Timothy Blankenship wants to be computer technician, but last week a replica of the human arm complete with muscles, bones and nerves really fascinated the teenager.
“I love working with computers but this is just as interesting,” said Timothy, a Booker T. Washington High School junior who was among the more than 2,500 Escambia and Santa Rosa county middle and high school students to visit Pensacola State College during the Region 1 SkillsUSA Conference and Worlds of Possibilities Career Expo held Feb. 28-March 1.
“I never really considered a career in the medical field but the human body is one amazing piece of equipment,” added the 17-year-old Pensacola resident. “Maybe I can find a job that involves both. Technology plays such a big role in the healthcare field right now – it’s something for me to consider.”
Pensacola State student Dominic Olivar said the exhibit featuring healthcare programs grabbed the attention of many of the students who meandered through the Worlds of Possibilities expo.
“They are really fascinated by the human arm and leg and hang on to my every word,” said Olivar, a radiology major. “The limbs feel realistic and many of the students expressed a real interest in the medical field.”
The career expo was only a part of the annual conference where nearly 40 Pensacola State students were among the Region 1 winners – many of whom will move on to compete in the SkillsUSA Florida State Leadership and Skills Conference set for April 23-26 in Lakeland, said Jennifer Ponson, the Region 1 director and Pensacola State’s Coordinator of Student and Program Outreach.
Hosted by Pensacola State College, the Region 1 SkillsUSA competitions are based on leadership, service and technical fields ranging from cybersecurity to health occupations to HVACR. Pensacola State students who placed in their categories include:
First place: Robert Lloyd Tjossem; advisor, Tony Grahame
Second place: Ryan Martin; advisor, Tony Grahame
First place: Zulmarie Matos-Medina; advisor, David Langham
Second place: Ciara Silva; advisor, David Langham
Third place: Jason Switzer, advisor, David Langham
First place: Nicole Apple; advisor, Yvette Goolsby
Third place: Pamela Johnson; advisor, Yvette Goolsby
First place: Naomi Nichols; advisor: David Langham
Third place: Delores Karczewski; advisor, David Langham
First place: Selena Arnold; advisor, Sonja McCall-Strehlow
Second place: Christen Stephens; advisor, Sonja McCall-Strehlow
Health Knowledge Bowl
First place: Team 502 – Elizabeth Bradford, Candis D’Ann Calvert, Meredith Juli Goldsen and Margan Lunquist; advisor, Donna Mathias
Second place: Team 503 – Diane Stewart, Rodd Monzon, Christopher Porquiado and Toshi Rozzell; advisor, Donna Mathias
First place: Kareena Manassa; advisor, Donna Mathias
Medical Terminology Demonstration
First place: Sarah Seitz; advisor, Donna Mathias
First place: Team 501 – Robin “Haley” Brightman, Kayla Epstein, Leaona O’ Neill, Leigha Sanford and Rebecca Spivey; advisor, Yvette Goolsby
Career Pathways – Agricultural, Food & Natural Resources
First place: Team 501 – Shatori Brokington, Samantha Dudley and Nicole Floyd; advisor: Donna Mathias
Career Pathways – Health Science
Second place: Team 502 – Duong Doan, Elizabeth Le and Lauren Patane; advisor: Donna Mathias
Career Pathways – Human Services
First place: Team 501 – Krystal Hardin, Jinvel Jehlen and Jessica Wendlandt; advisor: Donna Mathias
Career Pathways – Information Technology
First place: Team 501 – Jasmine Crane, Ella Peshkova and Desja Ramirez; advisor, Donna Mathias.
Booker T. Washington High senior Simiah Johnson has already committed to Pensacola State and said she will join SkillsUSA next fall.
“I think it’s a great way to prepare for the real world and learn valuable skills such as interview skills, job preparation techniques and just working as part of the team,” said the 17-year-old who plans to earn a business degree.
“This is my second time attending the career expo and ‘Wow! Things have really changed since I was here before. All of the exhibits and activities are so interactive and engaging. I’m a hands-on learner and I really liked the Navy Federal booth. Maybe one day when I’m a young entrepreneur I can come back and be a part of the Worlds of Possibilities expo.”
Navy Federal Credit Union was only one of the many vendors to offer the students hands-on activities. Ferguson Airport featured an R-44 helicopter and pilots who spoke with students about careers and opportunities in aviation, the U.S. Navy’s display included a SideWinder missile, flight instruments, F-14 jet engine turbine blade and more.
“The SkillsUSA competitions and Worlds of Opportunities Expo provide effective ways to engage students and prompt them to consider a variety of career choices. These activities often open doors to future careers for these young people,” explained Jennifer Ponson, Pensacola State’s coordinator of student and program outreach.
“We at Pensacola State are committed to supporting the local work force and we are looking forward to hosting the SkillsUSA State Conference in 2018, 2019 and 2020.”
Gulf Power Co. was the platinum sponsor for the event, along with gold sponsors – FloridaWest, Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council, Aerotek and Navy Federal.
Silver sponsors were Central Gulf Industrial Alliance, EREC / Power South Energy Cooperative, Home Builders Association of West Florida, Pensacola Energy, East Hill Building and Design, Ferguson Airport, Highpointe Hotel Corporation, and Technical Training Aids.
Bronze sponsors were AppRiver, Baptist Health Care, CES Team One Communications, CareerSafe, D.C. Jaeger, Escambia County School District Workforce Education, Fellows Foundation, George Stone Technical Center, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Locklin Technical Center, U.S. Navy, Santa Rosa County School District Workforce Education, University of West Florida, and West Florida AHEC.