Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Career Days Are Awesome

For a number of years, I’ve visited schools across Honolulu to talk with students about STEM and being an engineer. I’ve talked with everyone from 1st graders, to high school, to community college students. I’ve probably talked with hundreds of students at STEM events like Lacy Veach Day of Discovery, to career talks in classrooms, to symposiums. I am passionate about the belief that if I can be a software engineer anyone of our keiki can. Every once in a while I receive an indication that my efforts make a difference and it is really what keeps me going. 

At the high school level, I often pass out my business card to students with one stipulation - any student that takes my business card must contact me in the future.  I’ve been contacted by a few students that made good on their promise. This particular contact just happened via LinkedIn and its pretty remarkable. So here is the story….

The exact Pearl City career day where I met this extraordinary student

Hi Aaron,
I meet you back in 2014 at Pearl City High School’s job fair and we also did a job shadow too. I tried to contact you, but I found out you're now at DataHouse. Can you please provide an email so I contact you?

Hi! It's great to hear from you. Are you studying programming at school?

Yes, I am studying computer science with a minor in math and entrepreneurship! I am sophomore now and I completed almost two years of CS classes. It has been a few years since we talked in the job shadow Ms. Kat helped me with. 

I just want to first thank you for inspiring me to pursue in coding. It has not always been an easy road, but I enjoy it too much to ever give up. Its pretty crazy, but I been holding your business card in my wallet to one day share what I have done thus far. What better time to get in touch with you as I begin building my portfolio/resume. 

I will be heading back to Portland on Saturday but when I get back in the summer do you have any suggestions that I should pursue?  Also Congrats on the new company by the way!

Thank you for sharing your story with me. I believe in you. Us Hawaii kids can do it. We can be right there with everyone else in STEM. And little by little, one engineer at a time we can pave the way for more of us believing.

My Thursday and Friday afternoon is currently open. If you want to come by DataHouse (by Ala Moana) to talk story you are more than welcome to. However, let me know ASAP so I can reserve the time for you. Otherwise, we can definitely stay in touch and chat.

Student (after coming by DataHouse to talk story):
Hi Aaron. Thank you for lunch and all of your advice! I continue to be inspired by your story and I am thankful for your support! Definitely a highlight of my break and I can't wait to build through opportunities and grow as a software engineer. Look forward to staying in contact with you as well.

Wow. What a great story. I am really proud of this student for what he’s doing.  It is amazing what Career Days and a little outreach can do. We have remarkable kids in Hawaii, kids that really can do anything they set their minds to, kids that can compete globally, kids that really do make us proud. I believe in them.   

I am determined to reach more of Hawaii's students. Please let me know if you have students I can talk with. I would love to talk with new schools and even schools on the neighbor islands. Career Days Are Awesome!

Update: as I wrote this blog I've been contacted to do 4 Career Days in the up coming months!

1 comment:

nthpixel said...

That's awesome Aaron! Sometimes the greatest rewards come at the most unexpected time. Keep up the great work.