By Program Manager Lora Cawelti
Last month, Patty Duran and I organized a College and Career Day for the Inside Out Community Arts Alumni Mentors. Along with guest participants from The Gabriella Foundation, the teens spent the day talking with professionals in creative industries, participating in presentations with college admissions counselors, and interviewing a panel of current college students.
We started the day with a presentation from Family Guy Producer Shannon Smith and Director John Holmquist. After they played a few theater games with the group, Shannon and John led us all on a journey through cartoon-specific artistic and production jobs. It was exciting to see all of the possibilities and hear about their own journeys to where they are today. Shannon and John highlighted career and study paths and the importance of maximizing every connection and opportunity.
Many of the Mentors are interested in pursuing careers in the arts, so interviewing a panel of arts professionals was particularly thrilling. Writer/Director Susanna Fogel, Actor Goreti da Silva, and Dancer Ernesto Galarza shared their career choices, successes, and challenges. The teens were able to personally connect with the panelists and get advice on studying their crafts and pursuing internships. Veteran Mentor Natalie Resendiz shared, “Susanna set up a really cool connection for me with an executive from Televisa. Networking opportunities are everywhere, and Inside Out has always given me such great connections! “
After lunch, the focus of the day turned to college with a panel of current local college students. The teens were able to ask questions about choosing a major, living in a dorm, studying, and applying for scholarships. As a college student, Natalie participated in this panel and she noted, “I loved being able to give back and be a part of the college panel to offer any help or support to the Mentors. I remember being so confused during that time of my life and not really having anyone in my family to explain college to me since I was the first to attend.“
We finished the day with a bang — featuring presentations from Julie Fulton and Karen Bowlin, Senior Counselors at Mosaic College Prep and Claudia Gonzalez, Regional Associate Director of Admissions for Rochester University. The presentations provided information on what the teens should be doing to prepare for college in each level of high school. They learned about the importance of choosing the right college, taking SAT tests, and participating in extracurricular activities. Junior Ruby Hernandez said, “I’ve grasped more information and a deeper understanding of what to keep doing and start doing in order to stay on the correct path to college.”
Thanks to the time and expertise these dedicated professionals generously donated and the support of our panel of college students, the day was informative and hugely successful. Sophomore Kaylin Jones explained, “College and Career Day was so useful! There was a lot that I didn’t understand about college and my future, and now I have a heads-up as to what’s ahead, which is amazing.”
We’re always looking for professional artists to speak to P.S. ARTS students as part of our Guest Artist series. To learn more, please visit psarts.org/volunteer