Helping students explore career choices

Anne Marie Amacher
Eighth-grader Shawn Schlue of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School in Davenport receives assistance from Michael Birmingham Sr., criminal justice program director-facilitator at Eastern Iowa Community College. Shawn wore goggles that simulated inebriation. This was one of several stations at a career fair March 4 at St. Ambrose University in Davenport.

By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — The annual, in-person career fair for eighth-graders in Scott County Catholic schools returned this year with many new presenters, said Leigh Johnson, counselor at Lourdes Catholic School in Bettendorf. St. Ambrose University hosted the 11th annual fair on campus. Last year’s event took place online because of the pandemic.

Students from All Saints, John F. Kennedy and St. Paul the Apostle Catholic schools in Davenport and Lourdes attended. Thirty-five vendors talked about occupations in farming/agriculture, plumbing/pipefitting, photography, finance, dentistry, computer technology and other careers. Students attended Mass and received lunch.
Katy Koehler, student support specialist from All Saints, witnessed the career fair in action for the first time. “This is a great opportunity to make professional connections and learn about careers in our community,” she said.

Prior to the fair, students completed forms with their top eight career choices. “We tried to get them into their top five,” Johnson said. All students also met with St. Ambrose University students to learn about college. Female students also met with Sister Anthony Worrell, OSF, and male students with Father Andrew Rauenbuehler, parochial vicar of Our Lady of Victory Parish in Davenport, to learn about vocations.


Nikki Matthys, a hospitalist with Unity-Point Trinity in the Quad-City area, talked about the field of nurse practitioner. Years ago, the nursing field encompassed registered nurses, certified nurse assistants and a few other nursing positions. The advanced field of nurse practitioner is a newer one, overall. Nurse practitioners’ responsibilities vary based on laws in each state. Salaries also vary vastly by state. Nurse practitioners in Iowa receive higher wages than nurse practitioners receive in Illinois and Wisconsin, she said.

Nicole Roseman a research scientist III at Integrated DNA Technologies, had students don gloves and learn to use a pipette, a laboratory tool that measures the volume of liquid for tests and labs.

Anne Marie Amacher
Nicole Roseman shows eighth-graders Kaydence Crowe and Aubrey Heim of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School in Davenport how to use a pipette during a career fair March 4 at St. Ambrose University in Davenport.

Dave Baker with KALA Radio of St. Ambrose University talked about the communication field and changes over the years.

Michael Birmingham Sr., criminal justice program director-facilitator at Eastern Iowa Community College, allowed students to try on different “impairment” goggles to simulate the vision of people affected by alcohol, hallucinogenic drugs, prescription drugs and other drugs.

Shawn Schlue of St. Paul the Apostle, tried on several goggles. “That was easy,” he said after taking off googles designed to simulate inebriation. Birmingham pointed out that Shawn was nowhere near the line he was supposed to be walking on. “It was weird and confusing to walk that line,” Shawn said. “It was like being on a balance beam.”

Lourdes Catholic School student Emily Carroll thought the career fair was “pretty cool.” She said her favorite exhibit was the biotech, research table.

Support The Catholic Messenger’s mission to inform, educate and inspire the faithful of the Diocese of Davenport – and beyond! Subscribe to the print and/or e-edition, or make a one-time donation, today!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted on