Career Pathways Snapshots

Sydney Miller McMinnville School District Sydney Miller McMinnville School District

Sydney Miller, Class of ‘19, Culinary Arts pathway

Sydney Miller moved to McMinnville during her sophomore year and was excited to find Culinary Arts classes, which weren’t offered at her old school. Earning her pathway endorsement gave her experience with Grizzly Catering and the state ProStart competition team. She’s using those skills working as a line chef for two local well-known restaurants.

“I learned a lot about hard work and being part of a team,” she says.

Miller also placed fourth in Commercial Baking in the USASkills competition, the first time Mac High has entered a culinary competitor. “We had to bake five things in a short amount of time,” she says. “It’s way different from ProStart when it’s just you.

“I got a new sense of independence by making all the decisions myself,” she said. “People don’t realize how serious culinary work can be. The time and effort required has really helped me grow a lot as a person.”

Sydney plans to attend the University of Oregon, possibly majoring in Psychology. Whatever she ends up pursuing as a career, she says her Culinary pathway experiences have given her skills that will help her succeed in whatever field she pursues.

Steven Irving McMinnville School District Steven Irving McMinnville School District

Steven Irving, Class of ‘19, Natural Resources Management pathway

“This year I studied water turbidity on fish, how sediment from erosion or logging affects their health.

Steven Irving has always liked being outdoors. Choosing to earn an endorsement in Natural Resources Management was an easy choice for him.

I’ve always liked fishing and hunting and hiking,” he says. “It seems like a lot of people don’t get the opportunity to do stuff like that, and as we seem to be progressing into a time when a lot of people are forgetting to care about the environment, it prompted me to want to do something about it.”

He saw the Natural Resources pathway as a way to lead him to a career that would help him effect change. He plans to study forestry at Oregon State University and join the U.S. Forest Service or work with a private timber firm.

“Part of what you do in a private agency is planning for timber production by recommending best practices in harvest methods to get the most productivity out of the area,” he says. “I learned a lot about forest management and timber techniques in the Forestry classes and found I really enjoyed it.”

Managing forest resources doesn’t only involve trees, though. His senior research project is about fish.

“We’re comparing the age to length ratio of steelhead in the Nestucca and Wilson rivers,” he says. “We’re still collecting data, but it seems to be the fish on the Wilson are a bit bigger for their age, and we’re thinking that might be because they have a better brood stock program, which is when they take native fish and make hatchery fish out of them.”

Ethan Hampton McMinnville School District Ethan Hampton McMinnville School District

Ethan Hampton, Class of ‘19, EASA and Computer Science pathways

Ethan Hampton earned a double endorsement in the Engineering & Aerospace Sciences (EASA) and Computer Science pathways. He describes the pathways as “highly interdependent,” citing his senior capstone project for EASA.

“We are building a parking sensor system to go into the Fifth Street parking garage that will track the cars going in and out,” he says. “We’re combining a lot of different things we’ve learned in EASA, like project design and documentation and working with clients, as well as pulling from Computer Science classes for the programming of the sensors.”

The project aims to evaluate the planned improvements for the city parking structure by taking base readings before any work is done and comparing them with data after the upgrade is complete.

The project team built six small, metal boxes to house the sensors. The boxes, designed to be tamper- and weather-proof, will be mounted in the parking structure with the base station located in the Community Center to collect data wirelessly. The system will analyze the parking use, including the number and frequency of cars that enter and exit.

The team’s mentor, data integration entrepreneur Marc Bowman, suggested the students approach the city with a detailed proposal, and the city eventually funded the project.

“We intend for this system to be functional for a long period of time,” says Hampton. “At minimum, we’re targeting a six-month stint, but we’re engineering it in a way that it’s potentially capable of staying out there for several years. Obviously there are a lot of variables, but we’re hoping it can run as long as possible.”

Amaya McMinnville School District Amaya McMinnville School District

Amaya Thomas, Class of ‘19, Criminal Justice pathway

When she was a little girl, Amaya Thomas dreamed of being a police officer.

When she started Mac High and saw the Criminal Justice pathway, she started with Criminology and Forensics classes and later did an internship with Yamhill County Judge Cynthia Easterday.

After watching court hearings conducted by Judge Easterday, and having known some people with experience in the juvenile justice system, Thomas turned her focus to law school.

“It helped me decide that I want to be a defense attorney in juvenile corrections,” she said.

She also plans to put her experience and education to work the summer after graduation as a summer intern with a local law firm.

Austin Zirkel McMinnville School District Austin Zirkel McMinnville School District

Austin Zirkel, Class of ‘20, Fire & Emergency Services pathway

Austin Zirkel started out in a different pathway at Mac High, but changed course after a life-saving incident.

“My little cousin banged his head on the side of the pool and started bleeding,” he says. “I lifted him out and looked at the bleeding coming out his head. I took the information I got from the First Aid class and stopped the bleeding, and saved him, I guess.

“After that, I became really involved and wanted to learn more about how to help others. I had just taken the intro class where you get certified in First Aid, and decided to follow on with other classes.

“The class that really sparked my interest was Fire Protection where we participate in fire drills and wear turnouts, which are really hot and insulated, but very protective,” he says. “A firefighter comes to teach you at the drill center and you practice with the fireman tools, like I got to use the jaws of life.”

Austin is also doing an after-school internship with the McMinnville Fire Department. “I get to follow firefighters and see what they do and get a good understanding of their job before I really immerse myself into it,” he says.

“I can do ridealongs and also go to different departments like in Portland, Amity or Salem.” After graduation, he hopes to spend a summer wildland firefighting, which he describes as “an adventure,” and then plans to get fully certified as a firefighter although he’s not sure whether he’ll focus on wildland or structural firefighting.

Cameron Smith Construction McMinnville School District Cameron Smith Construction McMinnville School District

Cameron Smith, Class of ‘19, Construction pathway

Cameron Smith says he’s loved working with his hands ever since he was little and doing projects with his father. “It’s been a goal of mine to learn the way to make everything,” he says.

One of the things he’s gotten from the Construction pathway is how to build on a larger scale. “My dad and I did a lot of projects in the home environment, but we never had a big planer and these industrial-sized tools. So I’ve learned a lot about the business environment of construction, too.”

Beginning in his junior year, his mom started asking him to complete home projects, he says. “I’ve made four tables for my house, a couple for family members, rustic signs, and stools for little kids to stand on at the sink.

“Right now I’m working on an interior door for my house, which I’ve never done before. So I’m trying to plan it out and think through the problems like how to calculate each board size because they’re all different widths and I want it to appear symmetrical.”

Cameron plans to major in Mechanical Engineering at OSU. “I’ve always loved working on cars, too. I can’t look at something and not try and figure out how it’s made,” he says. “My cousin got a job at Tesla as a manufacturing engineer, which is pretty cool.My goal is to make things as perfect as I can.”

Ethan Hanson Computer Science McMinnville School District Ethan Hanson Computer Science McMinnville School District

Ethan Hansen, Class of ‘20, Computer Science and EASA pathways

Ethan Hansen joined the Engineering & Aerospace Sciences (EASA) pathway because he had dreamed about working in aerospace since he was six years old.

“Once I got into high school, I decided to take computer science as well because I’d done some coding on my own and thought it was fun,” he says. “The more I learned about the work environment in computer science, the more I realized that I might be better suited to that.

“A lot of people think computer science is just typing really fast on a computer and not talking to anyone, but all the best code is written collaboratively, which is something I learned as the lead programmer for the Nerd Herd [FIRST Robotics].”

Now he has his sights set on becoming a quantum computer scientist or programmer. “Looking at the trajectory quantum computing is on, it’s like the beginning of the modern computing age,” he says. “You had computers taking up entire rooms … now I have one in my pocket that’s more powerful than the Apollo program, and I think quantum computing is going to be like that. It’s an entirely different way of computing.”

While he doesn’t expect to follow an aeronautical career course, he recognizes the importance of what he’s learned in EASA. “I think it’s very valuable to have a broad base of skills,” he says. “If you can program and also understand the underlying mechanics of what you’re programming, it’s going to be a lot more valuable. And frankly, I think a lot more interesting.”

Derek Myers Visual Communications McMinnville School District Derek Myers Visual Communications McMinnville School District

Derek Myers, Class of ‘19,Visual Communications pathway

Derek Myers started making films when he was eight years old, using an old camcorder and creating stop-action animation.

“I used to make flip books and little animations with my train set,” he says. “I’d scan them and put them on the computer program. I wanted to be an animator.”

He eventually found the collaboration of filmmaking more appealing. By middle school, he had upgraded his equipment and was making a video every week with friends.

“Once I got into high school, I had found something I was really passionate about, so I try to teach myself as much as possible and do as much as I can in and out of school.”

The pathway helped him learn a lot about graphic design and digital arts, in addition to challenging him to produce narrative and documentary films, things he hadn’t yet done.

“I really want to go to film school and get a job in this field, so I’m pushing myself to learn as much as possible because I know how competitive the industry is.” This year, he won a video contest and saw his production screened at a theater in New York City.

Iris Armenta Welding Art McMinnville School District Iris Armenta Welding Art McMinnville School District

Iris Armenta, Class of ‘19, 2D Visual Arts pathway

Iris Armenta has been doing art as long as she can remember. “We did a lot of creative stuff with my mom when we were little and took art classes in the summer. I always loved it.

“When I got into high school, there were so many opportunities here with different art classes, drawing and painting, and advanced classes too, plus all the 3D classes like pottery.

“I took so many classes in the beginning that I finished the Visual Arts pathway [endorsement requirements] when I was a sophomore. Right now, I’m doing AP Studio Art and have a painting in the gallery show. It’s been a great opportunity to build a portfolio.”

In junior year, Iris decided to take an introduction to fabrication class. She brought an art perspective to welding and began making metal sculptures.

She entered the Oregon SkillsUSA competition for Welding Sculpture and won state championship honors for her vineyard-themed piece. She plans to travel to Louisville, Kentucky, in June to compete in the national contest. She’s decided to keep art as a hobby and attend community college next year to become a certified welder.

“I like doing sculptures, but I think I’m going to focus more on the technical welding,” she says. “Welding just feels more stable.”

Katie Martinez Education McMinnville School District Katie Martinez Education McMinnville School District

Katie Martinez, Class of ‘19, Education and Early Childhood Education pathways

“This pathway is how I figured out that I want to go into teaching,” says Katie Martinez. “I took Child Development my freshman year, because I like kids and plan to be a parent someday. But the more time I spent at Bear Hugs — I actually went there a long time ago — I just loved the atmosphere and being back there.

“I didn’t know there was so much study that goes into children; the brain development and psychology of it is so interesting to me.”

Martinez decided on pursuing an education degree, but plans to extend her college studies beyond that field. “I want to minor in German … and potentially teach abroad,” says the fourth-year German student who visited Europe last year on a student exchange.

She’s also taking Spanish with the goal of becoming trilingual. “When you study a language, you also study the culture. Learning how countries treat their children, how they are raised, and about their traditions is really fascinating.”

She’s also considering a double major in Creative Writing or English. “I think if I have more knowledge, and get a more rounded learning experience, I will be more prepared and more passionate as a teacher.”

“I’m not sure when I’ll come back to McMinnville — I do want to spend at least a few years abroad — but I’m open-minded to teaching here.

“I really like feeling like you’re making a direct impact on your community. This is the next generation and inspiring them to be creative and problem-solvers is such a wonderful thing.”

Matthew McMinnville School District Matthew McMinnville School District

Matthew Perlot, Class of ‘19, Fabrication pathway

Matthew Perlot works as a deckhand on the Columbia River. His family has been running a tugboat business for five generations, and he plans to stay the course.

“I chose this pathway because it’s hands-on,” he says. “I might use it a little bit for my job, but I’ve always liked this kind of stuff, and it’s fun.

“I do what we call building tow, or tying barges together,” he says. “Then we push them with the boat. Deckhands moor the barges, moor the boats, maintain the boats’ engines, everything about the boat I take care of while the captain drives.”

Matthew might occasionally weld a damaged barge, but he knows he won’t be welding as much as he is now. He’s built several tables for the welding lab and a gun safe for his home, but his final project is a barbecue trailer, built in partnership with Zieman Manufacturing in McMinnville.

“We’ve been traveling over there every other day to work on it,” he says. “We built the frame of it over there, and now we’re waiting for tires so we can bring it over here to put the barbecue and roof on it. It will be done by the end of the school year.”

Next year, Matthew will join the Navy Reserves as a boatswain’s mate and knows welding is part of the maintenance work he’ll be doing on naval ships. Eventually, he hopes to pilot ships and would have a crew to do the welding work.

McKenna Carlson Visual Arts D McMinnville School District McKenna Carlson Visual Arts D McMinnville School District

McKenna Carlson, Class of ‘19, 3D Visual Arts pathway

McKenna Carlson launched into her Visual Arts pathway by accident.

“I never planned to do any sort of 3D art, but there was a computer glitch and I got placed into an intro class for ceramics,” she says. As soon as she saw the teacher working on the pottery wheel, she quickly changed her plan.

“I immediately fell in love with it as soon as I made my first bowl. That was my proudest moment in my high school career, when I got that bowl out of the kiln. After that, I really began to grow as an artist.”

Now as a graduating senior, she’s earned her endorsement in 3D Visual Arts, after taking four years of ceramics and fulfilling the other requirements. She’s just gotten her own pottery wheel and hopes to build a home studio after college and run a side business selling her work.

Her college plans don’t include majoring in art, though. “I want to be an administrator of some sort,” she says. “Probably with a global nonprofit organization. I’m minoring in French so I can work with a humanitarian organization in West African countries.

“I really want to work with human trafficking,” she says. “An idea I’ve had is to teach young women who are getting out of those situations to do art and simple skills that can help them find another way to get out of that life and into the workforce.”

Noah Miller McMinnville School District Noah Miller McMinnville School District

Noah Miller, Class of '19, Performing Arts, Music pathway

“I’ve been involved with music for almost my entire life,” says Noah Miller. Despite few musicians in the family, Noah has participated in choirs and music lessons since he was very young. He was invited to audition for the Oregon Repertory Singers when he was around second grade, which “sparked his passion for choir.”

Besides singing, Noah is a competitive dancer and has studied contemporary jazz, hip-hop, musical theatre, ballet and lyrical dance. He also takes piano lessons and plays the guitar and ukulele and performs mallet percussion with the Mac High Wind Ensemble.

“But I’m primarily a singer,” he says. He was accepted into the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, but decided to start at Western Oregon, majoring in vocal performance. “I’m not sure if I want to go into music education or performance, so I’m going to complete my general education requirements at Western and possibly earn my master’s at Berklee.”

The Mac High pathway has been an “amazing experience in growing my knowledge in music and teaching other people,” he says. He helps tutor AP Theory of Music students after earning college credit in the course for himself and also plans to teach dance locally next year.

“I’ve become a much better musician than I would have been if I hadn’t joined choir. This pathway encouraged me to push myself so much.”

Payton McMinnville School District Payton McMinnville School District

Payton Hudson, Class of ‘19, Business Finance and Marketing pathway

When Payton Hudson was a freshman deciding which Career Pathway to pursue, her parents suggested Business. “I decided to try both sides,” she says, referring to the two concentrations within the Business pathway.

“I started with Sports Marketing because I am going to school for softball and thought it would be fun and a great correlation.

“I liked seeing how brands market to people,” she says. “Now when I go out into the world I can see what brands are doing to market to me because of what I learned in that class.”

She worked on the “Paint Mac Pink” and “Mac Madness” awareness and fundraising campaigns, but ultimately decided that Marketing wasn’t the direction she wanted to pursue.

Her mom, who works in bank finance, suggested she try accounting.

“So I did, and I discovered that I really liked it,” she says. “We learned things like what T accounts are and how debits and credits work.

“Learning little things like that helped me process everything. Now we’re getting certified in online Quick Books, and it’s so easy, because I already know how to do it. I just have to enter it in and it’s all there.

“I’m planning to get my Bachelor’s degree in Accounting,” she says. She’s attending the University of Louisville in Kentucky on a softball scholarship and hopes to eventually become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Rosa Martinez Health Services McMinnville School District Rosa Martinez Health Services McMinnville School District

Rosa Martinez, Class of ‘19, Health Services pathway

Rosa Martinez chose Health Services as her pathway during her Freshman Seminar. “We got introduced to all the pathways, but I had always been interested in the medical field, so I started there,” she says.

“I really liked the intro classes where we learned how to do basic things like blood pressure,” she says. “I took sports medicine, which I really liked, too.” She became convinced she was on the right path when she took Anatomy & Physiology and discovered how much she enjoyed dissection.

“We dissected cats and sheep brains,” she said. “We were able to look at all of the organs of a cat, and I really enjoyed going in-depth into the body and learning about bones.”

“I feel like the pathway classes like Anatomy really prepared me for what I’m going to learn in college,” she said. “And they help you see if you want to go that route or not. Sometimes you find that you don’t like things like dissection or the content that you’ll be learning.

“In Health Occupations 2, I got to go to the hospital and experience different kinds of fields. I realized there were some things that I didn’t like — I didn’t like Med Surg — but some things I really loved, so it gave me a chance to see that.”

Rosa plans to attend OSU’s Honors College to study biology and hopes to attend medical school at OHSU and become a pediatrician.

Sophia Trimble McMinnville School District Sophia Trimble McMinnville School District

Sophia Trimble, Class of ‘19, Performing Arts, Theatre pathway

Sophia Trimble earned an endorsement in the Theatre pathway. “I mostly worked in tech. I do stage management, but this year, I also acted on stage in both the winter and spring productions.”

Sophia says she’s drawn to theatre because of the energy and the people. “It’s a really happy, appreciative environment,” she says. “You get a lot of feedback and love and the theatre community outside the high school as well is very loving and accepting.”

She plans to use what she’s learned in theatre in her future career.
“I want to go into Psychology and use theatre techniques as a form of therapy,” she says. “PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) patients can work in improv groups and work on scenes that give them a chance to work through their issues, but in the form of a character so they build a different perspective while subconsciously working out what they need to work out.

“It can help kids on the autism spectrum freely express themselves in a safe, healthy environment and help them move their bodies in ways they need and also give them structure in a creative, expressive way.

“Kids with speech impediments can be helped by working through monologues and scripts.” She hopes to use these ideas in her own counseling practice someday or work as a school psychologist.

Mahima McMinnville School District Mahima McMinnville School District

Mahima White Class of 2017 Natural Resources Management pathway

Next year I want to breed these fish so others can use them in projects and experiments. The feeder fish we started with kept dying and these zebra fish are really strong.

I want to be a fisheries biologist and work with watersheds. Salmon depletion is about the water and I want to work on ways to help fish survive.”

Lexi McMinnville School District Lexi McMinnville School District

Lexi Meyer Class of 2016 Criminal Justice pathway

“I’ve wanted to be a police officer ever since I was little.

Being in the Criminal Justice pathway and working an internship that allows me to do things like a ride-along is letting me see more of what the police actually do.

I’m planning to go to Southern Oregon University to study Criminal Justice and become a U.S. Marshal.”

Javier McMinnville School District Javier McMinnville School District

Javier Garcia, Class of 2017

“What I learned in the Culinary Arts program at Mac High helped me get a job in one of the best restaurants in town last summer.

I was also on the ProStart team at this year’s state competition that won the ‘Best Overall Teamwork’ award.

These have been really great hands-on experiences that have given me a much better idea of what career path I want to follow.”

Aubree McMinnville School District Aubree McMinnville School District

Aubree Milks, Class of 2017 Business Marketing pathway

“Working in the Action Center, the school store, is teaching me real-life business skills for the real world.Culinary Arts pathwayI started in the store last year, and now I run the entire operation during the lunch period.

Having the store experience also helped me get a job last summer because I was able to list my school job on my application and show that I had work experience.”

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