"You might want to step back," said Peoples Bank Information Technology director Steve Nulter to a dozen or so eighth graders touring the bank's IT department Tuesday morning.
In a secure access room that houses the bank's powerful computer servers, Nulter used a special tool to suction up a floor board. Gathered around the hole, students were able to sneak a peak at the hundreds of wires that run the bank's massive data system.
"It seems like something that would interest me. I do pretty much everything on the computer," said Marietta Middle School student Kevin Thomas.
Thomas was just one of 238 MMS and St. Mary Elementary School eighth graders who got to get up close and personal with a variety of potential professions Tuesday during the schools' annual career field day.
The career day was a good chance for students to visualize themselves in a particular profession, said Mary Lou Moegling, job shadowing coordinator for the Teen Career Awareness Initiative.
"When you have a traditional career day, you visualize the speaker in that career. This lets them see themselves there," explained Moegling.
Career paths and businesses visited
Health: Marietta Memorial Hospital.
Information Technology: The Marietta Times and Peoples Bank.
Fashion: Teri Ann's, Kat's Hair Salon and The Schwendeman Agency.
Construction: Pioneer Pipe and Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 168.
Legal: Washington County Prosecutor's Office, Washington County Sheriff's Office, Baliff Renee Marshall.
Manufacturing: Hi-Vac Corporation.
Outdoor: Ohio Department of Transportation and Greenleaf Landscapes.
Science: Dominion East Ohio and Microbac Laboratory.
Culinary: The Lafayette Hotel.
Several local businesses opened their doors to the students who were divided into nine career fields based on a survey they had previously taken at school. Through science laboratories at Microbac to salon spa rooms at Kat's Hair Salon, the students explored and asked questions about professions of interest.
Not all students have whittled it down to just one career choice.
Eighth grade St. Mary student Reagan Hass toured Teri Ann's clothing store and Kat's Hair Salon along with a group of students interested in fashion. However, Hass is also interested in a career as a hospital lab technician.
"I've already been on a tour of the whole hospital so I wanted to give this a try," said Hass, who also expressed interest in owning her own business.
Trying out your options is definitely important, said Kat Garvin, owner of Kat's Hair Salon.
Though Garvin said she loves her current profession, she began her career as a secretary in Okinawa, Japan. She then decided doing something creative was more rewarding. Garvin's career path is a perfect example that anything is possible, given enough drive, she said.
"It depends on how much you work. It takes an ongoing education," said Garvin.
Those ever changing styles and trends are exactly what MMS student Trinity Abicht loves about the field.
"It seems kind of exciting. Other jobs don't seem so exciting but with this there are so many hairstyles you can do," said Abicht.
Abicht, who was part of the group that indicated an interest in fashion, also toured Teri Ann's and learned about fashion and owning a small business. Owner Teri Ann Pfeffer said a deep passion for what she does is one of the reasons she has been so successful over the years.
"They need to think ahead to what they want to do. We all need to love what we do, and I do love what I do," said Pfeffer.
"It is kind of cool seeing what fashion jobs there are right here in our town that we could get into," said MMS student Nicole Constable.
Students who indicated a career in science took tours of Microbac Laboratory and Dominion East Ohio.
"I really liked touring Microbac. I'm interested in a lab setting and it was very good getting to see people doing actual work in the lab," said Emma Morris, a MMS student who is interested in forensic science.
Beyond science, IT, and fashion, other students toured industries related to health, construction, law, manufacturing, outdoor services and culinary professions. Additionally, all students toured the Washington County Career Center in hopes of broadening their knowledge of available options, said Moegling.
"I liked going to the career center. Even if we do have an idea of what we want to do, that gives us ideas that might change our minds," said MMS student Emma Stubbe.
The career field day program has been in existence for five of the past six years. However, this year's program was the first sponsored by the Duke Energy Foundation's ICAN! Classroom Enrichment mini-grant. The grant not only paid for transportation, but also provided the students with an Apply iPad to record and edit a video about their experiences, said Moegling.
"This is the first year that the grant is possible, and we thought it was such a good fit to what we were already doing," she added.
In all, the students returned to their respective schools tired but smiling, said Moegling.
"It's nice to change it up and not be in a classroom all day," added MMS student Jarod Knight.