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“Grad Fair:” The SWSG Mentors at the University of Pittsburgh teach girls about career opportunities

Posted by Molly Brenner Dec 12, 2012 , , , ,

The Strong Women, Strong Girls chapter from University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) hosted their annual fall field trip on campus this past month, at which they taught theirs girls about various career paths and professional opportunities. Faith Collins, a senior Anthropology major and SWSG mentor, describes the day:

Though it was freezing on Pitt’s campus, 54 girls got off of yellow buses outside of the Student Union to begin their day at SWSG Classifieds.  The day was to be a “grad fair,” giving the girls an idea of what types of careers the University of Pittsburgh and other colleges could provide them.  In addition to the fair, the girls got to have their own tour of campus, given as though they were visiting the college.  Finally, the girls participated in a Zumba lesson, followed by a delicious and healthy lunch.

The girls try on some different career choices with Pitt Chapter Director Megan Loftus

The girls, from Pitt’s six mentoring sites (Spring Hill Elementary, Minadeo Elementary, Propel Elementary, Rainbow Kitchen Community Services, Hazelwood YMCA, Wilkinsburg Boys and Girls Club) went to six different stations – Journalism, Law, Social Work, Chemistry, Medicine, Fashion – and participated in activities designed to give the girls a taste of a “day in the life” of each profession.  The girls got to see their mentors in their element:  The pre-med student was giving the girls a lesson in chemistry (incorporating ice cream, of course), while the social work major was sitting with the girls, explaining to them the need for good self-esteem in everyday lives, provided by civil service members.  Volunteers from America Reads Challenge were on hand to help the girls design their own dresses and strut down an imaginary runway at the Fashion table, while girls were making their own newspapers at the Journalism table.  The diverse choice of careers let the girls engage with all of the opportunities open to them in their futures.

The grad fair was followed by a campus tour led by members of Delta Phi Epsilon.  Following a tour of the Nationality Rooms and the Honors College in the Cathedral of Learning, the girls got to pose with one of the Panthers on Pitt’s campus.  The grad fair and the campus tour were the easy parts of the day—the girls now had Zumba with instructor Kaylie Bushee.  The girls (and mentors) soon found out just how much they could sweat within 40 minutes.  Worry not—their efforts were rewarded with five six-foot-long sub sandwiches, provided by Subway and paid for by Pitt’s Student Government Board.

As Field Trip Coordinator, I was pleased—albeit stressed—with how smoothly the day went.  There came a moment in the middle of the field trip when my stress melted away—I asked Aurora Rubenstein, a mentee from Minadeo Elementary, if she was enjoying the field trip, to which she fervently replied, “Yes!  Are you?!”  I quickly replied, “Yes!” And I was, so were all the mentors. It was a fantastic day for Pitt’s chapter. The girls boarded the buses, stomachs full and bodies Zumba-ed out, and with completed crafts from the grad fair in hand to show to their parents.  I left for home, feeling proud of my fellow mentors and feeling accomplished for having a field trip so relevant to the mission of SWSG.

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