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Archive for February, 2012

Meet an Education Specialist: Shannon Fischio

Friday, February 17th, 2012


Introducing… Shannon Fischio

A graduate of … Granite High School

Now working as … Education Specialist

Employer … Utah State Office of Education

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

Chemistry and AP Chemistry were her favorite classes in high school.

Shannon’s first job … was working at a flower shop, where she loved the creativity and interactivity of the job.

The worst job? Also working at a flower shop. Yes, she loved the work, but what made it the worst was an ill-prepared store manager who created an environment of conflict among the full-time employees. This experience made Shannon feel lucky to be a part-time employee, and also taught her the importance of building people up, recognizing their value, and ensuring that they are motivated to do their best.

The most significant post high school training/education for Shannon goes beyond her Bachelor’s degree. Shannon asserts, “In reality, my degree prepared me to get the job I wanted, but I continue to learn most of what I need on the job and with continued workshops and conferences.

A Career Highlight … “Learning about the legislative process and how things really work. My first day at the Utah State Office of Education found me in a meeting with legislative fiscal analysts. Very interesting. I also love training teachers. I have been able to travel the whole state of Utah sharing information about doing good things for kids. Yes, there is resistance sometimes, but you get to meet a lot of great people and see their love for students.

Advice to students: Take advantage of all you can while in high school.  Explore things in which you truly have an interest.  You will be better prepared as you take the next steps in your career.”

And more …

By working diligently to establish herself as reliable, hard-working and knowledgeable, early in her career, Shannon became a highly valued employee of the State Office of Education. Her reputation enabled her to leverage a high level of flexibility in terms of her contract and work schedule, and ultimately allowed her to successfully balance work and personal roles. Shannon currently works mostly from her home office.

Students Prepare for a Career in Nursing

Thursday, February 16th, 2012


Q&A with Joy Phillippy: A registered nurse and a certified nursing assistant (CNA) classroom instructor at the Canyons Technical Education Center (CTEC).

Question: What do you want parents and the community to know about your class?
Answer: The CNA class at CTEC provides those students interested in the nursing profession or any medical profession to explore the opportunity of those medical related careers. Those students interested in pursuing a career in nursing receive a jump-start into any nursing program entrance criteria of CNA course completion.

Question: What skills do students learn in your CNA class?
Answer:  CPR, first aid, infection control, transferring, positioning and moving patients, how to feed a patient, how to complete oral care on a conscious and unconscious person, bathing a person, shaving a person, pressure ulcer prevention, measuring and recording intake and output. Isolation precautions, postmortem care, vital signs, dressing and undressing residents, foot care and nail care, assisting patients with bathroom needs and range of motion exercises.

Question: What certifications can students obtain in your CNA class?
Answer: CPR, Professional Rescuer, First Aid, Medical Terminology State Certificate

Question: What projects are your students working on?
Answer: CTEC CNA students are starting to review for the Utah State HOSA competition to be held on March 15-16, at the Davis Conference Center. Those placing in the top finishers will have an opportunity to go the National HOSA Competition in Orlando, Florida on June 20-23.

Question: What competitions will your students participate in on March 15-16?
Answer: Home Health Care and Medical Terminology

Question: How does your class prepare students for life after high school—college and career?
Answer: For college entrance into a nursing program, students MUST have their CNA certificate.

A student in my class last spring accepted a CNA position in Hawaii. She will be living there for 8 months working as a CNA, as well as taking classes. Pretty Cool Huh?

CNA class learning how to use personal protective gear in the health care setting.

The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) estimates that the nation’s nursing shortage will reach more than one million nurses by the year 2020. Visit UtahCTE.org to learn more about a career in nursing.

Meet a Chemical Engineer: Stephen Grobstein

Thursday, February 16th, 2012


Introducing… Stephen Richard Max Grobstein

A graduate of … Skyline High School

Now working as … Process/Chemical Engineer, working in Research and Development as part of a team that takes brand-name drugs and reformulates them to produce acceptable generic counterparts that can be sent off for clinical trials.

Employer … Watson Laboratories

Check out this website … http://www.watson.com

Chemistry, math, and history were his favorite courses in high school.

Stephen’s first job … was grocery bagger.

The worst job?  Grocery bagger, was also his worst job. He says, “I hated the winter months, dragging carts through the snow. Taking out the garbage was the smelliest thing I have ever had to do…” (Of particular note since he’s a chemist!)

Most significant training/education beyond high school was earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering.

A Career Highlight … Stephen admits that he prefers “being in charge of people,” and – apparently – he is good at it, since he has achieved a management role in every job he has held so far.

Advice to students: Pick your favorite subject in school and find a related career. “Nothing is more important than enjoying what you do for a living…”

Meet a Dental Office Manager: Denise Cook

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012


Introducing… Denise Cook

A graduate of … Cyprus High School

Now working as … A Office and Dental Clinic Manager

Of … Swanson Dental Clinic

Check out this website … www.bountifuldentistry.com

Science courses were her favorite high school classes because … she says loved learning about living things and what is necessary for them to function.

Denise graduated with high honors from a technical college with a degree in Dental Assisting and Management.

Denise’s first job – was working as a Collections Representative for a financial card services corporation.

The worst job?  Denise also worked as a Collections Representative for a large education services company. Her manager was totally ineffective, and Denise found it impossible to be a motivated and efficient employee in the oppressive environment.

A career highlight … “My current position has taught me so much! I have not only learned what it takes to run an office, but an entire dental practice. The dentist I work for is a brilliant man. Plus, who wouldn’t love to work for someone who gives you Valentine’s Day and Halloween off – with pay?!”

Advice to students … “Go to college; it is so much fun!” Denise waited until she was in her 30’s to go to college and says she feels that waiting that long resulted in her missing out on the full college experience.

Meet a Business Owner: Lanette Fidrych

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012


Introducing… Lanette Fidrych

A graduate of … Granite High School

Now working as … A Business Owner

Of … Cycle Dog Products

Check out this website … www.cycledog.com

Geometry was her favorite high school class because … she says she is a very visual learner, and Geometric formulas are very visual – so she excelled!

College Athletics was Lanette’s most significant post high school education/training experience. Participating in college track for four years taught her a lot about perseverance, accomplishment and defeat. She says, “Sometimes the definition of winning is simply not quitting.”

Lanette’s first job – was working as a morning water girl at a garden center – at age 14!

The worst job?  After graduating from college, Lanette worked as a product manager for a large sportswear manufacturing company. Sadly, she discovered that a bad supervisor can turn a job into the “worst.”

A career highlight … Lanette started her own business at just age 26 and reports learning on the go – and quickly! She says that in the first three years of running her own business she “learned more than I could have learned in 20 years at my [former] fancy job.”

Advice to students … “Take risks. Try a lot of different things. Let yourself be young for a little while. Travel. Be open to any and every opportunity. Look at every challenge as an opportunity to learn something new.

And more …

  • About Geometry: Geometry has a strong relationship with design. Symmetry and A-Symmetry have a lot to do with why we like the look of some things and not others. I’ve always been fascinated by angles and how equations relate to one another.
  • The connection between college athletics and running a business: Having my own business, now I often relate to the challenges, defeat, and wins I experienced in sports. Sometimes the constant hard work and effort it takes to just finish the job can be trying, but if you stick to it you’ll eventually get a few wins.
  • Insights re: her (self-described) “fancy” job in a big corporation: “Looking back on the experience I learned that raising your hand and asking for help is a good thing. I learned that asking for direction and setting expectations between you, your boss, and your boss’ boss can make all the difference. I learned that getting the right people on your side is very important. Unfortunately the saying “It isn’t what you know, it’s who you know” is true.



New Livestock Facility Opens in Nebo School District

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

This month a new livestock facility opened in Nebo School District that will support three high schools and their Agricultural Education programs. The new facility is called the “Nebo Agricultural Station” and will house numerous FFA student projects. Buddy Deimler, Agricultural Education Specialist at the Utah State Office of Education, tells UtahCTE.org about the project.

Question: Why was the facility built in Nebo?
Answer: As that part of Utah County becomes less rural students in agricultural education have less opportunity to house livestock projects at their homes. Many students live in suburban housing which does not provide housing opportunities for livestock.

Question: Does this facility replace an older building or it is new to the district?
Answer: Several of the older high school programs have had livestock facilities in place for many years. These facilities have received upgrades in the past few years to facilitate program growth. Maple Mountain High School, Salem Hills High School and Spanish Fork High School will use the new facility.

Question: How many schools will this new facility serve?
This facility will serve three high schools that don’t currently have livestock facilities. In addition, there is land area available for summer plant programs, research and elementary school field trip demonstrations by the associated FFA chapter.

Question: What kinds of student projects are taking place at the facility?
Answer: The facility will house mostly sheep and swine projects. Most of these projects will be market animals for livestock shows; the Spanish Fork Junior Livestock Show, Utah County Fair Junior Livestock Show, and The Utah State Fair Junior Livestock Show. A few of the students may travel to other livestock shows in the state.

Question: What was the involvement of CTE/FFA students in building this facility?
Answer: The project was designed and directed by J. Merrill Hallam who is a Nebo School District science teacher and CTE Coordinator for Agriculture and Welding. Appropriate personnel were used for electrical and water installation, but a majority of the work was done by J. Merrill, high school FFA students, and community volunteers.

Question: Who else contributed to the building of this facility?
Answer: The concrete was subcontracted, but all other construction including electrical, plumbing, framing, sheeting, and installation of all feeders, waterers and fencing was done by J. Merrill, his son Riley, high school students and other community volunteers.

Question: Where did you obtain the equipment for the facility?
Answer: Previously used feeding, watering and fencing material was purchased out of Iowa for about 20 cents on the dollar.

Question: Will this livestock facility be expanded in the future?
Answer: The livestock facility is phase one of hopefully a continuing expansion of agricultural opportunities and experiences for all interested students.

Question: How will this facility be supervised?
Answer: Each school agricultural education teacher is assigned to one night a week, after school, to supervise students from all area schools in Nebo School District. Each teacher also takes one weekend a month for supervision of students. Additional time is spent by each advisor and student as the projects move toward completion.

Meet the Director of Ag in the Classroom: Debra Spielmaker

Monday, February 13th, 2012


Introducing… Debra Spielmaker

A graduate of … Bingham High School

Now working as … Director of Utah Agriculture in the Classroom, providing professional development for K-12 and pre-service teachers, regarding the integration of agricultural concepts into science, social studies, and nutrition.

Employer … Utah State University

Check out this website … http://utah.agclassroom.org

Debate was her favorite high school class because … “This course/activity prepared me with the real-world skills of organization, gathering evidence to support my thoughts/opinions, how to do research, how to think on my feet, how to speak and communicate effectively, how to take initiative, work as a team, and be a leader. These are characteristics that employers desire.”

Debra’s first job … was as working at a turf farm.

The worst job?  Shelf Stocker … on the night shift … during the holidays.  (Enough said?)

A Career Highlight … In 2004, Debra earned the E. G. Peterson Extension Award. This award is a high honor; Utah State University lights the ‘A’ on Old Main as a part of this recognition.

Advice to students: Practice, practice, practice, in the area of writing is very important. Writing is a skill you can always use in both technical and academic fields!

And more …

  • Debra describes her most significant education/work experience beyond high school: “I participated in an internship/work-experience job every summer in my area of interest, agriculture. I worked for the forest service, in a nursery, on a dairy farm, and horse breeding farm.
  • About developing core skills: “I wish I had done more to improve my math skills. My parents weren’t great at algebra and gave up helping me with math in 8th grade. I took college algebra and trig in high school and was a B student, but I really question my comprehension of the subject. I didn’t pursue this frustrating subject as a senior and in college I avoided more math…wish I had sought out a tutor in high school it would have really helped in so many university courses. I also wish I had done more writing and had more constructive feedback from teachers. Practice, practice, practice, in the area of writing is very important. I learned this after five years in my profession. High School debate helped with writing but I am amazed how much writing I have to do now.”

Meet a Workforce Specialist: Shari Elliott

Sunday, February 12th, 2012


Introducing… Shari Elliott

A graduate of … Wasatch High School

Now working as … A Workforce Specialist, helping families in need

For … the Utah Department of Workforce Services

Check out this website … http://jobs.utah.gov

Biology was her favorite high school class because … numerous reasons, but Shari believes the teacher can make or break the learning experience!

Shari’s first job – was bussing tables at a local cafe.

The worst job?  Entry level Office Worker – the work itself was actually okay, but working without much-needed benefits made this job the ‘worst.’

Advice to students …“Go to college right out of high school. Do not delay!”

And More …

  •  About high school … Shari acknowledges her Biology teachers, Mr. Felsch and Miss North, who she credits with making Biology her favorite class. Her enjoyment of learning all about life and living organisms was in large part due to their enthusiasm.
  • A highlight … “I completed my Bachelor’s Degree and kept on going. I am currently working to find an internship in counseling – the final requirement for my Master’s Degree!”
  • Added insight …
    • “Starting college in my late 20’s after I had already started a family has been the most challenging thing I have ever done.”
    • Enjoy what you do, no matter what you are doing. Looking back, a lot of what I consider “bad experiences” really just reflects my own poor attitude at that time.”

Meet a Certified Technician: Samuel Sondrup

Friday, February 10th, 2012


Introducing… Samuel K. Sondrup

A graduate of … Chattahoochee High School (Georgia)

Now working as … A Certified Technician

For … REI (major outdoor retail store) I work in a repair shop for bicycle and skis at major outdoor retail store. I have to organize, control, and perform repair work for customers. I also have to do ordering of merchandise for special orders as well as needed inventory.”

Check out this website … http://www.rei.com/

Yearbook was his favorite high school class because … he says he learned how to work effectively as a member of a team to create a great product.

Samuel’s first job – was as a worker at a small shipping/copy center.

The worst job?  Call Center Representative because the hours really dragged and there was nothing stimulating about dealing with a stream of disgruntled customers.

Advice to students … Work hard at whatever you do, and if you don’t like what you are doing then find a way to change in order to be happy. Making money is great, but life is short and being happy with yourself and with what you do every day is more important.”

And more …

  • About Samuel’s high school experience: “I was part of the Yearbook staff for a couple of years as an elective. I learned more about managing and performing to meet a deadline in that class than I did in most of my college courses. I had to be on time with my edited work and follow strict guidelines in order to have our year book published. It also allowed me and my classmates to use our creativity to create what we wanted as a team. As a team we had a diverse group of people that worked together whether they wanted to or not because the project as a whole was way more important than the personal issues that could arise during stressful deadlines. Seeing a finished product great and knowing that you and your classmates worked an entire year to create it was so rewarding.
  • About his college experience:  “I would say my Global Marketing Strategy class at USU was my overall best college course for preparing me for real job challenges. The professor was Edwin Stafford and the entire course was a project. It was more or less considered our final project in order to graduate. It was a project that required us to work in groups with people that may or may not be your first choice to work with, and also required communication with people outside our college to complete. It was literally making a marketing proposal for a major corporation.
  • About his current job:  ”Although I did not plan on working in retail for as long as I have, it has been great to start out at REI as the lowest man on the totem pole, and become the Certified Technician for one of the largest and most successful REI’s in the country.





Meet an International Rate Specialist: John Millsaps

Friday, February 10th, 2012


Introducing… John Millsaps

A graduate of … Skyline High School

Now working as … An International Rate Specialist

For … Christopherson Business Travel

Check out this website … http://www.christophersontravel.com

Anthropology was his favorite high school class because … of a great teacher who awakened curiosity about the people and the cultures of the entire world.

John’s first job – was delivering newspapers, and he says he learned a lot, being responsible for attracting new clients, reliable delivery, and collection of payments.

The worst job? Car Salesperson. This was a job that paid strict commission, and presented some challenges as John worked to maintain his personal integrity in spite of some existing business cultural norms.

Advice to students …Follow your passions and dreams, yet have a back-up plan, just in case.  That means getting a good education and then continuing to learn throughout life.”

And More …


  • “I have a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Utah. I worked in the field for several years and got to work at Petra Jordon, Aleppo Syria, and a number of sites in the USA. It wasn’t a job that paid well or that was steady so when I needed to get a stable job I looked around and found a career that would allow me to explore and travel the world.”
  • “I have traveled to 6 out of the 7 continents and visited over 100 countries and all 50 states and been on multiple cruises.”