Engineering, video game development, veterinary medicine; these are just some of the career aspirations of Metro Schools students who attended the ninth annual My Future. My Way. Career Exploration FairMore than 6,000 high school freshmen from 22 MNPS schools, including magnet, charter and the 12 largest neighborhood schools, gathered at the Music City Center on Nov. 14 to explore careers of interest.

“The career fair shows us, as freshman, why we should prepare for life,” said Briona, a student East Nashville Magnet. “It helps us mix with different cultures, and it gives me a different perspective on life. I would like to be a social worker because I want to involve myself with different people and help.”

“My favorite part of the day was meeting the FBI agents,” said Cole, a student at McGavock High School, who visited the Transportation Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation booths.

Sponsored by Alignment Nashville, students like Cole learned firsthand about career opportunities from more than 100 area businesses and nonprofits – many of which set up hands-on demonstrations of the work they do. Exhibitors represented a broad spectrum of careers including arts, communications, business, information technology, engineering, advanced manufacturing, healthcare, hospitality, tourism, government and nonprofit areas.

The exhibit hall was organized by five industry-themed areas:

  1. Arts, Media and Communications
  2. Business, Marketing and Information Technology
  3. Engineering, Manufacturing and Industrial Technology
  4. Health and Public Services
  5. Hospitality and Tourism

New this year, freshmen took the YouScience aptitude assessment thanks to the sponsorship of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. YouScience results deliver personalized matches to hundreds of careers, including in-depth information on each career such as day-in-the-life, core job tasks, salaries and educational requirements. Career fair exhibitors were matched with the Top 100 YouScience careers and marked with icons on their booths.

“Based on their YouScience results. we know MNPS Academy students have talent,” said Armando Garza, senior vice president of sales and marketing at YouScience. “It was great to actually meet them personally and to hear firsthand how YouScience impacted their career exploration and decision-making. We were very excited to be a part of this innovative career fair.”

“It’s important for the community to be part of the event to support freshman as they try and decide what career paths they want to pursue,’ said Davidson County Juvenile Court Judge Sheila Calloway, who attended the event. “I’m here to tell everyone how to be a judge when they grow up. I would rather them be a judge than to have to see a judge.”

CEO Champions co-chairs Mayor Megan Barry and Dan Piotrowski presented the “Best in Show” to the Engineering, Advanced Manufacturing and Industrial Technology partnership council for the interactive nature of their booths and variety of careers showcased. Rashed Fakhruddin, chair of the partnership council, accepted the award. Dr. Shawn Joseph, MNPS Director of Schools, Melissa Jaggers, president and CEO of Alignment Nashville, and Donna Gilley, director of the Academies of Nashville were part of the Best in Show award presentation.

Many thanks to PENCIL and the MNPS partnership council career fair chairs, that was instrumental in helping the Academies of Nashville plan and support the event this year:

Arts, Media, and Communications
DeeGee Lester, The Parthenon

Business Marketing and Information Technology
John Doerge, Deloitte
Ann Kehayes, Tennessee Credit Union

Engineering, Manufacturing, and Industrial Technology
Jack Tipton, ACE Mentor
Cheryl Mayes, Toolbox Consulting

Health and Public Services
Rebecca Bilbrey, Saint Thomas Health
Nikkita Chatman, Davidson County Juvenile Court

Hospitality and Tourism
Leslie Davis, Nashville Convention and Visitors Center