Students talk to TJ alumni at Career Fair

Students ask questions to Jefferson alumni.

Students ask questions to Jefferson alumni.

Mei Baek, Staff Member

On Friday, April 10, TJ alumni from various work industries returned to the school during eighth period to discuss with students about their careers. Participants came from all classes, ranging from Class of ‘88 to Class of ‘09 alumni, as well as a varied selection of industries, including engineering, architecture, government, technology, management, education, media, archeology, law, biotechnology, and even the arts. Students had an opportunity to ask previous students with experience in the school’s rigorous environment for advice, and hear what they did to achieve their goals.

“Mostly I just asked people about how they got to their respective careers and if any particular part of TJ led them there,” Shreya Chappidi, a freshman at the Career Fair, said. “I asked them about the different aspects of their jobs and what it was like to pursue that career. I believe that I need to try different courses and classes before I can truly settle down on one career, but it was interesting to see different options.”

Students who were uncertain about an area of work to pursue beyond TJ, or what classes to take in order to prepare for certain majors or occupational industries, had a chance to hear from others who understood what they were dealing with and had gone through the same situation. They could get an idea of what happened after graduation, and how to be ready when that time came.

“It was interesting to see how people changed and lived beyond the scope of TJ,” Chappidi said. “We put a lot of emphasis on what classes we take and how to get into certain colleges, but a lot of careers that the alums went into were outside the kind of STEM focus that our school has.”

While many alumni had pursued clearly STEM-oriented industries, a surprising number worked in other fields, including theatre, art management, or law. Some worked in companies or areas that were instantly recognizable to many students, such as Facebook, FCPS, or the World Bank. The variation helped some students become more open-minded about their own potential future careers, and remind them of the huge range of occupational fields that they could look into.

“Since I’m a freshman, I won’t be making any life-changing decisions in a bit, but it did help to remind me that there are several different options out there and I should definitely broaden my horizons to make sure I can choose a career that makes me the happiest,” Chappidi explained.