WINCHESTER — Students of all ages met with industry and agency representatives to learn about different career paths during the 10th annual Explore Engineering, Surveying, Forestry, Computing and Computer Science event Wednesday at Umpqua Community College.
They walked among the array of 60 exhibit tables, 40 of which represented local businesses and organizations, including Convey Keystone, Orenco and Knife River.
“It’s an opportunity for students to talk one-on-one with people working in these industries to see what they’ve done and what education might be required,” said Clay Baumgartner, an engineering professor at UCC. “For people today to get family wage jobs, it takes some technical skills.”
With a model boat on display, North River Boats representatives came to introduce students to its work.
“It’s a really great event to support the local college and community and it gives kids a chance to see what’s available here in Douglas County,” said Josh Hampton, North River Boats engineering and design supervisor.
Draftsman Joshua Laas added that a lot of work the boat manufacturing company does uses skills taught at UCC, like welding, drafting and other shop skills.
Students with the Great by Eight group from the Boys & Girls Club of the Umpqua Valley attended the event to check out the displays.
Fremont student Sidney Kowal, 11, said she wanted to see what jobs were available and was particularly interested in the fire fighting and programming tables.
Other Fremont students Christopher Tucker, 11, Matthew Burgesh, 12, and Kat Stevenson, 12, were busy perusing the exhibits.
“So far I’ve really enjoyed it and it’s making me think about my future more,” Stevenson said.
“What really interested me was the space observatory, especially when they showed the nebula,” Tucker added, referring to the UCC Paul Morgan Observatory.
Burgesh agreed about the observatory and said he also enjoyed the UCC math department table.
UCC student Antonio Sanchez said he came to broaden his horizons and see what kinds of jobs are available in forestry.
He was interested in the Swanson Group’s exhibit.
“They’re environmentalists, and I am an environmentalist myself, so I could see that fit in my career,” Sanchez said.
The Phoenix School table was bedecked with hard hats and tools to promote its Youth Corps summer program for 16- to 24-year-olds to work in the woods, trail building and surveying for rare plants.
“It’s to get youth to understand there are more jobs out in the forest than just timber jobs,” said Chris Roe, Youth Corps coordinator.
Second-year UCC student Michael Hoie, also president of the school’s engineering club, said he helped put on the Explore event to inspire other students to become interested in engineering and receive the support they need to be successful.