Variety of career internships, training, education choices shared with HVA, HVMS students

Dr. Mike Zach, Oak Ridge National Laboratories materials processing researcher, shows Hardin Valley Academy students, from left, Brian Hicks, Matthew Estrella, Iris Li and her mother, Yuchen Chang, a lab experiment during HVA STEM and Skilled Trades Awareness Night in the high school Tuesday, April 16.
Hardin Valley Academy’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Math students heard first-hand about career and training opportunities available to them after they graduate, as HVA’s STEM and Skilled Trades Awareness Night was Tuesday, April 16.

“Businesses and industries from our region, such as DENSO, Harrison Construction, SNAPON tools and the Oak Ridge National Lab, as well as educational programs from our technical colleges (Tennessee College of Applied Technology, Knoxville and Harriman), community colleges (Roane State Community College and Pellissippi State Community College) and universities shared information about their programs,” said Anna Graham, HVA College & Career counselor and College Visit coordinator.

HVA and Hardin Valley Middle school parents and students were invited, she added.

“This has never been done before, bringing all together a wide variety of opportunities,” Graham said. “A four-year college is not for everyone, (but) there are plenty of opportunities in STEM and skilled trades.”

She noted these businesses, industries and colleges can offer internships, along with education and training.

Heather Fawver said her son, HVA freshman Skylar Feichtner, has just elected to participate in the engineering segment of the school’s STEM program.

“Engineering has always been his passion,” Fawver said. “He wanted to see what opportunities there were.”

Grace Deckard, an HVMS eighth-grader, attended the event to start her career search early, while HVA junior Cooper Goethert said he was hoping to “learn what I will be going to school for.”

Although senior Amaris Spratley already has chosen a path, enrolling in American University in Washington, D.C. for biotechnology, she decided to scope out other opportunities.

“She’s interested in biotechnology,” said her father, Derek Spratley.

“I want to be a biotech engineer,” Amaris added. “I just wanted t see what options I have.”

HVA STEM students Hannah Selph and Neil Patel shared their experiences in an endorsement/senior portfolio program, which allowed the students to work while still in high school and to make connections.

“I had an interest in ORNL,” Selph said. “I got to (shadow) one of the ladies in the community outreach program at RSCC. I did a lot of research.”

Patel had an internship with CISCO, a pilot program, where he shadowed a sales engineer.

One of the representatives speaking to students was Carolyn Huppmann, a HVA Class of 2012 graduate, who now is an environmental compliance representative for Harrison Construction’s Tennessee operations.

“We are a paving company with concrete and asphalt plants and quarries,” she said about Harrison. “We are looking for anyone and everyone with an interest in construction.

Quality control in the construction industry is “very STEM-related,” Huppmann said.

After graduating from HVA, she graduated from Tennessee Tech University, where she majored in environmental and sustainable studies with a concentration in natural resources, where she puts that education to use with state and county inspections of road projects.

Orion Mount, a HVA Class of 2018 graduate, also talked to STEM students during the event. Mount is attending Tennessee College of Applied Technology, where he is in the machine tool technology program.

“I didn’t want to sit in a classroom all day,” Mount said. “(TCAT is) a hands-on approach, making things. I’m going to get a job somewhere, probably in a shop, working up the ranks.”

Ryan Lucas, a SNAP-ON Tools representative, said his company, which has manufacturing facilities in Tennessee and North Carolina, supports TCAT as a partner, offering on-site certification training for TCAT students “to help get students skills.”