HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (March 22, 2019) – Huntsville Center was one of nine organizations to participate in New Century Technology High School’s career fair March 12 as professionals from science, technology and engineering industries met with students pursuing those career paths.
Lori Cordell-Meikle, chief of Internal Review, represented Huntsville Center at the event alongside companies like Toyota, Northrop Grumman, Cyber Protex and Davidson Technologies.
Cordell-Meikle talked to four juniors, all of whom expressed an interest in engineering fields. Although she did provide interview and resume tips, Cordell-Meikle’s advice focused on how the students can set themselves up for success as early as possible.
“I was trying to impart to the students the importance of diversifying their experience early, so that by the time they get into college, hopefully they would have pursued internship and working opportunities that would help them to be more focused into determining what career path they’d want to take,” Cordell-Meikle said. “The earlier they do that, it lends to more success in the career and deeper opportunities for advancement in that career field.”
Cordell-Meikle’s day-to-day focus is in internal review and auditing, but she has an engineering background, including experience working at NASA.
Julie Summers, calculus instructor at New Century and one of the chief organizers of the event, said the school’s partnerships with professionals like Cordell-Meikle are a huge “huge part” of the students’ success.
“Industries have taken on teaching our kids projects, giving them a better idea of their career paths, mentoring, and experience in their field,” Summers said. “Additionally, industry partners help us write our curriculum based on what is happening at their company today.”
Based on student feedback, Summers said the ability to interface directly with industry professionals during the career day was “extremely beneficial.”
“They feel much more confident about interviewing for a job,” said Summers. “They also liked getting a better feel for each company they spoke with. Many are excited to hear whether they received the internships some of the companies were offering.”
Cordell-Meikle, who just accepted a new position at Redstone Arsenal as the director of Internal Review and Audit Compliance with Headquarters, U.S. Army Contracting Command, Office of the Commanding General, said she hopes her Huntsville Center colleagues take advantage of similar outreach opportunities like she has during her time here.
“I would highly recommend it,” she said. “As a matter of fact, I’m going to take it one step further: I want to challenge the rest of the folks around the Corps to get involved. Come away from your desk and get out there and look at what tomorrow looks like, and then lend assistance.
“Having been here a number of years, I appreciate the opportunity provided to me by Huntsville Center to be able to get out and provide service beyond these walls,” she added. “As I’m leaving, I want to acknowledge that, since 2012, I have been able to participate in a lot of outreach with students at the high school and college level, and some at the elementary level. I’m very, very appreciative of that.”
Cordell-Meikle said that, although the aim of events like the career fair is about mentoring aspiring engineers, outreach is also rewarding for the ones lending their time and expertise.
“It gives me a sense of satisfaction knowing what is coming to sustain what has already been built,” she said. “You hear about millennials and you hear about the challenges, but what I saw demonstrates that, at least with that group of children, we will be left in good hands.”
To learn about how you can participate in future outreach events with area schools like New Century, call the Huntsville Center Public Affairs Office at 256-895-1694.