Career fair enlightens Scott County eighth-graders

Anne Marie Amacher
Brycen Antle of John F. Kennedy Catholic School in Davenport, right, and Cole Elliott of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School in Davenport, test a shirt for traces of blood at a forensics station during a career fair. Eighth-graders from the four Scott County Catholic schools attended a career fair at St. Ambrose University in Davenport on March 6.

Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — Bottles filled with sugar showed students how much sugar they might consume in a typical soft drink, sports drink, energy drink or coffee drink. At two other career fair stations, students examined sample shoe impressions that might be taken at a crime scene and learned about photography.

Twenty-five professionals from a variety of businesses showcased their work for eighth-grade students from the four Scott County Catholic grade schools during the career fair held at St. Ambrose University on March 6. The students attend Lourdes Catholic in Bettendorf and All Saints, John F. Kennedy and St. Paul the Apostle Catholic schools in Davenport.

Some of the businesses have participated in the career fair since the beginning nine years ago, said school counselors Leigh Johnson of Lourdes and Amy Tallman of St. Paul the Apostle. The fair provides students with a variety of career options to consider and helps them think about future classes to take in high school and in post-high school education or training they may need.


Students attended sessions throughout the day, some of which – but not all — may have been on their top choice list. The counselors said choices were entered into a computer that generated the list for students.

Emily Monahan of Vera French Community Mental Health in Davenport had a table full of hands-on activities such as a tray with sand, a pillow with sequins, and coloring pages. She told the students the items help create a non-threatening environment for children who come to visit her. “They are more comfortable when they find something that puts them at ease. They become more comfortable talking about their feelings, school, home life and more.”

Chris Wemhoff of Deere & Company’s information technology department showed students how to detect fraudulent emails by examining non-matching emails, typographical errors and general salutations and other red flags.

Jill Foster of the Davenport Police Department’s forensics unit (crime scene investigation) recommended courses to take in high school and college if students have interest in that field. Science and math courses are crucial. She asked students what they would do upon arriving at a crime scene. They said they would look for evidence and fingerprints all around the area. Foster showed different methods for collecting and processing evidence. She explained how to take a shoe imprint to help identify a suspect’s shoe. Many people may have the same shoe but each person walks differently so the wear pattern is different, she said.

She showed a variety of ways to lift fingerprints. A commonly used technique is graphite powder and a brush. Chemical solutions and super glue work in certain conditions, she said. Students Brycen Antle of John F. Kennedy and Cole Elliott of St. Paul the Apostle did tests on a shirt to find blood that was not visible to the naked eye.

Molly Roe, a student at John F. Kennedy, found the presenters interesting. “I learned a lot about a variety of jobs and what people do.” She had attended sessions on physical therapy and crime scene investigation. Classmate Max Stachula enjoyed learning about different careers to pursue. He had attended presentations on careers in dentistry and law enforcement.

All students also met with St. Ambrose University students to get advice on classes to take in high school in preparation for college. The eighth-graders also asked questions about college life and how the college students chose their majors and what classes in college are like.

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