On Thursday, Feb. 1 MVHS held its first career night of 2018, attracting students interested in a future in technology. The night began at 7 p.m. with a speech by Kern Peng, who has worked at Intel for 25 years. Peng discussed the importance of soft skills, like the ability to communicate and give presentations, an idea that recurred in many other speeches.
The presentation started off in the Student Union, but as the night went on, the other speeches were held throughout the campus. From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., MVHS was filled with experienced and knowledgeable speakers excited to share their experiences in the workforce.
College and career center advisor McKenna Parfet is responsible for organizing all the career nights that occur at MVHS. According to Parfet, organizing the event takes approximately a month, since she has to find and reach out to the speakers, and this time there were 13 speakers at the event.
“There are so many opportunities in the tech industry,” Parfet said. “So I had a couple of contacts myself and I reached out to the staff […] but many of the people came from the PTSA, whom I plan the career nights with, they had a contact list of who had presented in the past, people they know or friends, there’s so a combination of all of those made the list.”
Parfet believes that it’s vital for high school students to attend career nights like these, so they can gain exposure to what the workforce is really like.
“I think it’s important to have the career nights in high school because I think sometimes MVHS students get an idea of what a career is but that’s something they either see on TV or just what they’re lead to believe in class,” Parfet said. “[…] You don’t get the chance to talk with professionals […], so giving those opportunities and chances are really important.”
Alysa Sakkas, a systems engineer at Lockheed Martin, was one of the many speakers invited. Her job consists of many aspects, including collaborating with others and working on different projects at the same time, which she calls “multidisciplinary.” Sakkas also emphasized the importance of getting exposure to the real world and life beyond high school.
“When I was in high school and I didn’t know what I wanted to do and it’s just interesting to be able and say its okay if you don’t know what you’re exactly going to do,” Sakkas said. “[…] A lot of high school students have a mystery of what the working world is really like so I hope I can give them a sense what a day in the job is and that sort of thing.
During her speech, Sakkas mentioned the various aspects of being a systems engineer, and how it included many different skill sets including business and analytical skills.
Freshman Siddhant Patel also realized during the presentations that having a job in the technology field consisted of more than just knowing computer science. Going out of curiosity, Patel mentions that he doesn’t really like coding, so hearing the fact that there are many aspects of the job made him feel a little better.
“I was expecting it to be all about computers, coding, sit down what a career in the line of technology would really be like and what people go through day to day and what they go through to get there,” Patel said. “[…] As the presenter said, the things include marketing, business not just computer science or sitting down and writing code. There are multiple branches.”
Parfet believes that the notion of a technology career only consisting of coding is a false one since students don’t know what a career in the technology field would really be like.
“I hope that they took away, that there are so many different pathways into technology and I feel like a lot of the students here have a good idea of what a computer science major is but they don’t necessarily see the breath that it can lead them,” Parfet said. “So I hope that they took away that there are so many opportunities in the tech industry.”