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Mentors Open Up New Worlds For Scholars

Although academics are a huge part of our focus when it comes to educating and advancing kids, we at PEAK also try to give our scholars a broad look at career possibilities to pique their interest. Last semester, some of our mentors led panel presentations on their own paths to success in the financial and healthcare fields to give students a look at what those careers might offer them.

Each of the presenters was at one time in a similar position as our PEAK scholars - not quite sure what the future would hold or how to make it great.

PEAK Board Member and mentor Kirsten Manire, the vice president of IT and operations for Brookfield Asset Management’s Public Securities Group, brought colleagues along to help her introduce scholars to the principles of investing. They gave a lively presentation on stocks, bonds and markets and sought to demystify investing by focusing on companies and products the students were familiar with - such as iPhones and the latest XBOX sets.

The scholars’ interest and in-depth questions made for an enthusiastic discussion after the presentation as panel members emphasized both investment and earning - and many scholars said the event inspired them to consider studying business in college, seeking internships or working in the financial field.

As a result of their interest, Brookfield will begin hosting a stock market game for scholars later this spring to help them learn more about investing - watch for more details on that soon.

Three mentors also gave a great presentation on careers in the medical field that kept our scholars equally inspired. Mentors Steven Jasonowicz, a podiatric surgeon with the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute; Johnathan Prunty, a medical sales representative with Medtronic and Shady Salamon, a medical sales representative with Stryker talked with scholars about how they serve patients and help them recover from illness and injuries.

All three noted that their lives as high school students weren’t always easy for them, but emphasized that their education and rigorous work ethics helped change their trajectories.

Steve discussed how he became a podiatrist and shared some of the treatments and surgical techniques he uses with patients, while Johnathan and Shady brought some of the surgical and medical equipment they supply to healthcare providers and discussed their applications. Shady and Steve, who volunteer together on medical missions to Liberia, also talked with scholars about both their work here and on missions and gave each scholar small devices to take home.

Some students were excited to connect with the trio as a resource as they dream of going to medical or nursing school. Others were pleasantly surprised to learn about jobs in the field - like Johnathan’s and Shady’s - that didn’t involve hands-on care.

The concrete examples and lively discussions with these mentors about finance and healthcare opportunities really helped scholars realize that career possibilities in these fields are very broad, fulfilling and exciting!

We extend our very deep thanks to all of our presenters for their time, energy and dedication...the high level of engagement from our scholars speaks to the great need for your presence and the impact of your stories. We hope to have you back soon for new initiatives and learning opportunities!


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