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Kids gain insight to careers

After visiting USF for a day, Joshua Blanchard knows he wants to pursue a career in athletics.

That became clear while learning how collegiate sports are managed and touring the University’s athletic weight rooms, training facilities and study areas.

Blanchard was one of 200 children between ages 8 and 18 who may have gained some insight into their future while attending USF’s second annual “Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day” on Thursday.

Children of university employees participated in activities that allowed them to explore various careers in 16 different departments at USF as part of the daylong program.

“I decided that I wanted my son to see more than just my four walls,” said Joshua’s mother, Yvette Blanchard, an academic program specialist for USF’s engineering department. “I wanted him to have the opportunity to see other areas on campus and get the vision of what he wanted to do when he grew up.”

Those who visited the kitchen in the Marshall Student Center (MSC) were able to help prepare meals, while others who visited the anthropology department learned about hunting in prehistoric Florida and experimented with ancient hunting tools.

Some middle and high school students toured the Nanomaterials and Nanomanufacturing Research Center, where they learned about new products that will benefit areas like health care, transportation, computers, construction and national security.

“We went to ROTC,” said Mac Suztacheck, a child who participated in the event. “We got to watch them shoot fake guns. So, it was fun.”

Before the program was implemented two years ago, children only shadowed parents on their day-to-day job.

But USF wanted to create a more interactive experience and allow children to see many aspects of the University, not just the area their parents work, said Sandy Lovins, associate director of Human Resources.

“This event is for the kids to see different kinds of careers. USF is like a little city,” said Lorna Gibson, assistant director for Human Resources. “Everyone showed up and we even had some drop-ins, people from all of our offices dropped off their kids today.”

Janet Becker-Jackson, administrative assistant in the College of Education’s dean office, brought her grandkids to the event.

“This is the first time that I really thought of bringing my grandkids,” she said. “They said they had fun, and I really appreciate that (USF) did this.”

USF President Judy Genshaft gave a welcome message at the event, which started at 7:45 a.m. and lasted until 3 p.m. Football coach Skip Holtz and Senior Vice President of USF Health Dr. Stephen Klasko also spoke to attendees about what a job in sports and health would be like, respectively.

The University’s Human Resources department sponsored the event, along with the USF Foundation, which provided a pizza lunch and gave an event T-shirt to each child.

“I think it is a rewarding day for the kids,” Lovins said. “They came back with ideas. They were talking about the different careers. This is a great opportunity for the children of our employees.”