|Ray Berthelot and Aimee Robert of the Louisiana Department of Culture and Recreation, explain to RPCC students Thomas Luytjes and Susie Cooper about careers involving state parks. Cooper, an RPCC student from Donaldsonville, said she liked the career day information about working in parks, as well as the information about ongoing projects to rebuild Louisianaâ€™s coastal areas.
More than 200 students at River Parishes Community College had the chance to meet with people working in a variety of science-related careers when RPCC hosted a Science Careers Day on the campus.
Representatives from wildlife management, environmental consulting, offshore oil exploration, Gulf Coast restoration, geology, biology, and other science fields visited the campus to meet with students and discuss the degree requirements and skills needed for these jobs.
Armed with lists of questions, students met with people like Aimee Robert and Ray Bergeron from the Office of State Parks, who described the job of a park naturalist and other jobs of people working outdoors in parks.
RPCC students also met Richanne Caraway, the human resources manager at Westlake Chemical, who explained that a huge percentage of people currently working in area petrochemical plants will be retiring over the next ten years, creating a tremendous need for process technology graduates.
“I really liked meeting all the people and learning about their degrees and backgrounds,” said Wendy Jorgenson, age 49 of Gonzales. “I thought it was particularly interesting that the man who is in charge of all the state parks has his degree in history. But I was interested in all the people—I am trying to figure out what kind of job and degree I should pursue.”
Derek Fleming, a 19 year old student from Gonzales, said he learned about several jobs he had never heard of before. “I didn’t know you could get a job in fishing,” Fleming said after he met with Manuel Ruiz, a wildlife management agent from the LA. Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
“I was impressed that a biology degree, or really, any science degree, can get you in the door for so many jobs,” said Ashley Doucet, age 20 of Paulina.
Other career representatives included Darryl Sapp and Heather Czeny from Chevron, who provided entertaining presentations about jobs in offshore oil exploration. Camie Wall from CK-Associates and Linda Pultz from the Shaw Environmental Group described the types of jobs and internships offered by engineering firms.
Dennis Demcheck of the U.S. Geological Survey explained to students about degrees in geology and hydrology for working to protect the water quality in the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. Chris Macaluso from the Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities talked with students about current projects restoring wetlands and coastal areas to help reduce the impact of future hurricanes.
“I think this event should have a positive impact on the students in thinking about future employment opportunities and paths for study,” said Tom Henson, an RPCC chemistry instructor.
The Science Careers Day at RPCC was facilitated through a one-year grant to develop an environmental sciences concentration at RPCC. River Parishes Community College is an open admission, fully accredited, two year college offering a wide range of day, evening, and on-line courses. Classes taken at RPCC are transferable to colleges and universities throughout the state.