Manchester West’s Career Day: Connecting Students with Real-World Possibilities

May 14, 2024
Ruff Life Pet Service dog at Career Day.

Manchester West High School offered students an opportunity to learn more about potential career paths at their 7th annual Career Day event in April. Drawing in a remarkable crowd of over 750 participating students, the day was a success with more than 100 industry professionals, representing over 60 diverse fields, ready to share their insights and expertise.

Students had a wide variety of industries and professions to learn from, ranging from dog training entrepreneurship to financial advising, medical biofabrication, marketing, mortuary science, adventure photography, music production, and the intricate world of cybersecurity.

Natalie Barney, the Access Coordinator for GEAR UP NH programming at Manchester West High School, spearheaded the event’s organization. Reflecting on the day’s significance, Barney remarked, “This is a full-day event that began in 2017 when it was recognized by the Department of Education. It was expanded from a half-day event to a full day to give students an up-close look at different career paths and connect their learning to the real world.”

Career professional Gabrielle Mourousas, representing the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI) in Manchester, NH, captivated students with a presentation on biofabrication. Mourousas explained the level of education and career pathways students would need to achieve to work in the health sector and encouraged them to pursue their passions. Following the presentation, students engaged in a hands-on micro-pipetting activity, applying scientific methods to their own discoveries.

The event also included solo entrepreneurs, like Natalie Pugachevsky, who owns and operates her own niche adventure wedding and elopement photography business with her husband, @AntonandNataliePhoto on Instagram, and Ruff Life Pet Service who specializes in training, boarding, and off leash hiking with rescue dogs experiencing behavioral issues so that they can find homes. Both entrepreneurs took time to describe to students how they transitioned from their previous jobs and the skills they needed to scale their passions into full-time careers.

Korbyn, a high school junior and a member of Barney’s original GEAR UP NH cohort, found resonance in a session led by Concord Hospital’s Laboratory and Science Department. The session, tailored to Korbyn’s interests in medical science, described the role of a phlebotomist and the techniques used for detecting illnesses in blood samples. A related activity enabled students to simulate blood draws and analyze their findings—a hands-on experience that generated new excitement for Korbyn’s career aspirations.

Candid group photo of career professionals.Career Day indeed served as a gateway to student’s futures by connecting their classroom lessons to real-world applications and the possibilities that lie beyond. As students engaged with professionals from diverse backgrounds throughout the day, they began to picture the expansive horizons of their own potential, ready to align their educational goals to pursue their dreams.