By Jo Mathis
AAPS District News Editor
Adam Ruff wants to go into something computer-related once he gets out of college in a few years.
So naturally he was psyched to talk to a Google sales manager during Scarlett Middle School’s Portfolio Day.
“I was a little nervous at the beginning, but once I got into it, it just started flowing,” said Ruff a few minutes after his interview with John Kelley, who agreed the interview was a big success. “I just think it was a really good experience because once we get out into the real world after college, we’re going to need to do this for real, and this was a great first practice opportunity.”
Portfolio Day is an annual event for eighth graders to meet one-on-one with professionals in various fields. The goal is to give students an opportunity to interact with professionals, to learn about potential career paths and to gain knowledge of what it takes to be successful.
Prior to the event, students prepare a portfolio of their work and are taught how to present themselves as if they are interviewing for a job, explained AAPS Business Partnerships and Volunteer Coordinator Annette Ferguson.
Students are given about 10 minutes to meet with a professional and share their portfolios. The professionals interview the students and give them information that will help the students know what it takes to pursue a career.
Pamela Quinlivan shared with the students information about her work in human resources at the University of Michigan Health System, and asked them about their interests and skills.
“I think this is fabulous,” she said of Portfolio Day. “I wish I’d had something like this when I was younger. It’s a great opportunity to speak to people in fields they may be interested in working in, or just learning more about. Eighth grade is a good age. In today’s world, everything seems so more advanced, that the sooner you can get to people, the sooner you can plant the seeds of thought about careers they might be interested in so they’ll have better direction once they start high school and then start to consider college.”
Jeff Porter, assistant director of alumni engagement for the University of Michigan Athletic Department, said the students he’d interviewed were “awesome.”
“The’re highly prepared, they’re engaged and enthusiastic,” he said. “They’re a bit nervous, but that’s to be expected. I think anybody would be nervous going in for an interview if you don’t know who you’re interviewing with.”
Scarlett Middle School teacher Ellen Daniel, who organized the event, said the day went very well.
“We are grateful to all the professionals who took time from their schedules to provide this experience for our students,” she said.