Quarantine Careers

How Career Week Will Work This School Year


On January 7, 2021, an email was sent out to the Upper School detailing an event set to take place in February. Career Week, as described in the email by Upper School Head Justin Brandon, “will take place February 8-11 online after school from 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m..” 

Career Week will be run differently than in years past. Instead of taking place during school, it will occur after school and will open the week with keynote speaker Ian Freed, Parker Alum (Class of ‘81). Freed is the “CEO of Bamboo Voiced Based Learning. Prior to founding Bamboo, Mr. Freed worked at Amazon, where he led groups that created Alexa and Echo,” Brandon said via email.   

Additionally, Career Week will also include panels featuring a plethora of different industries. 

Assistant Director of the Alumni Office Maggi Steib has been planning and organizing Career Week. Steib has been making sure panelists are informed about all of the logistics and described how connecting with the Alumni is vital to the event. 

According to Steib, the panelists will include Alumni, current parents, and a few past parents. Alumni are a central component of Career Week, and Steib states that these events connect Alumni with current students by discussing their professions and staying connected with Parker. 

“As the Alumni engagement person, obviously it’s a big deal to bring our Alumni back and keep them connected to the school,” Steib said.  

Steib commented on a large aspect of Career Week which is connecting with people. “People talk about networking,” Steib said. “I think sometimes it’s hard for students to wrap their head around how the networking works. But it’s actually a big deal.” 

Career Week can foster new or past interests and can provide more information about specific industries. “Obviously, I think there’s value in students having opportunities to talk with professionals in a variety of fields, things that they may be especially interested in, I think making those personal connections, that’s very very important,” Steib said. 

Due to the pandemic, Career Week will be hosted virtually, prompting different opportunities and new experiences. “I think the virtual setup is more inclusive, so we can have Alumni from all over the country participate,” Steib said, describing how it may eliminate travel expenses and logistic obstacles.

Senior Zoey Blickstein has never experienced a Career Week. “To get the most out of Career Week, I think that people should enter with an open mind so they have the opportunity to learn something from it.” said Blickstein regarding the week-long event.

Throughout quarantine, people have engaged in passion projects and have dived deeper into their interests, perhaps reflecting, creating, and thinking about passions they otherwise didn’t have the time to develop. Because of this, Career Week might be influenced by passions explored during the pandemic. 

“If students have used some of the quarantine time to explore different paths for their futures, then they may have more interest in particular panels or even specific people who are going to be at the panels,” Steib said. 

Throughout the pandemic, national news and events could create an impact on Career Week. “Maybe we’ll have more students interested in the social justice panel this year, especially with everything that has been going on across the country,” Steib said.

Career Week can be important for a variety of reasons and sophomore Phoebe Friedman highlighted what she thinks is important about Career Week, detailing how one’s career path may not be defined. “I definitely think it’s important for high schoolers to be able to see the options,” Friedman said. “I think it’s a great opportunity to see what your interests may be.” 

Steib explained what the Alumni office believes is one of the key aspects of Career Week. “Part of what has motivated the Alumni association and our office, the Alumni office, to do this, is also an issue of equity,” Steib said. “Some students have access to professionals that others students may not, depending on who your parents are, what fields they work in.” 

Steib also highlighted how connecting with people is vital to the week. “Part of this is also providing opportunities for all of the Upper School students, for everyone to be able to connect with Ian Freed and not just the students who may have a parent that went to school with him.”

Regardless of having a virtual format, Career Week aims to have students connect with panelists and perhaps dive deeper or be introduced to a passion or interest. 

“I will be attending, even for the panels that I may not find as much interest in, but you never really know,” Friedman said. 

“It’s all an experiment,” Steib said. “We’re learning by doing.”