At fair, students explore career options


By Anne Marie Amacher

Barb Park, a physical therapist for Genesis Medical Center, talks about pressure points with eighth grade students from Scott County Catholic schools March 4. A career day was held at St. Ambrose University in Davenport.

DAVENPORT — Eighth-graders from four Scott County Catholic schools learned about possible careers and what education they will need to achieve them during a career fair March 4 at St. Ambrose University.
Thirty-two organizations spread throughout the Rogalski Center ballroom to provide career information, including chiropractic personnel, Deere & Co. representatives, a Hy-Vee dietitian, dental representatives, social worker, and representatives from nonprofit groups, the news media and religious vocations.
Students attended from Lourdes Catholic School in Bettendorf and All Saints, John F. Kennedy and St. Paul the Apostle Catholic schools in Davenport, said Anna Schott, JFK counselor. The schools’ counselors organized the event. Around 136 students participated.
Lisa Nix, a doctor of optometry at Riverside Family Eye Care in LeClaire emphasized to the students that they should take science, business and technology courses. “This will really help if you are self-employed,” she emphasized. “It helps to be well-rounded in a variety of courses.”
She told them she attended four years of college and four years of additional schooling to become a doctor of optometry. “I love my job.”
Nix showed various tools she uses in her job, treating children six months of age on up.
Barb Park is a physical therapist for Genesis Medical Center. “I have fun at work all day,” she said.
Her job is to help people get better with exercise. Park told students they don’t have to be crazy and outgoing to be a physical therapist. “You work one-on-one with your patients.”
She completed four years of undergraduate schooling and three years in the doctor of physical therapy graduate program. After graduation she had to successfully complete “boards” for certification to begin work.
As a physical therapist, Park said she sometimes has to be a detective to figure out the source of a patient’s pain. Then she uses trigger points for conditions such as migraines to help the patient. Some quick fixes come naturally with pressure points, but she said one session is not enough. Physical therapy involves stretching and strengthening muscles to help heal.
Several St. Paul the Apostle students shared what they took away from the career fair: “I learned a lot and I really enjoyed all the presenters,” said Anna Corlett. “They were very experienced and I explored many different fields.”
“It was a really good experience for me, because now I know what I need to start focusing on in order to accomplish my goal,” said Hannah Wislander.
“It was a good experience to learn about what options we have when we get older. It was a great way to expose us to what kinds of jobs there are out there,” said Josie Ontiveros.
“We’ve come a long way since the first year,” Schott said.

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