The 2nd Annual Atlantis Career and College Exposition returned to the UMass Dartmouth Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), bigger and better than the first.
Students in grades 7 to 10 traveled to the UMass campus on January 30 to learn more about the colleges and careers on which Atlantis has modeled its Career Academies.
Like last year, there was a guidance room where students heard from counselors and adjuncts about Atlantis’s Career Academy model and a career room where students had the opportunity to meet with representatives from local colleges and businesses, but there were two new features this year: a senior panel and tours of the CIE.
Seniors representing the Career Academies talked to the younger students about their experiences.
“The 7th and 8th graders were extremely engaged with their upperclassmen as each described what it was like to be part of their respective Career Academy,” said Dr. Gail Berman, co-director of the Atlantis Career Academies. “The younger students took full advantage of the Q & A portion to ask many questions. It was a lively exchange and a great example of peer mentoring at its best!”
Students also got to visit the incubator space at the CIE. A small group of students got a tour last year, and it had such an impact on the students that organizers knew they had to make it an official part of the career fair. So, this year, a few entrepreneurs in residence at the CIE volunteered their time to talk to students about the work they do.
“Students saw the different ways technology is used. This kind of exposure opens up so many career opportunities they had never been exposed to or thought about as being a possibility,” said Donalda Silva, Family Community Resource Coordinator at Atlantis. “Our hope is that they were inspired and now understand the reason they have to study hard in every class to prepare for a successful college career.”
“The extensions to our event brought career and passion for their work together,” said Joanne Rahme, a member of the Atlantis Executive Administrative Team. “It has been our goal to have students realize that they must have interest and skills, but they must also have a love for their profession; the entrepreneurs brought this concept to our students first-hand. The CIE environment for our event was a perfect setting for a highly professional atmosphere. “
Atlantis places a heavy emphasis on career and college preparation for its students starting in the 7th grade.
“The career fair is only one piece of the puzzle,” said Ian Maher, School Guidance Counselor. “Atlantis offers a number of programs which introduce students to businesses and colleges at an early age, so the students can make informed decisions about their futures as they chart their own pathways to success.”
Rahme hopes the career fair will continue to grow each year. “Our plan for next year will be to expand the career presenters to represent each of the 5 Academies, and to invite our present seniors back to share their experiences in their institution of higher learning. We would like to continue to network with and support them,” Rahme said.
Atlantis would like to thank Phil Adams and his staff at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, as well as the following colleges & businesses for making the 2019 College and Career Exposition a success: Bristol Community College, Roger Williams University, Mass Maritime Academy, UMass Dartmouth, Stonehill College, Southcoast Health, BayCoast Bank, the Business Innovation Center, the United Way of Greater Fall River, People Incorporated – Fall River, Rosewood Realty, Rainbow Bears Child Care Center, the Fall River Police Dept., Xilectric, O’Neill Power System, Allard Engineering, the CIE Machine Shop and the Bio/Chem Lab.