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A look at the next level

A look at the next level
Alden Conger juniors Karina Skov and Brooke Reyerson talk with a representative from the University of Minnesota Rochester Wednesday during the College Fair at Riverland Community College in Austin.

Riverland Community College was not experiencing business as usual on Wednesday.

There were 1,000 extra people on campus who were participating in the 11th annual career and college fair that has been held at Riverland Community College.

Teachers, school counselors and 900 students came from 14 area schools to participate in the event.

Nel Zellar, Riverland enrollment adviser an event organizer, explained that students had the morning to explore three fields of interest in 30 informational sessions. 

"In the afternoon, lunch will be provided and students can attend an informational session on college scholarships and a college fair with over 100 college representatives to answer questions," said Zellar.


Sam Johnson, of Wells, spent part of his morning in an informational session about business management and human resources. "I want to major in business in college, so I'm taking some business-related classes in high school to help me prepare for that," said Johnson.

J.D. Anderson, an Albert Lea High School student, attended a session on criminal justice and law enforcement. Anderson said he thought it was interesting and will take another related class while he is in high school.

Theresa Torkelson, who attends Southland High School, also attended the criminal justice session and said she is a member of the Police Explorers program, an Austin Police Department program  for students interested in a law enforcement career. 

Popular technical degrees

Kathy Connelly, a counselor at Hayfield High School, said she has seen an increase in students wanting to pursue a two-year technical degree, for example in the field of health care, and then go on for further education after they work for a few years.

Carla Anderson-Diekmann, a counselor at Riverland’s Albert Lea campus, said there is a real interest in careers in wind turbine energy. 

"One of our students came to our college from Arizona because he believed we had the best program in this field," she said.

At the end of the morning sessions, Elijah O’Brien, of Hayfield High School, said he had learned about a career as a medical technologist or a medical lab technician, a field he had never considered. 


"I think it sounds really interesting. I plan to take chemistry next year and maybe anatomy and advanced chemistry during high school. I think those classes would be helpful," he said.

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