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Job Shadowing in Chantilly

Students explore various career options on Groundhog Day.

CEOs in Chantilly caught a glimpse of their own "student shadows" on Groundhog Day as National Job Shadow Day reached its 10th anniversary.

In Chantilly, Northrop Grumman, PC Recycling, and TV Worldwide Inc. invited 19 students to explore career possibilities and learn first hand what it would be like to work for them.

"High school and college students sit in a classroom and listen to theory of how business works," says Jeremy Farber, the CEO of PC Recycling, which is a confidential electronics recycling service that exceeds environmental standards. "But the fact is we're creatures of practicality."

For that reason, Farber believes that National Job Shadow Day is a great chance for students to get a taste of the real world. He also made sure that the student sent to him, senior Sarah Zirzow from Marshall High, was able to view real numbers and discuss business strategies.

IN ALL, THE FAIRFAX COUNTY Public School System, Northern Virginia Technology Council, and the National Job Shadow Coalition worked together to send about 150 local students to businesses in the area.

"Sarah came because she is interested in owning her own business one day" Farber said. "I was really impressed with the questions that she asked." Zirzow asked a range of practical questions from management strategies and marketing, to what to do if a company doesn't pay on time.

She was invited to listen and participate in the weekly meeting, talk with Farber about accounting and cash flows, and discuss future ambitions. As for her goals, she would like to earn a degree in Business Administration and begin by running a small business.

SEVERAL MILES from PC Recycling, students interested in video production and web design spent the day with the founder of TV Worldwide, David Gardy. As the CEO of a fast-growing Web-based global TV network, Gardy had employees from different parts of the company speak with the students and take them on a tour.

Students were excited to read a press release on the "Captain Cyber Bowl" that TV Worldwide was planning on webcasting on Super Bowl Sunday. "It was really neat to see how quickly information can travel," said Bryan Walsh, a senior from Herndon High. "Seeing how that worked was my favorite part of the day."

Amar Al-Saadawi, a junior from West Potomac High said, "I now feel like I have an idea what kind of job this would be. I can also see how Internet TV will become much more popular in the future."

Walsh was glad he participated in the Job Shadow Day and felt like he got a sense of what to expect once he graduates high school later this year.

"I wanted to come here and speak with someone about the job because it's the kind of job that I hope to do," he said. "I was able to see how all of the equipment works and I also talked to everyone about my future career."

As for the best part of Nathan Baer's day, the junior from West Potomac High couldn't resist joking around. "You know, we had the nicest lunch," he said. "They brought it to us and everything and well — that just says something."

Most of the students who participated still have a year or two left before going off to college and believe that National Job Shadow Day should continue.

"It was pretty cool," Walsh said. "I would definitely do it again."