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Wells Career Day Makes An Impact

Finding a job is like trying on clothes, said Sweeny Murti, the keynote speaker at Wells’ Career Day.


“I didn’t just start at the top–interviewing Aaron Judge for the NY Yankees. I didn’t just get lucky. I have been working for 30 years,” said Murti. “I started in eighth grade at my school’s radio station, then went to college, then interned at a WFAN–I even painted the walls at the station because I really wanted the job. I never complained. I worked my way up to interviewing Aaron Judge.”


Sports Journalist (Sweeny Murti), Veterinarian (Alison Glassman), FBI Agents (Jackie Ross and John Ness), Technology Engineer (Ed Ruggerio), Pastry Chef (Mary Ciano), Graphic Designer (Daniel Nilsen), FIrefighter (Mike Miller), Attorney (Kerry Cunningham), Computer Programmer (David Postian), and BHS Athletic Director (Dean Berardo) were just a few of the presenters. Although their journeys were different, they all spoke to eighth graders about hard work and having a positive attitude.


The presenters met students in classrooms throughout the middle school. They each gave an overview of their job, how they got there, the pros and cons, and then took questions from the students.


In classroom 222, Dr. Allison Glassman, who grew up in Newburgh, told students when she was in school, she knew she wanted to work in the sciences, but didn’t think she was smart enough to become a veterinarian. “I was a B student my whole life. You don’t have to be an A student, but you have to work hard,” said Glassman.


“What did you do that made a difference? '' said Jack Farrell.


“It’s the how not the what that makes a difference: the internships, the extra rotations at the animal shelter, the relationships that you make along the way,” said Glassman.


“Did you ever make a mistake?” asked Madison Hannigan.


“Yes, mistakes happen. Of course. But it’s how you react that is important. And to learn from your mistakes. Don’t give up and let the mistakes define you.”


Close by in classroom 225,  FBI Agents John Naas and Jackie Ross, who work on the Joint Terrorism Task Force, spoke to students about their path into law enforcement. They both had dreams as middle schoolers of becoming FBI agents, but their paths getting there were different. Naas joined the Marines Corps out of college. Ross studied Arabic, went abroad to Egypt, and became a defense contractor. They love their job.


 “It’s the greatest job in the world,” said Ross.


“Does anyone know what an FBI agent does?” asked Ross.


“Conducts investigations into crimes,” said Christopher Cluzet.


“Exactly. Federal crimes. We investigate cases connected to Al Qaeda, ISIS, and these days, domestic terrorism,” said Naas. 


“A typical day involves looking into leads, scrubbing social media, doing interviews, outreach, surveillance, executing search warrants, and there’s travel with the job as well,” said Ross.


“If you are good with people, can talk with people, then you will be a good investigator,” said Naas.


The students had a lot of questions:


“Do you guys investigate murder cases?”


“Has anyone ever posted something dumb on social media that they didn’t mean and gotten into trouble?”


“Can you go to other states and investigate cases?”


“How did the pandemic impact your ability to interview people overseas?”


“What do you need to do to become an FBI agent?”


“A college degree, three years of work experience–the agency is always looking for attorneys, accountants and defense contractors. Just look on the website–you can plan out your path now,” said Naas.


Did this day have an impact on students? Absolutely.


Madison Hannigan wants to be a vet, so Dr. Glassman struck a chord with her, “I’ve always wanted to be a vet and my grades aren’t spot on, so I liked that she said you don’t have to be an A student, but how important it is to work hard.”


Melissa Coronado was impressed with Kerry Cunningham, an attorney and Board of Education member, “she told us that she always wants to win an argument and fight for what she believes in. I could see myself being a lawyer. Plus, I like to read a lot. She said to keep reading anything and everything, it doesn’t matter, even the back of a cereal box, just read.”


Max Matthews learned that he doesn’t want to be an architect. “I learned that an architect needs a lot of schooling, years and years, plus internships. I’m going to rule that out for myself. I’ll do basic schooling and that’s it for me. I think I’d like to be a carpenter.”


Madison Hannigan said she also liked Wells ELA teacher Cat Zyskowski’s presentation on the power of positivity. “She spoke of how she overcame thyroid cancer when she was a teenager; she had two surgeries and underwent chemotherapy, but because of her positive attitude she went back to playing basketball and became a teacher. The cancer didn’t stop her. She is so inspiring and her message had an impact on me.”