Carabes ‘11. In her speech to students, Carabes discussed her career journey: from getting a computer science degree to currently being in a customer-facing sales role as an Enterprise Application Security Executive for the software company GitHub. 

“Truthfully, growing up, I had always loved sharing my story because I learned that it helped me hearing other mentors and people I looked up to, [seeing] what they had to do to get where they need to be,” Carabes said. “I wanted to kind of give back.”

Carebes hopes students realize that “the answer is no unless you ask,” meaning they must be willing to courageously go after any opportunities presented to them. She also advises that it is okay for students not to know what they want to do in life yet, and that even she did not know in high school that she would end up in the job that she did.

This advice is what stood out most to junior Queen Womujuni. “I feel like that’s something a lot of people struggle with,” she said. “And I hope that, learning from this, that I start learning now what I want to do so that I’m not confused in the future, but I definitely think that it is going to change over time.”     

After the keynote speech, students rotated through three 30-minute classroom sessions where speakers presented slideshows, gave overviews of their careers, shared advice to students, and answered questions. According to their interests, students got to select their sessions in a Google Form prior to the event. 

Sophomore Ava Donnelly attended sessions centered around careers in architecture and interior design because of her enjoyment of design-centered games and of visiting open houses in her free time. “My favorite subject was interior design because it looks like something I’d be interested in,” she said. 

Junior Ashley Nelson also attended the sessions about architecture and interior design. She appreciated the interior design session for the many examples of work the presentation had, especially the before and after photos. “It was impressive, so it was more interesting,” she said. 

Looking back on the day, junior Lucas Hungerford valued the passion from the presenters he saw, which included the FBI agents, the Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator, and journalist John Canzano.  

Following classroom sessions, the career fair in the gym was a series of booths set up by presenters where students could ask additional questions. It served as a time for students to converse with presenters who they were unable to sign up for sessions with before or to learn more about careers that they were particularly interested in. 

Jobs featured in this fair included those in law enforcement, public safety, engineering, computer science, medicine, product design, and everything in between. 

Brett Wooden ‘98, who was at the career fair, runs an app development company and hoped that he could teach students about technology and its recent changes. 

Also at the career fair was Chris Mitchell ‘04, an account director and marketing strategist working with Nike, who shared  advice for students looking for a job in any field. “Find out what your strengths are, set up good relationships, and don’t burn any bridges along the way,” he said. “And I think diversity is the catalyst for innovation. So work with a lot of people from a lot of different backgrounds and you have a lot of success.”  

Most presenters who were at the fair have a tie to La Salle, whether that be as an alum, parent, “Falcon friends” — which are people who are connected to La Salle in another way — or a mixture of the three.

Shannon Ellison, who is an alum from the class of 1996 and a parent of a current La Salle student, gave a presentation about her job as an EMT basic for Portland Fire & Rescue. 

Ellison hopes that students who attended the career day “keep an open mind and don’t put too much pressure on [themselves],” she said. “I think everybody wants to push ‘what are you going to do? Are you going to be this or that or you are going to be great at this or that?’ And in reality, I bet out of this full gym right now, I bet two or three people in here will be what they think today they’re going to be.”

The majority of speakers at Career Day volunteered. However, others were asked directly by the Alumni Association in order for students’ interests to be well represented. The Association took into account responses from students who completed a survey in the fall about the types of careers they would like to learn about, allowing the school to get an idea of which careers would be in demand for the event. 

“What we’ve tried to do, and we’ve only done [Career Day] twice, is think about people who have an interesting career, who have had enough time to have done a few different things or develop their career,” Ms. Crimmins said.

In addition to the fair, sophomores participated in a homeroom career day reflection, while juniors and seniors attended a presentation in the theater by Vice Principal for Student Life Mr. Aaron Hollingshead. During the presentation, Mr. Hollingshead encouraged students to build a professional online presence by creating strong profiles on social media sites such as LinkedIn. 

Senior Samuele Marquez-Stock took inspiration from Career Day as a whole and thought it was a worthwhile experience in setting him up for his future after high school.

“If I were to take anything away, I think the biggest thing for me was putting yourself out there — just letting people know your name, starting any sort of online profile, and starting anything you can,” he said. “Even if you’re not the most comfortable person when putting yourself out there, it really goes a long way.”