ATETV Episode 24: Creative Careers

This week, we look at three very different learning experiences, all of which demonstrate that the workplace of the future is anything but dull and routine.

In our first segment, we head to San Diego to the MATE ROV Competition, where an all-women’s team from Arizona State University is proving that when it comes to building Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), there’s no such thing as a gender role.

Sometimes known as “underwater robots,” ROVs are used in a wide range of fields, from marine biology to homeland security. And, as demand for this technology grows, companies will increasingly be looking for diversity in their workforces.

“This competition shows there’s a shift in the traditional roles for women,” notes Nancy Fletcher, an employer with Oceanography International. “They’re the team captains, they’re piloting, they’re hands-on — they’re breaking their nails, so to speak.”

And while these women are focusing on technologies to be used in the depths of the ocean, student Paul Marquis is turning his attention to the skies above. As a Wind Energy major at Laramie County Community College, Paul is learning to operate and maintain wind turbines, becoming part of an emerging field that harnesses power from the wind to create electricity.

Small class size, one-on-one instruction and an inspiring mentor are adding up to what Paul hopes will be a lifelong career path. “Mike Schmidt is a great mentor,” says Paul. “He’s been out in the industry, he’s not just someone who read the book. I think it’s a lot better to learn from someone who’s been out in the field and has gotten his hands dirty.” Paul notes that the Wind Energy program is his first post-secondary school experience. “Before this, I was moving from job to job, but now I’m learning lasting skills.” And he hopes that the program will be a launching pad for a lifelong career in the wind industry. “There’s a reason we’re looking for new sources of energy — and this is a good one.”

Finally, in our third segment, we visit with Ryan Snell, who is enrolled in the Video Simulation and Game Development program at Wake Technical College, where he is turning his love of computer games into a career pursuit. “I would say I’m a game developer,” notes Ryan. “The art, the programming, the production — with this program, I have a hand in every cycle of video game development.” And with the creation of “Rock Renegades” — one of eight new games that he and his student partner have developed in a single semester — Ryan’s entrepreneurial spirit has been unleashed. “It was the greatest experience I ever had,” he says.

As the subjects in this week’s episode have shown, creativity, ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit abound in many of today’s newest training programs — our featured students are pursuing much more than just jobs, they’re passionate about their future careers.

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