Students get hands-on experience during Job Shadow Day
February 12, 2009
Students from Mount Vernon High School arrived at battalion head quarters on Fort Belvoir last Thursday for Job Shadow Day.
Fort Belvoir's Public Affairs Office's Community Relations section put the event together to show students how education can lead into rewarding futures. Shadow Day provided students hands-on experience that links schoolwork to real life.
Thirty-two juniors and seniors were paired with Fort Belvoir employees whose careers matched their own professional ambitions. Military personnel and civilian employees volunteered to be workplace hosts for the day. Each volunteer committed time to explain his or her role to students.
Students were introduced to Installation Command Sgt. Maj. Allison Smith during a leadership workshop. Smith explained both the roles of Soldiers and civilians on the installation, to inform the students of Soldier and civilian opportunities on post.
"What civilians do here is important. They support and sustain the Soldiers. You may not see a Soldier in uniform, but, it's the Army civilians who support the Soldiers in the field, whether in the U.S. or overseas," Smith said.
Installation Commander Col. Jerry Blixt then greeted the students. "While you are here, take the chance to shadow and spend time and learn, but know that we also learn from you," he said.
"I always look to the youth to get a different perspective. Ideas aren't limited to people who have been around for 40, 50, 60 years. Different perspectives are important," said Blixt.
Blixt also gave the students advice about learning as much as possible.
"It's OK to make mistakes; I make them, but try not to make the same mistake twice. Today, I would just ask you to be thankful that you can spend time with Soldiers. Ask them questions. It doesn't matter what questions. One thing about anyone in uniform is that we are still learning ourselves," said Blixt.
After Blixt spoke, the group watched the Army Strong video.
Capt. Andrea So, Commander, Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Company Special Activities, and Pauline Hunter Chief, Community Relations, introduced the students to the Army's seven core values.
Hunter and So explained military and civilian responsibilities associated to each value, and then gave examples of how each value applied to the students' lives.
1st Sgt. Rietta Owens, HHCSA,added, "the Army is about the team concept. Notice how everyone works as a team, it's not about I or about me, it's about the team."
After the workshop, students boarded buses to drop them off to each of their Shadow Day locations. Organizations that hosted students included the Staff Judge Advocate; Child, Youth and School Services; Headquarters Battalion; Defense Acquisition University; Public Affairs; Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation; Belvoir Credit Union; Night Vision; Officers' Club; the Institute of Heraldry and the Veterinary Clinic.
Carlos Martinez and Mary June Arcand, two ROTC students, shadowed at Headquarters Battalion. So gave the students advice on several career paths to achieve their goals and gave the students contacts in their desired fields to begin networking.
Martinez and Arcand were then introduced to level-one combatives, and how to evaluate a casualty. Staff Sgt. Malcolm Greer and Pfc. Cory Davis demonstrated the basic movement patterns to show dominant and submissive positions.
"The reason we are showing you these is because in the Army, first and foremost, you are a Soldier. You need to learn how to defend yourself. You may be somewhere where bullets are flying. At a minimum, every Soldier, regardless of rank, is supposed to know these level-one maneuvers that Staff Sgt. Greer is going through," So said.
At the officers' club, two other students interested in going into the culinary profession were introduced to Executive Chef David Hackney. Students were given a tour of the kitchens, freezers, pantries and dining rooms.
The students learned about cleanliness, sanitation and about first in, first out, a kitchen mandate about the first food that gets put in freezers, refrigerators and pantries first, is the first food to come out, which prevents spoiling. The students also learned about proper cooking temperatures for each meat and how to avoid cross contamination.
At the South Post Child Development Center, Omaira Abrego and Melissa Moran got hands-on experience helping teachers in classrooms. The girls expect to volunteer at the CDC in the future.