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Business leaders give career insight to UCPS students

Edward McFadden, a nuclear engineer with Duke Energy, pictured at right, demonstrates a life lesson to Cuthbertson High School students Micah Matthews, at left, and Bre Johnson. Below,Angie Moran, an air traffic controller with the Federal Aviation Administration, shares insight into her job with a group of students at Cuthbertson High School.

Business and industry leaders, sporting careers that varied in everything from medical to legal to nuclear engineering, spent Thursday (Nov. 15, 2012) morning sharing career insights with Union County Public Schools students.

The event, called BizEd 2012, is a new initiative by the Union County Education Foundation to connect area businesses and business leaders directly to UCPS schools and classrooms.

Held in conjunction with American Education Week, more than 100 representatives from a cross section of area businesses volunteered their mornings to “teach” elementary, middle and high school students at New Town Elementary School, Kensington Elementary School, Cuthbertson Middle School and Cuthbertson High School.

Participants, dubbed “VIPs” (Volunteers Igniting Potential), offered students an overview of their occupations, showed examples of their jobs, demonstrated equipment used in their fields and offered personal insight into required education and job skills.

Angie Moran, an air traffic controller with the Federal Aviation Administration, correlated the requirements of her job to that of a student learning his classwork. “When you go through our training program, there is a lot of memorization work. You might say, ‘Why do we have to do all this memorization work at school? Why all these mathematical problems?’ It’s to train your brain to think; to do this kind of stuff,” she said, pointing to a Power Point slide of the flight paths at Douglas International Airport.

Edward McFadden, a nuclear engineer with Duke Energy, spoke with students about power plants and nuclear energy.

“This subject fits right into our science curriculum,” said their teacher, ninth-grade Cuthbertson High School teacher Annie Cox. “We cover energy and we cover non-renewable and renewable resources. The presentation that Mr. McFadden is doing is great to give students career ideas in nuclear energy, even if they don’t want to be an engineer.”

McFadden also encouraged students to follow their dreams by first deciding what they want and then funneling their energy toward that goal. He demonstrated his point with the help of students Micah Matthews and Bre Johnson, both ninth graders.

He put an elastic band around Bre’s waist and told her to reach out and take a piece of paper being held by Micah. Feeling the pull of the elastic, Bre was unable to grab the paper unless she continued to focus her energy on the goal and fight the temptation to quit. McFadden told students to not let a little resistance in life stop them from their ultimate goal.

As for why he participated in the event, McFadden said, “Growing up, there were a lot of things I didn’t know, and I always had to figure things out the hard way, so any time I can reach out to the community and helps kids, I’m all for it,” he said.

Slated to be an annual event, the foundation’s executive director, Dick Baker said next year’s event will be even bigger.

“Our goal is to grow the program and add more schools each year until we have area business and community leaders in every classroom in all 53 UCPS schools,” Baker said.

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Nov 20, 2012 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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