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Elevate Your Network December Recap

Understanding the future workforce is a challenging aspect of the high school journey for everyone involved. Elevate Your Network was created by ElevateEdAZ to fill this gap by providing students with virtual conversations with local employers.

What is Elevate Your Network?

Elevate Your Network provides students with equitable access to learn about a variety of industries and career paths through virtual conversations with employers. Through ElevateEdAZ’s partnership with the Academies at South Mountain and Phoenix Coding Academy, students have the opportunity to participate in 45-minute sessions with industry experts in the form of informational interviews, employer panels, meeting observations, virtual tours, job shadows, and pre-existing trainings.

Examples of Elevate Your Network:

Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week Panel

In observance of Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week, ElevateEdAZ hosted a panel featuring employees from Union Bank and Phoenix College to talk about educational pathways and careers in cybersecurity.  

Panelists Included:

  • Christy Westphal, Manager of the Cybersecurity Incident Response Team at Union Bank
  • Rami Idris, Program Director for Cybersecurity and System Administration and Virtualization at Phoenix College
  • Will Tagart, Faculty Member in the Department of Computer and Information Technology at Phoenix College

During this 45-minute event, students heard directly from experts about pathways and careers in cybersecurity. Students learned they can take a technical path like engineering to enter the field or may choose to study governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC) as a starting point. Idris says whenworking in software development, having a combination of software development and cybersecurity knowledge can be very helpful, as software developers should know how to protect their software.  Many opportunities exist for cybersecurity education locally, including  Phoenix College, where students interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity can take a series of courses in 11 different certificate producing programs. These certificates were created by Phoenix College in partnership with employers to help students start their careers as soon as possible.

Virtual Tour with DP Electric

ElevateEdAZ then hosted DP Electric on December 8th, giving students an in-depth look at opportunities available within the skilled crafts industry and how they can use their skills and interests towards this rewarding career path.

Panelists Included:

  • Steven Brown, Recruiting and Talent Development Manager
  • Scot Rager, Education Manager
  • Ruben Serrano, Virtual Construction Engineer

Students spent 45-minutes interacting with professionals from DP Electric, where they received information on apprenticeships, educational programs, the building information modeling (BIM), computer-aided design (CAD), and even a virtual office tour. Rager gave insight into what a student can expect from an apprenticeship.  He explained that within construction, an apprenticeship is similar to college, but the difference is that apprentices have a job where they work the majority of the day. Then, one or two nights per week, they attend classes in the late afternoon. Serrano rounded out the conversation by teaching students about virtual construction, and Ruben described the most common technology used within virtual construction, frequently working with BIM and CAD to create models to ensure that the building plans will be successful.

Health Sciences Panel with Mayo Clinic and ASU

On December 9th, ElevateEdAZ hosted a panel with Mayo Clinic and ASU to showcase careers and education pathways within the health sciences industry and provide resources to help students succeed during and after high school.

Panelists included:

  • Marcia Edwards, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist at Mayo Clinic
  • Vicki Hochstetler, Operations Manager for the School of Health Sciences and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Mayo Clinic
  • Chara Chamie, Operation Manager focused across the five schools in education for Diversity and Equity Inclusion at Mayo Clinic
  • Nate Wade, Senior Director for Strategic Initiatives at the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University (ASU)

The panelists described different careers that students can explore in the health science industry, including: medical assistants, appointment desk specialists, pharmacy techs, and many more. Students learned that at Mayo Clinic, they don’t just hire doctors and nurses, they also hire people in finance, public relations, events and planning, marketing, and more. Hochstetler described working with students in programs at various levels, and helpedthem find which program to attend in order to specialize in the field of health sciences that they are most interested in. Wadethen went on to describe degrees and certifications that students can obtain at ASU, with some of the most popular degrees in Kinesiology, Pharmacology and Toxicology, and Medical Studies.  He ended by reminding students that ASU has over 50 degrees and certifications for students to choose from!

Student reactions to the events:

“I learned a lot about the process of entering the fields of computer science and cyber security, as well as what skills I can develop beforehand to increase my success.”

“It was a very nice experience overall. I enjoyed my time and would 100% come again if given the option to.”

“I would like to thank the presenters and ElevateEdAZ for such an informative and fun experience. It’s definitely helped me look at some things differently.”

How to Get Involved with Elevate Your Network

If you are an employer interested in hosting an Elevate Your Network session, contact us at

Thank you to Zovio, our Elevate Your Network Sponsor!

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