Career Night returns to St. Joe: Interact Club draws student, business professionals

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Belle Svee reacts to a story Thursday that nurse practitioner Kim Felton tells about her first incident in the emergency room. The discussion was during Career Night at St. Joseph High School. (Tony Wittkowski | HP Staff)

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

ST. JOSEPH — Siobhan Miller doesn’t know what she wants to do when she graduates high school, but she figured she’d have a clearer picture after Thursday night.

The St. Joseph sophomore was among the dozens of students who sat at tables in the St. Joseph High School’s Student Center and spoke with mentors Thursday during the second annual Career Night.

The two-hour event allowed students to talk to several professionals with differing backgrounds to get a sense of what there is to offer after high school and college.

Among Miller’s first stops was at a veterinarian’s table, where she learned the field was very broad.

“I didn’t know there was going to be this many people,” she said between table visits. “At the vet’s table, I learned I can just study animals, and I didn’t have to do any surgery or anything.”

The event was started by St. Joseph High School’s Interact Club and doubled in attendance, both with students and mentors, from the year before.

Club President Taylor Huie, a St. Joseph senior, said more planning went into this year’s Career Night.

“The event turned out really well last year. However, it was very last-minute, and we didn’t get the word out as well as we did this year,” Huie said. “I’m in a group chat with all the other (Interact Club) presidents and told them about the event to have them reach out to their schools.”

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One of the newer tables at this year’s Career Night was Nuclear Engineering and Fashion. (Tony Wittkowski | HP Staff)

Students from Bridgman, Lakeshore, Lake Michigan Catholic, St. Joseph high schools and the surrounding middle schools were invited to the event.

Larkin Johnson, the club’s mentoring director, was in charge of coordinating the more than 40 business professionals on hand Thursday.

Nuclear engineering, fashion merchandising and orthopedic surgery were among the new tables offered at Career Night.

“Obviously we can’t have people from every field here tonight, but I like the variety we were able to get,” Johnson said.

Among the mentors who volunteered to speak with curious students was Victoria Spitzke.

Spitzke is a registered nurse care manager at Lakeland Health. She discussed her field alongside her colleague, nurse practitioner Kim Felton.

Spitzke answered a lot of questions that ranged from the hours she worked to the requirements she needed for school. However, some of the questions were more fun.

“I was also asked if it was hard to give shots,” Spitzke said. “I’ve enjoyed how curious the kids are. It’s nice to know they care enough to find out for themselves. I wish I had something like this when I was younger.”

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Nov. 18, 2016)

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