Career and Technical Education (CTE) of St. Johns County

Professionals Bring Career Advice Into the Classroom at Nease

At Nease, when we can’t bring the students into the industry, we bring the industry to our students. Thanks to guest speakers, we’re able to offer our Academy students a glimpse into the many paths their Academy training provides. Here are a few of our most recent guests:

Amber Katada, a mechanical engineer in the research and development sector of Medtronic, shared some surprising stories with the Stellar Academy of Engineering students about the winding path she took to get to her engineering career.  That path included dropping out of high school, becoming homeless, then following several passions until she landed on engineering.  After earning her degree in mechanical engineering, she knew she had found the career she always wanted.  Ms. Katada shared three pieces of life advice with the students: 1. Everything is going to be okay 2. Consult with a professional by reaching out to someone who has already succeed in a career you’re interested in  3. Check in with yourself. Are you happy with what you’re doing in life?   Ms. Katada said that with these pieces of advice, she has created a life for herself that she is really happy with.  Beyond life advice, Ms. Katada discussed what her job in research and development consists of, and answered student questions.

Donald Anderson, a project manager and construction engineer with Superior Construction, utilized the smartboard during his engineering presentation to share some of the large-scale, local projects he has worked on in our area.  Superior Construction, whose CEO is a Nease alumnus, along with several of its leadership team members, has a strong connection to the First Coast.  Mr. Anderson shared that as a project manager, its his job to use all the engineering knowledge he has amassed to create solutions for problems.  He also noted that continuing education is key to remaining a qualified engineer.  Mr. Anderson is currently managing a number of projects, including the $180 million First Coast Expressway.  Through his presentation, he was able to show students the designs and the final products for multiple projects.  He also answered a number of questions about design engineering versus construction engineering.

Moving from the engineering lab to the digital design classroom, Earl Bersamin, the Art Director for WJXT and the CW station in Jacksonville, visited the Communications Academy Digital Design students virtually to provide a look at what life is like when graphic design is your profession.  A local, Mr. Bersamin graduated from UNF with his degree in graphic design and a minor in advertising.  After spending some time with an agency, and then freelancing, he was hired at the station as a graphic designer and worked his way up to Art Director.  He walked the students through the software suite he utilizes for design and gave some insight in how “outside the box” designing can become…including stories behind the design process for News4Jax’s helicopter and news boat.  Students were also able to hear from his graphic designer, who put together a reel of some of their best design work.  When asked about career advice for digital design students, he shared that communication is key, you should be a good listener, find fun ways to blow off steam, and achieve a work-life balance.  He said he loves being a graphic designer because it’s a career that has a huge range of applications.