[Currents header graphic]

March 24, 1997

Job shadow program opens window to the working world

By Francine Tyler

One morning last week, high school sophomore Genevieve Garcia went on a building inspection, saw dolphins and sea urchins at Long Marine Lab, and learned how certain chemicals can affect the environment.

It was a busy few hours for Garcia, who trailed Dan Blunk of Environmental Health & Safety through his morning on the job, as part of the North Monterey County High School Job Shadow Program.

At Long Marine Lab, where Blunk went to follow up on an air-quality inspection, Garcia received an added treat: Research Coordinator Betsy Steele described her work and gave the pair a quick tour of the lab.

Garcia was one of approximately 50 high schoolers from North Monterey who linked up with 50 UCSC faculty, staff, and graduate student mentors during a day at UCSC. The kids followed their mentors through jobs ranging from housing assistant to risk manager to police officer--learning about the world of work.

The program is required for the North Monterey students, who must complete two job-shadow experiences before they are allowed to graduate.

"It closes the reality gap between education and the real world of work," said teacher Carole Hoskins. "Through job shadowing, the students understand why the skills of reading and writing and listening are so important, because everyone uses these skills, whatever they do."

This is the second year that UCSC has hosted a group of North Monterey students on campus. About half of the UCSC employees who served as mentors last year took part in the program again, said Chancellor's Undergraduate Intern Patrick Chidambaram, who organized this year's program.

Lesa Testa of Insurance & Risk Management was one of those who returned this year. "Being a mentor reminded me that we have to take care of our high school students," she said. "We have to help them figure out what they want to do, because education is so important."

Return to the Currents home page

Go to UCSC's home page