Business leaders talk to middle school students about career paths

Standing before an audience in the auditorium of North Sanpete High School, MacKenzie Smith introduces computer systems expert, Stuart Smith, as the second speaker in a series of presentations introducing today’s youngsters to different career fields they may want to enter in the future.


Business leaders talk to middle

school students about career paths


By Doug Lowe 

Staff writer



MORONI—At North Sanpete Middle School in Moroni, during her work with students who need to do some credit recovery, MacKenzie Smith saw a need to help young people begin preparing themselves for a future career, and came up with the idea of inviting speakers, from various occupations, to discuss the pros and cons of going into their line of work.

“With the blessing of our Principal Odie Hansen, I created a list of careers and possible speakers, then began inviting them to see who was willing to come and speak in the auditorium during our flex-time period, from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m.,” Smith said.

Smith’s first career speaker, Spencer Cook, the MRI technician at IHC’s Sanpete Valley Hospital in Mt. Pleasant, drew upon his years of experience locally as well as up at Utah Valley Hospital in Provo in talking about the kind of jobs available for medical technicians.

Cook’s presentation on Wednesday, Feb. 19 was well received by the students and staff in attendance. Smith invited her father in law, who works as a computer programming supervisor in Provo, and sits on the Fountain Green City Council, as the second speaker in the career series.

Stuart Smith’s presentation described the many different and rapidly expanding career opportunities in the many fields associated with computers. And, fascinated students responded by asking a variety of questions—including how he decided to go into the computer field years earlier.

His answer sounded almost like a confession, “When I began college, I was planning to become a mechanical engineer, until I took a few classes that I disliked so much, I decided to change my classes and career plans.”

That was back in the 1980s. Since then, Smith has never regretted going into the computer field. “It has given me the opportunity to travel all over the world, and I enjoy travel,” he said. “Yet, for those who don’t like travel, the computer field can readily let you stay in one place—even work from home.”

Plans for future speakers include real estate agent, Sara Steadman, on Tuesday Feb. 24, with others that include a retired Air Force officer, police officer, dairy farmer, florist and wild life biologist yet to be scheduled.

Before becoming the school’s credit recovery teacher, MacKenzie worked as the parent liaison person for the Gear Up program, and before that was a substitute teacher. As an AmeriCorps volunteer, MacKenzie receives a small stipend that combines money from the federal government volunteer program and from the North Sanpete School district.

AmeriCorps is the nation’s largest program helping to place volunteers in all kind of non-profit, public-service organizations. In many cases, such volunteers received some financial assistance, and in all cases those who successfully complete their term of service become entitled to some scholarship support to help continue their own education. MacKenzie plans to use hers for post graduate study with the goal of being a school counselor.