White Bear Lake Central Kids and Boston Scientific

Today I went with some girls on their Hope for Tomorrow outing at Boston Scientific . Hope for Tomorrow is a program that connects Central Middle School boys and girls with adult mentors from area businesses. (D. J. Roser, a volunteer, and Karen Schmitz and Andrea Shoup, two of Central's counselors, have done a fantastic job organizing the program.) Last year I went with the boys as they visited the Ag School at the University of Minnesota. This year I went with the girls, so as not to appear biased against any one gender group. Boston Scientific graciously agreed to meet with our girls and tell them a little bit about what they did and the types of employees they were looking for.

In one of Boston Scientific's manufacturing labs, an industrial engineer was asked by one of the girls what they looked for in their workers. He said, "I look for people who have a good attitude. If they have a good attitude, they'll go far. I can train workers who have good attitude." He paused a bit and then added, "We look for these four things-people skills, a work ethic, a good attitude, and the ability to get things done." [Note: I was so happy to hear the engineer say this because we have started a character and social skills curriculum at Central called "Second Step," which covers many of these same desired skills. Teachers are constantly telling kids the importance of learning social and people skills, but it was good to hear another adult reiterate the value of social and people skills.

In another session, the girls learned about pacemakers and how they worked. (Boston Scientific is a leading producer of cardiac devices.) While a picture was displayed on the board, showing the arteries leading into the heart and the veins leading away from the heart, the Boston Scientific employee mentioned that the aorta was capable of squirting blood thirty feet. After the session was over, one of the girls leaned over to her buddy and said, "Can you imagine thirty feet of blood spraying? That's pretty cool." [Note: This is the type of inane detail that middle schoolers sometimes love to focus on and will often remember for years and years.

The highlight occurred next. We walked into another room and ten Boston Scientific employees we waiting for us. It was time for "speed dating"—this is what our host called it. Each middle school girl and their mentor spoke with one employee for five minutes about what they did in their job and the type of education they needed for the job. At the end of five minutes, the kids and mentor rotated and spoke with another employee. I was with two Central girls who, in the course of 40 minutes, met with a marketing manager, a senior data base manager, a management information systems specialist, a biomedical engineer, a data analyst, a principal mechanical engineer, and two software engineers.

"Wow," said one of the girls. "That was impressive." (It really was—many thanks to Boston Scientific and their employees.)