Center field trips around personalized student experiences to increase the impact of these trips and give students exposure to informational interviews.

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Goal:
  • Students learn about career paths, get introduced to new types of jobs, and see a workplace in action.
Reason:
  • Student-centered field trips provide a firsthand understanding of a typical workday and of necessary skills for a job.
    • Students get acquainted with previously unfamiliar and unknown future opportunities.
    • Students are constantly being asked what they’re interested in doing for a career. If they’ve never seen someone who works in a real-life tech job, it’s hard to imagine themselves in a tech career.
      • Helpful Hint: It is more productive to ask a student “What problems do you want to solve?” rather than asking “What job do you want to have?”
  • Student-centered field trips allow students to grow their professional networking community and provide a great opportunity to hand out resumes.
Action:
  • Contact companies to host a field trip for your students - reach out to human resource departments, network with friends, and approach companies at conferences or meetings.
  • Request that hosts take time to get to know the students instead of just informing the students about the company. Make sure to ask hosts to set up meetings with employees from the IT or digital departments.
  • When companies do their introduction, include time for a student to stand and share information about their course, school, or program.
  • Following a company tour or introductions, break students into small groups to conduct multiple informational interviews with employees. Groups need to stay between 2-6 people, including the employee—any more and the intimacy is lost.
    • Give the students informational interview questions before the field trip to help guide the conversation.
    • Give enough time for a few rounds of questions to take place so students have the opportunity to meet at least two people.
      • Informational interviews often last 20 minutes.
  • As a follow-up activity, have students write thank you notes to the people they interviewed that includes a brief reflection about the experience. Questions for students to answer include 1) What did you learn that you did not know before? 2)What did you gain from this experience?
    • This helps students continue the dialogue and connect with future mentors and potential allies.
    • It’s also a perfect opportunity to practice real-world, professional writing.
  • See Sample Notes and Reflections from Foshay Tech Academy Juniors in Aaronson's article.