ABERDEEN, Md. — Members of the Aberdeen Proving Ground workforce met with Advancement Via Individual Determination students at Aberdeen High School to discuss possibilities for their professional future on Feb. 10, 2023. This is APG’s second time presenting at the quarterly guest speaker program. The quarterly guest speaker program was the second time APG employees shared their professional advice.
AVID is a college readiness system for grades 4-12 that takes college-bound students through rigorous courses required to enter four-year universities. In the AVID elective course, students are taught valuable skill sets like purposeful notetaking, organization, responsibility, public speaking and more. Many AVID students are first-generation college students, and this program provides them with the foundation to succeed.
Guest speakers included a wide range of members from the APG workforce: Mikayla Walock, the metals branch chief of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Research Laboratory; Monique Moore, the director of the Equal Employment Opportunity Office; and Mark Kozlowski, a materials research chemist at DEVCOM ARL. Andrew Nau, husband of AHS’s AVID teacher, Lorraine Nau, and vice president of cyber threat intelligence for a local bank, rounded out the panel of guest speakers for the presentation.
Guest speakers introduced themselves to the class of 150 AVID students with their academic backgrounds, job titles and job duties. Students were then given the opportunity to ask the panel questions, like what steps they took to acquire their first job after college, how much they earned in salary and if they encountered any roadblocks during this journey.
Through this discussion, APG personnel provided a detailed roadmap to becoming an Army civilian, starting with what classes to take in high school, the various degrees that reflect the diverse workforce and what training and certifications can bolster your résumé.
When asked what advice the speakers would give to the students, Nau said, “Reading, writing and communicating. The ability to read critically and understand what you’re reading, why you’re reading it and why it matters—the context. Then, being able to communicate that both verbally and in writing to someone else is essential.”
Walock doubled down on this piece of advice. “I would argue that one of the most important classes you can take is creative writing,” she said. “It forces you to do that [write and communicate effectively for a unique audience]. Creative writing and having those creative thinking skills are key to any field you go into.”
Kozlowski offered a different piece of advice. “Keep asking questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for things,” he said. “Sometimes, it is tempting to think that this supervisor or leader is very powerful, and who am I to ask for things, but the worst they can say no. And you’ve lost absolutely nothing.”
To close the presentation, Moore briefed the AVID students on U.S. Department of State’s Pathways Internship Programs. The Pathways Internship Program includes the Internship Experience Program and the Internship Temporary Program. ITEP allows high school students to work with the federal government during the summertime and explore various career fields. She stressed that the internships could easily be a steppingstone to a permanent position. Moore hopes to personally have two Equal Employment Opportunity Commission interns for the summer.
For more information on Pathways Internship Programs, click here: https://careers.state.gov/interns-fellows/pathways-programs/pathways-internship-programs/.
To learn more about the college prep program, visit: https://www.avid.org/what-avid-is.