Career fair helps Lake Zurich HS students aim for the future
Lake Zurich High School student Scott Finley talks with Jess Schaal, a representative from Advocate Health Care, during the school's Career Fair on Jan. 31. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 8, 2013 6:18AM
LAKE ZURICH — Industry heavyweights Groupon, Microsoft, Google, Motorola and Advocate Health Care converged on the Lake Zurich High School library last week for the school’s first-ever Business and Technology Career Fair.
Company representatives were on hand all day Jan. 31 to answer students’ questions about what their fields are like and what it takes to land a job after school.
“There’s been a broad mix of questions,” said Scott Pappas, a systems engineer for Motorola. “We’ve had a mix of students from freshman to senior level.”
The event proved a timely experience at LZHS because students will soon be selecting their elective courses for next school year.
Jeanette Greco, the high school’s career site manager, reported that elective choices range from accounting to web design and marketing.
“The intent is to start a passion for what they might want as a career,” Greco explained.
John Hundrieser, a recruiting director at Groupon, said a large number of students asked him what classes would be most beneficial for their career paths.
“There’s a lot of curiosity about how what they learn actually affects their career opportunities,” Hundrieser said.
Representatives from several post-high school learning institutions were available as well, including personnel from Columbia College, the American Academy of Art and the College of Lake County.
Brittany Szczesny, a junior at Lake Zurich High School, said she is interested in going into the art and design field.
“I just learned that a lot of famous cartoonists have come out of this school,” she said as she looked over materials about Chicago’s American Academy of Art.
Szczesny said she would like to go to the same school as some of the artists she has studied.
Eric Nicpon, a representative for the American Academy of Art, said it’s important students understand their options since there are a vast number of jobs that incorporate some form of art.
“It’s awesome for the kids,” Nicpon said. “It really gives them a broad sense of what’s out there.”
Last week’s career fair marked the second version at LZHS. Last year, Greco said, the event focused on careers in the health care field.
She explained that the idea for a technology career fair came from a growing interest among students in learning tech-related skills.
Greco worked to incorporate a wide variety of companies to show off the broad range of jobs available to those with tech and business skills. For example, Advocate Health Care was invited largely because it also is in the marketing business. Sometimes, Greco said, people forget that hospitals are businesses, too.
“It’s really cool for the kids to see that side of it,” she said.
Jess Schaal, Advocate Health Care’s design manager, said technological skills also are in demand at a hospital. For example, he said most hospitals and doctor’s offices are moving from paper records to Electronic Medical Records.
Schaal said he left impressed by how curious students seemed about how to best get into the tech and marketing field.
“The kids asked a lot of really great questions and seem to really want to learn,” he said.
Kiley McPeek, a junior at Lake Zurich High School, said it was interesting to find out all the different ways to connect her interests into a career path.
“I want to go into hotel and restaurant management,” McPeek said. “It was really interesting to hear what they had to say.”