News and Tribune

Education/Schools

May 11, 2014

Jeffersonville High School engineering students shadow Duke professionals

Junior Achievement's job shadowing is effective way to learn lessons

CLARKSVILLE — Taking a look at ceramic insulators, varying gauges of wires on huge spools and touring the rest of the store room, Matt Armstrong and 23 other students got a look at what engineers work with daily.

But maybe more importantly, they got to sit down and ask what it’s really like.

Junior Achievement of Kentuckiana let engineering students from Jeffersonville High School perform job shadowing at Duke Energy in Clarksville on Friday. Groups of students followed engineers and talked to them about the work, as well as tour the facility.

Debra Hoffer, president of Junior Achievement of Kentuckiana, said learning outside of the classroom is vital, especially when it comes to thinking about a career.

“Our goal is to connect the dots with what they learn in the classroom and real jobs,” Hoffer said. “They’ll absorb the culture of a business. They’ll be able to see how people handle themselves. You learn so much better by seeing and touching than you do by listening to a lecture.”

She said job shadowing is an effective way to show students that what they learn in class has value outside of their daily assignments.

The school’s engineering teacher wasn’t able to bring them to Duke Energy, but another one with experience in taking students on such trips did. Chris Tungate, welding instructor at Jeffersonville High School, said he’s taken students to Jeffboat to let them see how the simple welds he teaches them are used on a larger scale.

But aside from that, he said it helps them understand why he’s teaching what he’s teaching.

“You can tell somebody something until you’re blue in the face, but until they see it, sometimes it doesn’t click,” Tungate said.

He said with all the time they spend learning algebra and other subjects, seeing how they’re used in the field doesn’t just answer the question of where they’ll use that information, but how.

“I am 100 percent sure that it definitely changes their perspective and gives them something concrete when they get back into the classroom,” Tungate said. “They can see when they get into a job atmosphere that what they learn in the classroom does mean something.”

The Duke Energy Foundation also presented a $25,000 check to Junior Achievement for career readiness programs.

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