BCA Career Day 2019

Jimmy Lee

On November 27, 2019, Bergen County Academies held their annual Career Day, inviting alumni from all over the globe to speak with current students about their various professions.

The students were asked to attend four sessions, each one being presented by a different alum. These 30 minute sessions gave students an opportunity to learn about the alumni’s highschool and college experiences, their senior internships, previous jobs, current careers, future goals, and even hobbies. Some gave presentations, providing students with a concrete idea of who they were and what they did, while others engaged in more intimate conversations, allowing students to ask specific questions and get to know the speaker better. 

This year, more than 30 alumni came in, each with a different job and a unique story. Among these accomplished BCA graduates were a software developer from Axoni (a New York-based technology firm that specializes in blockchain infrastructure), a cyber warfare officer from the U.S. Army, a director of orthopaedic research from Jersey City Medical Center, a news editor from ABC News, and many more. 

Alexandra Svokos, the editor from ABC, came in with an interesting story. After creating the fencing team and taking part in the journalism culture at BCA, she graduated from what is now ABF, the Academy of Business and Finance in 2010. She attended Columbia University, where she joined the school newspaper and eventually became an editor of this publication. Svokos had originally planned to work at a bank, but she realized that her passion lay in the realm of writing and reporting, and so, she began her career as a journalist for many outlets before eventually becoming an editor for ABC. 

Richard Yoon, the director of orthopaedic research at Jersey City Medical Center, graduated from BCA’s medical academy in its inaugural year, and attended Trinity College. Although a large portion of his presentation focused on his career as a surgeon, Dr. Yoon made sure to emphasize his love for his family, writing, and helping others. He told the students to embrace failure, and to use it as motivation for the next opportunity, and even shared a story about failure. As an academically-talented student, the doctor rarely struggled in highschool and college, and therefore did not study much for the MCAT test. However, when he applied to numerous medical schools, he was rejected from them all. After realizing that his cockiness had gotten in his way of success, Dr. Yoon fixed his work ethic, studied hard for the MCAT, and reapplied, eventually being accepted into all the schools he applied to. His stories involved failures and successes, and left the students informed about both his profession and personal life.

Although BCA is divided into different academies that place a heavy emphasis on a specific career area, the students were not hesitant to attend sessions that did not correspond with their respective academies.  Of the students who were asked if they chose workshops that were related to the future career they were considering, or workshops that were interesting, 84% responded that they did not choose presentations concerning careers they had previously considered.  Still, there were some who did. An anonymous student said, “I chose this [nurse] workshop because it was a career that first sparked my interest in medical science and AMST, and I also wanted to know more about the lifestyle of a registered nurse and how to eventually become a nurse practitioner.” Despite these academies, attending the workshops were opportunities for students to explore further into careers that their school curriculums were oriented towards, and to pique interest in new professions that they were previously not exposed to. 

This year’s Career Day did not disappoint, and students left with not only knowledge about different jobs, but also with a sense of academic motivation and excitement, realizing that their careers are bright no matter what profession they choose.