The students at Dodge Park Elementary School had a chance to look beyond their daily studies to learn about some potential paths to their future success at the school's annual Career Fair Oct. 26. Seven members of the 79 Medical Wing Speakers' Bureau visited the school to speak to students in grades Kindergarten through 4th grade on careers in health professions, life in the U.S. Air Force, and ways growing children can improve and maintain their healthy bodies as they grow.
"They knew a lot about how to do a good job with their teeth and they had good questions," said Senior Airman Marisol Bleckley, a dental technician with the 779th Medical Group after giving a presentation to a group of kindergarteners. Some of those questions went beyond dental health, when students asked why Bleckley was a dental technician in a military uniform. "We have to become Airmen before we learn to be dental technicians," Bleckley said.
Dodge Park Elementary has a longstanding tradition of holding an annual career fair, and Airmen from Joint Base Andrews have always been a part of it, said Principal Victoria Holmes. "We've always had a career fair. Then next week we'll have an introduction to colleges and universities," said Holmes.. "It says, 'You've been introduced to all these careers. Now, here's how to get there.'"
Though presenters focused their attention on the younger children, students from the upper grades had a role to play, as well, guiding adults through the building and serving as ambassadors for the school.
"They picked me to be an escort because I've been here a long time and know where all the classrooms are, and because they know I'll behave well," said sixth grade student Eugene Ragland, age 11.
In addition to the Airmen, Dodge Park's Career Fair featured business owners, entrepreneurs, law enforcement officers, park rangers and other adults interested in giving young children a peek at the adult world.
"We get a good mix every year and we try every year to bring in more and more variety of professionals," said Patrice Pollack, career fair coordinator and instructional lead teacher at Dodge Park Elementary School. "We have about 60 presenters every year."
In addition to Bleckley, service members from the 79 MDW Speakers' Bureau participating in the event included Airman 1st Class Adam Delgado and Senior Airman Robert Bond, radiology technicians from the 779th Medical Group; Airman 1st Class Randi Osborne-Asbill, pediatric medical technician from the 779th Medical Group; Airman 1st Class Samantha Marzi, a lab medical technician from the 779th Medical Group; Senior Airman Jose Pamanes-Gonzalez, a pharmacy technician from the 779th Medical Group and Senior Airman Portia Wilson, promotions and decorations project officer from the 79th Medical Wing.