Looking back on Job Shadow Day

PTSA members detail planning process, goals

Students looking to immerse themselves in a profession of their interest were given the opportunity to do so in the PTSA Job Shadow Day Program that occured Nov. 11-14. Parent volunteers hosted virtual or in-person sessions to give insight on what a typical day in their profession looks like.

The program aims to give students a peek into their future if they chose to go down a certain career path, Job Shadow Day Co-chair Vinutha Shettigar said. Questions like “what exactly does a host do in a day’s work?” and “what did they have to do to get where they are?” are answered.

“Students get exposed to a real life office situation. It brings to mind all the effort they’re putting in with coursework and internships, and all the extracurriculars that they are involved in,” VP of Student Programs Harita Menon said.

PTSA preparations for this year’s Job Shadow Day started with advertising the event to students, Menon said. Similarly, the PTSA promoted the event to parents so that those interested in sharing more about their careers could sign up. 

“Our job is to advertise on both ends of the spectrum, advertise to the adults in the community and to the students in the community to ask them to join the program,” Menon said. “Then we sit down and we match them up.”

Sophomore Elisa Floyd participated in Job Shadow Day. (Photo courtesy of Elisa Floyd)

Matchings are determined by interest forms filled out by students, Menon said.

“We ask the host to create a presentation,” Shettigar said. “All the hosts who are doing it virtually are doing a live presentation and Q&A.”

Job Shadow Day first happened at Homestead in 2019, and was entirely held at work sites, Shettigar said. However, last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Job Shadow Day was forced completely online.

“Thanks to COVID, offices were not open, and because of restrictions on site they were not allowing students or anybody other than the employees [on site],” Shettigar said.

However, this year not all professionals are hosting Job Shadow Day virtually, Menon said. 

“We have a mix of choices. Some choices are virtual via zoom, and some are actual on-site visits,” Menon said.

Mara Capio, a professional who participated as a host, agreed with this thought and had a main goal of informing students, Capio wrote in an email.

“I suspected there were a lot of jobs in the tech industry and I wanted to share another possible job opportunity,” Capio said.

Sophomore Elisa Floyd participated in Job Shadow Day and shadowed two professionals in the healthcare industry over Zoom.

“I got to shadow two different people,” Floyd said. “First I shadowed Mara Capio, a social worker at the Palo Alto Veterans Hospital and the second person that I got to shadow was Dr. Vandana Karanala, an infectious disease specialist in Texas.”

Both professionals work in healthcare, a field Floyd herself said she would like to enter. 

“They started by going over how they got into their career, what sort of drew them to their career, and eventually got into showing us what a workday looks like for them,” Floyd said. 

Floyd enjoyed her time with Dr. Karanala, and said that hearing from someone who is passionate about infectious diseases, a topic she is interested in, is refreshing.

“It was honestly really inspiring for me to see someone who was able to turn that passion into a career and now helps others,” Floyd said.

Floyd was able to take everything out of the experience that she had hoped and expected, and said she encourages students to participate in the future.

“I was able to take away advice on how to choose what you want to study in college, [how to] prepare for medical school, and also about what life as a doctor even is,” Floyd said. “By talking to people about their jobs, you might be able to learn so much more than what you learn about in school.”