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High school students job shadow professionals

By Liz Moomey
liz.moomey@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Students stepped into the real world Friday to see a day in the life of Rowan County professionals.

From an interior designer to forensic scientists, high school students job-shadowed and got a better understanding of potential career paths.

Mandy Mills, career and technical education director for Rowan-Salisbury Schools, said the Groundhog Job Shadow Day is for students to start thinking about their future and the career they may be interested in.

About 100 students were matched with professionals to help them see what the jobs entail.

Raquel Castro, an 11th-grader at Carson High School, shadowed Dr. Melanie Denton, the owner of Salisbury Eyecare & Eyewear. Castro is interested in optometry since she has grown up going to the eye doctor.

Castro shadowed Denton as she ran the business and met with patients for eye exams. Denton also answered questions Castro had about the career, including the process of how Denton came to own her own eye care business.

“This changes everything,” Castro said. “I got a little bit of an insight into the career.”

Denton said it is important to show the little things that go into owning a business and talk about the options optometry offers.

“There’s really a lot you can do with glasses,” she said.

Denton enjoys giving students a glimpse into being an optometrist, saying it reminds her of the obstacles she overcame.

“Putting yourself back in their shoes, you go through those hurdles and you kind of forget,” Denton said.

Down the road at Lazy 5 Vets, Dr. Rebekah Julian, a veterinarian, gave three students a tour of the office. The students saw the boarding area, a dog getting its teeth cleaned, X-rays and slides under a microscope that tell if a dog has an infection.

“One of the best things about veterinary medicine is every day is different,” Julian said.

Julian gave the students insight and advice about starting a career in veterinary medicine. She told them to use their summers wisely and find experiences that will make their resumés stand out.

Krystina Cotilla, an 11th-grader at Carson, said she was amazed at how much information she learned from Julian.

Elizabeth Harrell, a South Rowan High School student who plans to go to N.C. State University to become a veterinarian, asked Julian about common injuries to pets. Julian talked about how injuries have changed since she entered the field. Now, animal behavior is a significant factor in animal injuries, she said. Because more pets are kept inside, it makes them more prone to ingesting foreign bodies and fighting with other animals.

Mills said the job-shadowing day is for the students to decide whether a job is the right fit for them. She said the career and tech program offers multiple opportunities throughout the year to shadow or intern at businesses to allow students to have real-life experience.

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