OP mentoring sessions spur students to pursue STEM careers

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2022
In 2012, Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday talked with sophomore Alex Kearns about his future college and career plans during Operation Preparation at Gallatin County High School. Photo by Amy Wallot, March 15, 2012
In 2012, Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday talked with sophomore Alex Kearns about his future college and career plans during Operation Preparation at Gallatin County High School. Photo by Amy Wallot, March 15, 2012

Students who were sophomores participating in Kentucky’s first Operation Preparation back in 2012 will be graduating high school in a few months.

Two of those students, Brooke Dossett and Alex Kearns, remember their Operation Preparation experience at Gallatin County High School as highly beneficial in preparing them for their futures. Dossett and Kearns both had Education Commissioner Terry Holliday as their mentor for the event.

Dossett told Holliday back in 2012 that she was interested in a sports medicine career. As a senior, she has decided to pursue a career as a physician’s assistant, and said the advice Holliday gave her holds up for that career path as well.

“He had a lot of great suggestions of what I should do to prepare myself for my planned career,” said Dossett, who is considering attending one of several Kentucky colleges. “I have chosen to take a lot of science classes, including anatomy, honors chemistry and AP Chemistry. I have also talked to many colleges about their programs and their requirements.”

Kearns, who now attends the Gatton Academy, will study bio-medical engineering at the University of Louisville’s J.B. Speed School of Engineering in the fall with hopes of attending medical school upon graduation.

“Commissioner Holliday stressed the importance of choosing a career path that I would relish later in life,” Kearns said. “His advice prompted my own questioning of what I really loved to do and what field of study would allow me to practice that lifestyle.”

Dossett and Kearns agreed that students who participate in Operation Preparation will get more out of it when teachers get heavily involved in the experience.

“I would prepare students more for what their mentor plans to talk to them about, have students prepare questions in advance as well as backup career choices,” Dossett said. “(Teachers must) stress how important the information students are receiving actually is.”

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