Bobcat Career Chats

Lunch and Learn Career Exploration for Students
Posted on 11/01/2023
Robyn Hanson, a graduate student at VT talks with RHS students about careers and pathways in Data Science as part of the Bobcat Career Chat series.

The Bobcat Career Chat series was started in the fall of 2019 in response to student requests to learn more about certain jobs .  The program quickly grew - pivoting to an online platform during the pandemic and then returning to an in-person format.   The goals of the Bobcat Career Chats are to provide students the opportunity to interact with professionals and to gain exposure to multiple careers, pathways, and “career clusters” (see VDOE’s 17 Career Clusters).  The Bobcat Career Chats focus on professional, trades, and military careers that require varying levels of education, ranging from machinist, cosmetologist, real estate agent, and construction worker to nurse practitioner, engineer, and Air Force fighter pilot - and many things in between! Guests are invited to talk with RHS students about their career fields, share activities related to their work, and answer student questions. 

The Bobcat Career Chats are informal talks held in our library over both lunch periods.  This year the program has grown from two times a month (on different days) to every Friday. In order to maximize time with the guests, the students are provided a pizza lunch. These special lunches would not be possible without the support of a Truist Grant (awarded to Career Coach Margaret Sproule); an American School Library Association grant (awarded to RHS Librarian Rebecca Caufman), and the generous support of Radford High School Class of ‘76 which is providing ongoing financial support to purchase lunches for this series moving forward.

Attendance for the Bobcat Career Chat series varies each week, ranging from fifteen to 50 students.  Attendance is higher when teachers of targeted subjects encourage all of their students to attend (e.g. art students talk with a studio artist), but many students have learned about the series and come frequently to visit with the presenters, have lunch, and explore careers of interest to them.  Recent career chats guests have included: information technologist, planetarium director, chemist, software developer, biomechanical engineer, construction project manager, real estate agent, veterinarian, veterinarian technician, police officer, artist, caterer, personal trainer, nurse, machinist, educator, military recruiter, energy engineer, financial planner, and cosmetologist.