Students completed an application process to participate and 19 rising seniors were placed with businesses and organizations that fit their potential career interests. Areas in which students could choose to work from June 11-15 included medicine/healthcare; architecture/engineering; art; marketing/communication; finance; public service; education; law; real estate; entrepreneurship; hospitality; and technology.
Alums were immediately supportive of the program in its inaugural year and stepped in to volunteer, says Lauralee Glasgow Allen ‘03, Collegiate’s Director of Alumni Engagement, who helped coordinate the program.
“Their willingness and eagerness to give of their time is invaluable to our students and to the growth of this program,” she said. “It is our hope that they will inspire others to participate as we continue to enhance Trailblaze in future years.”
Brooks Moore, a rising senior at Collegiate, is spending the week with Peyton Jenkins ‘00, co-founder and president of Alton Lane, a men’s clothing company based in the Scott’s Addition section of Richmond. Brooks will spend the rest of his summer working at Kinloch Golf Club and looked forward to a different type of work environment.
“I want to get out of my comfort zone and gain experience working in an office and improve my personal skills,” he said.
Mr. Jenkins agreed to participate in the Trailblaze program when he first heard about it.
“I loved the idea,” he said. “These weeklong windows into how businesses work are really educational.”
He hopes to give Brooks a sense of what it’s like to work in the sometimes frenetic environment of a startup. On his first day, Brooks got a quick lesson in fabric and learned how Alton Lane finds and retains customers to give them a great shopping experience.
“I hope Brooks learns a skillset that includes flying the plane while building the engine,” Mr. Jenkins said. “I have interviewed a lot of people over the years and the ones who have differentiating skills and experiences set themselves apart.”
Danny MacNelly ‘92 hosted rising senior Slade Woo at ArchitectureFirm, where he hoped to show Slade what a typical week looks like, including learning about all of the details that go into constructing various projects, from residential to commercial buildings.
“There are a million different things involved,” Mr. MacNelly said. “I hope Slade can plug into different projects and get experience about what goes on in our office.”
Collegiate rising senior Greer Buell was paired with Preston Williams, CPO ‘88, a prosthetist at Vascular Surgery Associates Mobility Center. She has an interest in nursing and Trailblaze offers a chance to get her feet wet.
“I thought this would be a great opportunity to figure out where to start,” she said. “I get to be with someone who is in the field and pick his brain.”
Trina Clemans, Collegiate’s Director of Economic and Entrepreneurship Education, assisted with facilitating the program. She said participating in Trailblaze gives students an incredible opportunity to experience the realities of the workplace in a career field of their interest.
“The program is designed to expand ideas about the future of work and how the students envision themselves playing a role in the larger economy,” she said.