← Utah CTE Blog Home

Archive for February, 2012

Meet a Social Media Specialist: Elizabeth Ziegler

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012


Introducing… Elizabeth Ziegler

A graduate of … Redwood High School (California)

Now working as … Public Information Officer I-Social Media Specialist, “in charge of representing the State Board of Education and State Office of Education Leadership and Programs on various social media platforms. These include a WordPress Blog, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter account, Flickr account and YouTube Channel.”

Employer … Utah State Office of Education

Check out this website … http://UtahPublicEducation.org

Current Events was her favorite class in high school because …“I didn’t realize it, but this course focused on the geo-political issues of the day sparked an interest in politics and the media that inspired me to become a reporter and to work in public relations for a government agency, which is my current occupation.”

Elizabeth’s first job … Gift wrapper at a small chain of department stores.

The worst job?  Call center worker “because the work entails encountering a lot of disgruntled, annoyed people and doing very repetitive tasks while sitting all day.”

A Career Highlight … Elizabeth was named the 2009 Utah Radio Reporter of the Year by the Utah Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Advice to students: If you are interested in a career, go for it. Be persistent.”

And more …

About Elizabeth’s most significant training beyond high school:

“There were two critical opportunities I sought after college that were instrumental in getting me started on my career path.

  • I realized after graduating with a degree in Literature from UC Santa Cruz that I missed writing on deadline. I considered going to graduate school to be an English teacher in high school or at the college level. But I soon realized it was the act of writing I missed and so began to pursue options for becoming a journalist. I turned to a local alternative monthly paper published and called the editor to ask how to get into the business. She asked me to come in and we chatted about editing, reporting and talked about some story ideas I had brought in with me. Soon I was helping proofread the paper before it went to press and contributing music reviews and features. For this work, I was not paid very much. But the experience, my “clips,” helped me land a full-time job at a newspaper.
  • Around this same time, after college but before I had really gotten started on my career, I took a community college course in radio to get over my shyness. I was so nervous about public speaking and thought that this course would help. It was designed to train new volunteers for a community radio station and after the course ended, I became a late-night volunteer music DJ at the station. Many years later in my career, I pulled on this experience to transition from being a newspaper reporter into a public radio reporter. Without that class, I would never have been able to get my job covering the Utah Legislature for KCPW.

 Some specific strategies for learning more about jobs that interest you:

  • Call organizations that interest you, contact individuals within the organizations who have jobs you think you might want, and ask them how they got there and what you can do to get started in their field.
  • Don’t undervalue volunteer positions or internship opportunities, even if they are unpaid, because the personal contacts you make and the work you do in these positions will help you when it comes time to apply for a full-time, paid position in the career of your choice.



Meet the Program Management Director of Symantec, Inc.: Cynthia Ann Sanders

Monday, February 27th, 2012


Introducing… Cynthia Ann Sanders

A graduate of … West Jordan High School

Now working as … Director, Program Management – responsible for on-time delivery of enterprise software products to market.

Employer … Symantec, Inc.

Check out this website … http://www.linkedin.com – Cindy Sanders

AP English was her favorite class in high school because …“My teacher taught us how to think outside of the box.  The research and problem solving skills served me well throughout my career.”

Cynthia’s first job … Hotel Housekeeper.

The worst job?  Custodian in a grocery story.  On the plus side, having to clean up “disgusting” messes convinced Cynthia to pursue a college education so that she didn’t have to do that kind of work for the rest of her life.

Cynthia reports her most significant training beyond high school was … participating in the MIT Executive Leadership Program, entitled “Leading Change in Complex Organizations” and included the study of human behavior, as well as statistical and analytical analysis.

A Career Highlight … “Promotions are obvious achievements but not the most noteworthy. I enjoyed working the most when I was making a difference or having an impact on my company, co-workers, employees and shareholders.”

Advice to students: “Pick a career you can be passionate about, something you love to do. If you can find this, it won’t feel like work.”

Meet the CEO of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation: Randy Parker

Friday, February 24th, 2012


Introducing… Randy Parker

A graduate of … Pleasant Grove High School

Now working as … the Chief Executive Officer of a non-profit association overseeing budget, staff, and implementing the policies of 30,000 members under the guidance of a board of directors.

For … Utah Farm Bureau Federation

See the website … http://utfb.fb.org/

Vocational Agriculture were his favorite high school classes. “Coming from a ranching background, I was able to learn about management, production, finances as well as hands on welding and other agriculture shop classes. I was involved in FFA, including election to chapter offices.”

Randy’s first job (after college) – was Information Supervisor for the Utah Department of Agriculture.

Randy reports his most significant training was … a bachelor’s in Agri-business; a master’s in Agricultural Economics.  “My Vo Ag Teacher gave me the confidence to attend Utah State University after graduation. I was the first in my family to attend and graduate from college.

A career highlight … Election as President of the North American Agriculture Marketing Officials Association (NAAMO), which is a “collection of state and provincial marketing officials from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The group works together to increase food and agriculture marketing opportunities between the countries as well as jointly opening global marketing opportunities for North American farmers, ranchers and value added food processors.”

Advice to students …Stick with your educational goals. From a life experience standpoint there are two important considerations. First, there are a greater number of and more fullfilling career opportunities for men and women with college degrees. Second, the earning opportunity today for college graduates far exceeds my generation. In the 1970s, the lifetime earning potential differential between a high school graduate and a college degree was an increase of about 25 percent. Today, with a college degree the average increased lifetime earnings potential over a high school graduate is about 80 percent.

Meet a Construction Business Owner: David Godfrey

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012


Introducing… David S. Godfrey

A graduate of … Murray High School

Now working as … Business Owner/Operator

For … Godfrey Construction Co., LLC

Wood Shop was his favorite high school class because … it was an introduction to a field that evolved into his life’s work.

David’s first job – was fast food worker.

The worst job?  Fast food worker – but it wasn’t so much the work as it was the poor manager who supervised him. On the plus side, the experience taught him to step into the management void to help influence other employees to work better and smarter.

David reports his most significant training was … on the job. He worked part-time for an uncle who was the best example of how to have your own construction business, how to bid jobs, how to work hard to finish on time or early, how to be an influence for good on others you work with, and how to save and manage your money for the lean times that always exist in the construction industry.

A career highlight … “My name and reputation for excellent work have helped me survive while others in my business have gone bankrupt. It has been a true source of pride to know I managed a personal business that is sound and has created some beautiful homes and properties.”

Advice to students … Don’t waste time playing, socializing, and spending when you can be planning, saving, and learning what it will take to be successful in life.”

And more …

  • About what David learned from an otherwise negative work experience: I always said to myself if I had the opportunity to own my own business one day, I would do it better and not waste away the opportunity. I think back now about how even that negative example shaped my future success.”
  • In the construction business especially, it is necessary to manage well and save money in order to make it during the off season and economic downturns that are inevitable.

Meet a Realtor-Broker-Property Manager: Sandy Straley

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012


Introducing… Sandy Straley

A graduate of … Skyline High School

Now working as … Realtor-Broker-Property Manager

Employer … Sunview Homes

Check out this website … http://sunviewutah.com/

Psychology was her favorite class in high school because …“I am a very social person, so I enjoyed learning about how people think and react.”

Sandy’s first job … a secretary for the Salt Lake City Police Department.

The worst job?  Contact lens cleaner.  What made it the worst was the lack of variety; she found it extremely monotonous, which made it difficult to get excited about going to work every day.

Sandy reports her most significant training beyond high school has been “Real estate classes, broker classes, and continuing education throughout my career.”

A Career Highlight … Sandy is a “Million Dollar” salesperson, having sold a million dollars worth of property in one year!

Advice to students: Make sure you get a college degree.” In today’s economy, employers often choose the person who has the degree over someone who only has experience.

“I just got a job as a CNA and I love it!”

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012


Q&A with Suzie Kendell: A certified nursing assistant (CNA) classroom instructor at the Viewmont High School.

Question: What do you want parents and the community to know about your class?
Answer: I would like parents to know that this is a great opportunity for their students to be able to learn the skills to care for patients, whether they continue on in nursing, physical therapy, respiratory therapy, radiology, or pursue medical degrees in many of the other health care careers.

Question: Is the CNA course a prerequisite for future training and/or education?
Answer: Taking the CNA course is a requirement prior to participating in any medical internship in Davis District and is also a prerequisite for many of the college health care programs.

Question: What projects are your students working on?
Answer: Right now the students are learning about caring for the elderly, infection control and body mechanics. They are participating in labs where they are learning how it feels to be “elderly” by putting cotton in their ears, wearing glasses which cause blurred vision, using slings and wraps to limit mobility, and then walking around the school using walkers, canes and carrying oxygen. They are also learning to practice medical asepsis—a term used to mean free of contaminants that cause disease, like viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites—with hand washing, putting on gloves, gowns and masks. They are also learning how to take Vital signs—blood pressure, pulse, respirations and temperature.

CNA Elderly Experience

CNA Elderly Experience

Question: How does your CNA class prepare students for life after high school—college and career?
Answer: This program allows the students to learn and practice their skills here in our classroom lab and then go out into the community and actually care for patients and residents in long term care facilities during their clinical rotation. They are then prepared and qualified to take the Utah State CNA exam—a written and skills test. Upon passing the test they are certified and can go out and get a job as a CNA. This class is the first step and the foundation for every health care career available today.

Question: What are your students saying about your CNA class?

  • Blair said, “I am telling everyone to take this class!! It was awesome!”
  • Katana said, “I already love this class. I’m excited to take care of real people.”
  • Ashley said, “I just got a job as a CNA and I love it!”
  • Victoria said, “Now that I have my CNA certification, I am applying for the nursing program at several colleges. This will really help my chances of being accepted.”

    Restraint Lab


Registered nurses hold a variety of qualifying degrees. Approximately 18 percent hold a nursing diploma, 34 percent hold an associate degree, 34.2 percent have a bachelor’s degree, and 13 percent hold a master’s degree or doctorate.

Visit UtahCTE.org to learn more about a career in nursing.

Meet an Asst. Professor of Psychology: Russell Warne

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012


Introducing… Russell T. Warne

A graduate of … Bingham High School

Now working as … Quantitative Psychologist and Assistant Professor of Psychology

For … Utah Valley University

Check out these websites: http://www.apa.org/research/tools/quantitative/index.aspx# and http://www.uvu.edu/profpages/profiles/show/user_id/10984

History, Theatre, AP Psychology and English were among his favorite high school classes because … “I was always interested in people, and even though I have a bachelor’s and a doctorate in psychology, I probably learned more about people from my humanities background than I did in college.

Dr. Warne’s first job – was working at a grocery store and also tutoring community college students.

The worst job? “Because I’m also a musician, I worked a job where I did musical direction at an educational theater in California. My second summer there, the place was going under financially. My paycheck bounced twice, the director was artistically incompetent, and there were personality clashes among almost all of the staff. I counted down the days until I was released from my contract, got my last paycheck (as a cashier’s check), and went back to Utah.

A career highlight … Dr. Warne has received two national research awards – and is in the running for a third – in recognition of his doctoral dissertation, entitled, “Psychometric Impacts of Above-Level Testing.” It is early in his career, and he already has 11 published articles, too!

Advice to students …Take lots of courses in a lot of different fields (humanities, math, science, social sciences, arts) and the hardest courses you can manage. Don’t hesitate to bring information from one field to another. People appreciate a person who can deal with members of other fields.”

And more …

  • About Dr. Warne’s high school experience … Most significant courses for my future career were probably English courses because that’s where I learned to write. I’m always surprised by the sheer amount that I write. I also am frequently called upon to convey complex ideas succinctly, a skill that I developed in my English classes as a teenager. My theatre courses were significant, too, because I teach ten times per week. It feels A LOT like performing in front of a crowd.
  • What a Quantitative Psychologist does … A quantitative psychologist is a psychologist who specializes in performing research on people and their environments. I design research projects, write scientific articles, and learn why people act the way they do.”
  • What a College Professor does … As a professor, I teach people statistics, how to conduct research in the social sciences, and provide information about psychological and standardized tests.
  • Re: his undergraduate college experience: My undergraduate years provided me with the training I would need for my career. The best courses were psychological research methods and psychological tests and measurement. The latter course ignited my love for testing and evaluation, which surprised me. I had been somewhat disenchanted towards psychology and was thinking about changing majors. The T&M course showed me that I could be a psychologist and never have clients or patients. It pointed me in the direction necessary to learn about people, which is what got me into psychology in the first place.
  • And Graduate School …”was where I learned the majority of skills I need for my job. The classes were all useful, but more important was learning how to network, brainstorm research ideas, and write (There it is again!) like a scientist.

Meet a Database Administrator: Chad Markle

Monday, February 20th, 2012


Introducing… Chad Markle

A graduate of … Grimsley High School (Greensboro, N.C.)

Now working as … Senior SQL Server Database Administrator, responsible for the reliability and performance of the data that drives business.

For … MetTel.

Check out the website: www.mettel.net

Electronics was his favorite high school class because … “It was a very hands-on class. We got to build and repair various electronic devices and learn how they work.”

Chad’s first job – was mowing lawns, and also working in the kitchen of a “high-end burger restaurant.”

The worst job? Working at a software company, but what made it the worst was going through a big growth phase – a build-up to over 100 employees – and then downsizing that resulted in Chad being one of only 6 employees remaining. Chad says, “I saw several of my friends, who were smart and worked incredibly hard, get laid off. The lesson I learned here is to be loyal to your company, but keep a balanced life too. It’s easy to get too deep into your work and miss the other pleasures of life!”

A career highlight …was getting hired by a client of a company that Chad had previously worked with. He says, “The client was a very large company and gave me exposure to training and support I would not have had otherwise. People do recognize when you do a good job, even if they don’t say it or show it.”

Advice to students Learn as much as you can. Schooling is important as it shows your intent and capability to learn. Stick with it, even if it sucks. It will pay off down the road. Also, learn something because YOU want to, not because someone tells you that you should. You’ll enjoy it more and have a deeper understanding of it!

And more …

  • Chad reports his most significant training after high school was … “On the job training of the ins and outs of tuning a SQL Server to have it perform optimally. This is an ongoing learning process!”
  • During college, Chad was a co-op student for a small electrical engineering firm that made computers for larger companies.

Meet a Language Arts Teacher: Chantel Thackeray Olsen

Sunday, February 19th, 2012


Introducing… Chantel Thackeray Olsen

A graduate of … Hunter High School

Now working as … High School Language Arts Teacher. “My job is to organize lessons and information in order to bring out what is within my students. Particularly, I focus on literature, writing, reading, presenting.”

Employer … Murray School District

Check out this website … http://www.murrayschools.org/schools2/mhs/index.html                                                                                                                  

Drawing, ceramics, English, and creative writing were her favorite classes in high school because …  “I felt like these classes allowed me to be ME! There seemed to be more freedom to choose my assignment, or at least choose an element of the assignment. I also felt like my grade was truly based on my work/performance.

Chantel’s first job … was mowing lawns for Salt Lake Community College.

The worst job?  Bussing/waiting tables.  What made it the worst was not going to work until noon and then working late into the night. She felt that she was wasting the best part of the day at work.

A Career Highlight … “I should put something here like … I have my Master’s Degree, or I received an award, but I think some things are more of a highlight for me. I love teaching for several reasons, but I mostly enjoy it when I get a letter or a visit from a student that is grateful for my class. I had a student return after several years and say he wouldn’t have graduated if I hadn’t pushed him to complete his work in my class, as well as his other classes. He was in a technical school in Arizona and headed in a fantastic direction for a career. He never liked school and didn’t want to go to college. When he was a student I remember telling him that there are so many opportunities for everyone and some of those opportunities aren’t in a traditional route. He said that changed how he thought about his future. I can’t express how meaningful the moment was.”

Advice to students: Make a decision. Don’t wait for something to happen to you. Everyone is constantly looking to improve and to seek out what they want—adults and teenagers. There is not a perfect career or decision. If you keep moving, taking classes you enjoy, feeding the knowledge you value, you will end up doing something you believe in and so … like.”

More …

The takeaway from Chantel’s worst job: ”Looking back now, I see that it was a challenge. I had to be very socially appropriate: when guests complained I had to work on being humble and patient. This job introduced me to a lot of interesting people—guests and peers. I learned so much about how to control emotions and do the job even if someone is being rude.

  • RE: Chantel’s early college experience: “I didn’t really have an idea of a major or a ‘job’ when I went to Southern Utah University, so I decided I was just going to take classes I enjoyed. I had a Nature Writing class. We read selections about the West, about Utah. I was hooked. I loved that we read about areas I had been to: Moab, Salt Lake, the Grand Canyon. I felt connected to the writers and the subjects. To end the course we went on a class trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I felt like the class came to life. We wrote about our experiences, just like the writers we had read. So … I became an English major.”

Meet a Senior Human Resource Analyst: Susan May

Saturday, February 18th, 2012


Introducing… Susan May

A graduate of … Clearfield High School

Now working as … Senior Human Resource Analyst, conducting job recruitment, classification, and helping employees with benefits, retirement, payroll issues, etc.

Employer … State of Utah

Check out this website … http://www.dhrm.utah.gov

Business courses were her favorite in high school because … she learned “how to write professional letters, reports, etc. This background has helped me as I have progressed in my career.

Susan’s first job … was as a fast food worker.

The worst job?  Hotel Maid, but that experience motivated her to pursue the training/education that was needed so that she could take care of herself without having to take this type of job again.

A Career Highlight … The most rewarding facet of Susan’s job is helping other people. One of the people she recently assisted called Susan her “angel” because she played such a critical role in assuring a smooth transition to retirement.

Advice to students: “I never really knew what I wanted to be when I grew up and have been very fortunate to have ‘fallen’ into the Human Resource field. I have been able to really learn and grow and use my talents. My advice would be that once you know what it is you want to do, don’t let anything stand in your way. Get whatever education and training you will need to be able to accomplish your goals.

More …

  • RE: Susan’s first professional job working in the LDS Church Historical Department. “I was able to be mentored by individuals with college educations and it was a wonderful experience.”
  • Susan’s post high school education: I have been fortunate enough to be able to receive most of my training on the job. I originally was hired by the state as a secretary. I have taken the opportunity to learn and grow in each position that I have held.”
  • An example of Susan’s impact on the lives of others: I helped a woman with her retirement a year ago. Her husband was being treated for cancer and she didn’t know how long he had left. She agonized over what to do. I went over all of her options, including taking family medical leave, and she finally came to the decision that she really needed to concentrate on taking care of him, so I helped her through the retirement process. I felt very grateful that I was able to contribute in some small way.