What do I want to be when I grow up?
Mikaela Virts had an idea she wanted a career in the health care field. After attending the Careers in Focus event held Friday at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, she seemed surer than ever.
“I’ve known all along I wanted to be a sonographer,” someone who operates ultrasonic imaging devices in medical offices, said Mikaela, a 15-year old West Caldwell sophomore.
Hosted by CCC&TI and Caldwell County Schools, the event brought together 10th-graders from West Caldwell, South Caldwell and Hibriten high schools, as well as the Early College High School and Caldwell Career Center Middle College. The students were introduced to career opportunities in fields that included law enforcement, furniture, motor sports, truck driving, vocational, and health services.
Also participating were the Caldwell County Chamber of Commerce, the Career Planning and Placement Center, and Foothills Radio Group.
Students converged in the school’s gymnasium to browse among several booths set up by area agencies, such as the Lenoir Police Department, Caldwell County Health Department, Fairfield Chair, Appalachian State University, Lees-McRae University, and Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse. The students then were split into several smaller groups and, depending on the career paths they picked, were led through the various educational programs at the college.
Mikaela was in the group touring the health services programs offered at CCCTI. Their first stop was the ophthalmic medical assistant classroom, where they observed an eye operation taking place on a TV monitor.
“Too gross,” she said tersely. “I can’t stand it.”
They next went into the nursing department, where they got a close-up look at the various medical mannequins used by the students striving to become registered nurses. Mikaela seemed more interested, and raised her hand for a brochure.
One of the last stops was the medical sonography department, where she paid close attention to the instructors as they talked about the program. In two years, she would come out with an associate’s degree, but there was a waiting list for jobs. Mikaela was not deterred, and left with a smile.
“I’m glad I went, because I got to see how the sonograph works,” she said. “I’m sure glad I went. It was definitely informative.”