K-12 staff visits YWCP for annual student job fair featuring local women professionals


On the right is Kierra McInnis, outreach specialist with the Army Educational Outreach Program’s apprenticeships and fellowships, who participated in the annual Cool Women/Hot Jobs event at Young Women’s College Prep Charter School of Rochester. She joined Science and Technology Entry Program Director Ashley Simmons (not photographed) to connect with students about various career fields and opportunities. AEOP Apprenticeships and Fellowships, and STEP are housed through the K-12 University Center at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Kierra McInnis knows there’s no right or wrong path to finding happiness and success in doing what you love. That was her message to students from Young Women’s College Prep Charter School of Rochester during its annual job fair-type event called Cool Women/Hot Jobs.

“I had a nontraditional college career and I think it was important to show the students that although things may not always go as planned, everything will still work out and you can always achieve your goals,” she said. “Your degree does not have to limit your career choice. I thought I would only work in research labs after I finished my biology degree, but now I am doing outreach.”

McInnis, an outreach specialist with Army Educational Outreach Program's apprenticeships and fellowship, was among nearly 30 women from various career fields who visited the school on March 10. She was also joined by Ashley Simmons, director of the Science and Technology Entry Program. Both grant-funded programs are administered by the K-12 University Center at Rochester Institute of Technology.

“The students were enthusiastic, asked us amazing questions and were very open about what they would like to pursue after high school,” McInnis said. “They really wanted to get to know us and what led us to our jobs, and we were just as interested in getting to know the students.”

She had the opportunity to partake in the event thanks to a tip from another K-12 connection that allowed her to be a resource for the activity. McInnis was paired with LaQuanda Brinson, manager of camp programs at Rochester Museum and Science Center, who together talked about their educational backgrounds, how they acquired their jobs and what their career paths looked like. They also discussed qualifications for their jobs, a typical day-in-the-life of the work they do, the importance of networking and future goals.

Other professionals invited to the event represented career fields including education, engineering, finance, health sciences, IT and more – from businesses such as Baldwin Richardson Foods, Hey Baby Mobile Ultrasound, L3Harris Technologies, Nixon Peabody LLP, Paychex, Rochester Regional Health, University of Rochester and more. This year’s guest speaker was Patricia Nilson, CEO and president of NYSEG and Rochester Gas and Electric.

The goal, according to YWCP, was to expose students to different career fields from women professionals in the area who shared their personal and professional journeys.


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