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Upcoming K.O.C. Winter Bazaar!

Knowledge Of Careers is excited to invite you to our first annual Winter Bazaar on February 4th! The event is being held in the Edgewater neighborhood, at 411 NE 21st Street in Miami from 12 PM – 6 PM. We have always prided ourselves on our strong relationships with local businesses, and have often found ourselves the recipients of their generosity. Given that, we relish the chance to give back to them! At the Knowledge Of Careers Winter Bazaar, you will be able to enjoy some of the tastiest food from local food trucks, discover new local artists, and converse with some of Miami’s most innovative local vendors who will be displaying their antiques, crafts, and more! We have always valued the power of bringing diverse parts of our communities together, and couldn’t be happier to be doing it again for this event.

 

Our event also will provide exclusive access to some very influential local organizations. One of these is the Wynwood Neighborhood Enhancement Team, or Wynwood NET. Wynwood NET is a program the City of Miami has started in order to assist businesses, citizens, and organizations like Knowledge Of Careers access government services to ensure their success and their benefit to the neighborhood around them. Acting as a liaison between us and our city government, Wynwood NET is instrumental in guaranteeing that all municipal services are completed quickly and effectively. We here at Knowledge Of Careers are extremely grateful for the work they’ve done in our community, and couldn’t be happier that they are attending our event!

 

We are proud to be hosting the Overtown Youth Center at the Winter Bazaar as well. Located less than a block away from our home base school, Booker T. Washington High School, the Overtown Youth Center is committed to inspiring and empowering youth and families of the Overtown neighborhood by fostering hope through enrichment services. Working from the cornerstones of Integrity and Respect, the Overtown Youth Center is an irreplaceable force in the neighborhood that motivates young Overtown residents towards higher education and gainful employment. The work they do is very close to our hearts and we can’t wait for you to find out more from them at our event!
So please come visit us on February 4th to support these organizations, local food trucks, artists, and vendors, as well as Knowledge Of Careers at our first annual Winter Bazaar! Click here to see our Facebook page for the event and show us that you’ll be coming, we’re excited to see you there! New vendors and businesses are signing up every day, so if you own a business or sell your own wares and would like to be included, please call us at 786.213.5949 or email [email protected]

New K.O.C. Partnerships

It’s a new year, and Knowledge Of Careers has hit the ground running over the past month. We have upcoming events and new developments in our Ambassador class, but as an organization we have built new partnerships with committed local institutions. These groups share the same goals of professional improvement in the upcoming generation, and we are happy to have them in the Knowledge Of Careers family.

 

One of the most exciting partnerships we’ve had to date was finalized near the end of 2016. It is with great joy that we announce that we are officially partnered with the Miami Dade Public School System. The Miami Dade Public School System is the largest in the southeastern United States, and the fourth largest in the nation. With over 400 schools and more than 370,000 students, the district serves as an irreplaceable and awe-inspiring force that educates and enriches the children of our neighborhood. We are humbled to be considered in the ranks with such a storied and beneficial organization, and are looking forward to the steps we can take together towards the uplifting of our student body.

 

Beyond the realm of high school, we have also recently partnered with organizations associated with higher education. Moving into the new year, Knowledge Of Careers is now collaborating with both the Education Effect at Florida International University and the Toppel Career Center at University of Miami. Together, the two create a clear path to success beginning in high school and ending in employment, and are happy to assist in the transition along the way. The Education Effect is a partnership between Florida International University, the Miami Dade Public School System, and the J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation, and is committed towards improving the quality of high school level education courses. With support from the Lennar Foundation, the Education Effect has recently moved into Booker T. Washington High School, where our Ambassadors are currently enrolled.

 

The Toppel Career Center at University of Miami has always had the goal of preparing students to make educated decisions as they move into long-term careers. Providing students with assistance and support throughout the process of application, negotiation, and acceptance, the Center has produced some of the finest young professionals to come out of the Miami Dade area. As our students move towards the realm of professionalism, the Center will be a foundation that will allow them to catapult toward success.

 

We are also excited to announce our involvement with the Miami chapter of Urban Promise, a nonprofit organization that is devoted to the academic achievement and spiritual growth of Miami Dade students and young adults. By creating an environment with positive role models and improvement programs, Urban Promise acts towards providing a relief from the stresses and dangers of low income neighborhoods, and invests in individuals who will work towards becoming passionate leaders in their own community. Our students will continue to draw insight from the leaders at Urban Promise, and will carry their values forward with them as they grow.
With the support of these organizations we feel as if we have started the year off on the right foot, and we are enthusiastic to see how our own group grows and develops as we work with them towards the professional and academic success of our students. Their impact will be felt now, and for years to come, as our Ambassadors grow into capable, intelligent trailblazers and entrepreneurs.

January Ambassador Updates

A new year has started, and with it new opportunities for our class of Ambassadors. After spending a semester focused on professional development, financial literacy, and their own community impact projects, they will be moving forward into the complex and enriching lessons we have planned for them over the next few months. The Ambassadors will greatly benefit from some of our new community partnerships, and will undoubtedly become unstoppable forces of improvement within the neighborhood.

Many of our Ambassadors have minds oriented towards the business world, and understand that success in that field means not only working hard with the right people, but also working hard in the right places. With that in mind our partnership with the Cambridge Innovation Center in Miami has been something that they have been looking forward to for a long time. The CIC is an organization with an ecosystem tailored specifically to foster young entrepreneurial minds, and we have been extremely lucky to have them host our Ambassadors while they work on their community impact projects and begin studying for next years standardized testing. The CIC has five offices across the country and hosts over 1000 companies within them, with every location providing support and innovative ideas for the enterprisers of the next generation. Companies based at the CIC in the past have raised over $2 billion since the organization’s inception. Their assistance with our ambassadors is remarkable and the inspiration our students draw from the CIC is limitless.

However, whether you are working on a project inside a building or making it happen outside in the world, you need to look the part! Which is why we are excited to introduce the Suits for Seniors organization into the Knowledge Of Careers family. Working from the principal that “the suit is the uniform for success”, The organization’s founder Jervonte Edmonds has provided professional clothing to aspiring businessmen and businesswomen graduating from high school. With their help our Ambassadors will be provided with tailored professional wear, which will undoubtedly come in handy not only while pitching their community impact projects, but also at the upcoming Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, an annual leadership program organized by the Rotary Club, and for which all of our Ambassadors have applied.
As time progresses, so do our students, moving forward towards personal and professional growth. With the continued support of inspirational organizations like these, the Knowledge of Careers Ambassador class of 2017 is on track to mature into influential and successful members of our community.

Fall 2016 Booker T. Washington High School Recap

It’s been a busy semester for us at Knowledge of Careers! Between branching out to new schools, developing new programs at old ones, and hosting events in the Miami metropolitan area, we hit the ground running this year and haven’t stopped yet. The K.O.C. freshmen class at Booker T. Washington Senior High School felt the effects of this firsthand. Here are some of the wonderful people they’ve met and opportunities they’ve learned of throughout the semester.

Daniel Prada: Software Designer

Daniel Prada gave a creative and engaging first presentation, emphasizing the power of using old technology for new projects. Students came to understand that innovation is often the result of rearranging and repurposing what already exists, and brainstormed entrepreneurial projects they could pursue with the resources currently available to them. The activity saw students broken up into groups of technologies, users, and places, mixing together to create new and unique products that were greater than the sum of their parts.

Catherine Ragheb: Nurse

A quick change of pace had Nurse Catherine Ragheb speaking to the class. The product of a storied and impressive career, Mrs. Ragheb is an example of how many responsibilities can lie within a single title. From neonatal care to geriatric support to disaster relief, Cathy showed our students not only that one profession can take many forms, but also, and more specifically, that in a person’s scariest moment, a nurse can be their greatest ally. As her presentation drew to a close our students got a workout! Running up stairs and doing jumping jacks all contributed towards learning how to read and maintain one’s heart rate.

Leah Fein-Roque: Social Media Strategist

But what fun is exercising if you can’t brag about it? Leah Fein-Roque was next to speak to the class, and with her impressive background in social media strategy she quickly had a captivated audience. Speaking on her career path behind becoming a Social Media Strategist and PR Expert, our students were educated on the importance of having a professional yet engaging online representation. And while the lesson wasn’t interspersed with any #selfies, it ended with her activity, a hilarious mannequin challenge.

Amy Wang: Occupational Therapist

A week later our students were still stiff and sore from standing still for so long in that mannequin challenge, so we had to call for help! Amy Wang came to the rescue! Amy explained that as an OT, she helps those disabled from injuries or diseases return to the workforce through treatment and exercises. She showed how coming from humble roots helped shape her career path as an OT and a philanthropist, dedicating her life to helping those in need internationally. After an inspiring lesson Mrs. Wang taught us how to make finger splints out of thermoplastic.

Natalie Maldonado and Adam Stoller: Strategy Managers

At the end of November we had a double feature, Natalie Maldonado and Adam Stoller from the Miami Children’s Health System. Involved in the system’s Strategic Business Development and Growth division, the two showed the class the many avenues to improve and refine public health issues. With an emphasis on the paths each of them took to get where they are today, Natalie and Adam are examples of dedication and hard work that our students look up to today. At the end of lecture, our students were challenged intellectually, coming up with creative ideas on how to solve pressing health issues.

Dr. Liza Merly: Senior Lecturer

Dr. Liza Merly, expert on Marine Biology and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Marine Biology and Ecology at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, showed the students the inspiring and complex ecosystem that lives beneath the surface around us in Miami-Dade county for the last lecture of the semester. The intricate scientific pathways and biological developments she taught were as impressive as her own path to her profession, and the students were lucky to learn about each in turn. Just before we had to say goodbye to the students until we see them again next year, Dr. Merly brought out sample sharks, which the students were able to study, measure, and tag!

It was an amazing semester at Booker T. Washington, and the next one will be even more so! Thank you so much to all of our presenters over the past few months, you taught us as much as you did the students. And thank you for your continued support of Knowledge of Careers and our dedicated students! Have happy holidays, and a happy New Year!

Fall 2016 Miami Senior High Recap

A new year is approaching, and with it, new beginnings. Ever ahead of the curve, KOC’s big new beginning began in September, when we opened a chapter at Miami Senior High!  We feel very grateful for all the wonderful new freshmen we have met and worked with since then—we are truly learning as much from them as they are from us. From farming to pharmaceuticals, here’s what the new class has learned this year:

Eddie Echeverri: Sourcing Strategist

Setting a strong tone for the rest of the year, Eddie Echeverri from Costa Farms came in to speak with the class about his role in sourcing materials for the company’s agricultural products. Traveling as far as India, and as nearby as Little Haiti, Eddie goes to all lengths to ensure that the product is of the highest quality. Eddie brought the class into a negotiating game for his activity, having the students represent buyers and sellers negotiating for profitable prices.

Sandra Ferrin: Attorney

Getting out of the dirt and into the courthouse, Lawyer Sandra Ferrin was next. As a judge’s clerk moving into a position at a firm, Mrs. Ferrin knows all sides of the law intimately, and expressed to the class how invaluable creative thinking is in law and in everyday life. With a focus on logic, deductive reasoning, and an appreciation for recognizing legal process, Mrs. Ferrin introduced the class to the legal methods of settling suits and prosecution. For an activity the students worked on a real case that Mrs. Ferrin was involved in, helping to determine if actions taken in a case were premeditated or not.

Catherine Ragheb: Nurse

Soon after Catherine Ragheb presented to the class on her experiences as a Nurse. Mrs. Ragheb described the study, hard work, and experience that goes into nursing, and the fulfilling and profitable future it holds. Having been involved in numerous fields of nursing, Cathy described the different field of treatment from admitted patients to being involved in emergency disaster relief. Later, she got our class’ blood pumping with some jumping jacks, sprints, and runs up the stairs to measure our heart rates.

Ashley McNeil: Nutritionist Masters Student

As any athlete knows, exercise is only as useful as the diet you pair it with. As such, Nutritionist Student Ashley McNeil joined our class to speak with us on the importance of a healthy and balanced diet. Covering the movement from the Food Pyramid to the Food Plate as the national nutritional standard, Ashley covered how different types of food affect our bodies, and how maintaining a balance between them is instrumental towards a healthy body and mind. To finish up, Ashley had the class fill out a 24-hour diet recall, and graded how healthy the last 24 hours were for each student.

Daniela Diego and Alex Bode: Medical School Students

Medical Students Daniela Diego and Alex Bode spoke to the class about their experiences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and the paths they took to get there. The two explained that you can reach medical school with a background as typical as biochemistry, like Alex’s, or as unexpected as dance, like Daniela’s. Between the two of them the students gained an appreciation for the rigors of higher education and the payoff it has for the future. As class drew to a close, the future M.D.s showed us how to tie a surgical suture knot.

Isabella Roque: Digital Marketing Intern

Isabella Roque was next to teach our class about her experiences working in the music industry. Focused on the business side of music production, Isabella explained how her many high school courses created the skill set she has today to effectively market new artists and singles. As a Digital Marketing Intern, Isabella is a key figure in making new music popular. This was especially evident in her activity, where each student chose a popular artist and was tasked with coming up with a marketing strategy to advertise the artist to their parents.

Stephanie Ragheb: Physical Therapist

For the final presentation of the semester, Physical Therapist Stephanie Ragheb joined the class early in December to speak with them about the path towards becoming a PT. Explaining the complex science behind muscles and bones, Stephanie educated the students on how the body fits together, and how to treat it when the pieces aren’t all aligned. Ms. Ragheb described her career path in detail, and made every step to becoming a PT clear. She also taught the students how to run a physical therapy evaluation on a patient, which the students performed on each other as part of her activity.

As the semester ended, we were forced to say so long to our students once again. The first year at Miami Senior High School was a smashing success. Our class size has grown, and we have all grown close to one another. It may be a new environment, and may be a new class, but it feels like we are with old friends, and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for next year!

Fall 2016 Ambassador Recap

In their second year at Booker T. Washington Senior High School, the Knowledge of Careers Ambassador class focused on a different professional skill every month, beginning with financial literacy. It’s no secret that financial literacy is underemphasized in most high schools, and so we were grateful and proud of the lessons our Ambassadors received in it from volunteers from the prestigious PriceWaterhouseCoopers firm. Understanding personal finance is an essential life skill. The volunteers investigated the underlying math behind finance and how to apply it to practical money management skills.

Financial Basics

The first lesson, “Basic Math and Finance,” was designed to gauge students’ mathematical skills and to introduce them to basic topics in modern finance. Topics included interest, taxes, and percentages, as well as discounts and premiums. Most importantly, we stressed the value of payment plans and budgets, and the students completed an activity in basic payment plans and discounts. The second lesson, “Saving and Budgeting,” was crafted to demonstrate the importance of savings for one’s own future. We introduced the different means of saving and taught practical ways for students to budget their own money. During this lesson, we stressed why it is important to save and keep track of current expenses. In order to emphasize the importance of savings, we had the students complete a write-up on the value of savings and also had them create a mock budget given a discretionary income and choices of things to buy.

Advanced Finances

As the lessons became more complex we introduced “Taxes, Savings, and Investments,” which was designed to convince students of the importance of saving and shows them how strategic decisions made with each paycheck can contribute to long term prosperity. Throughout the lesson, emphasis was placed on how to save, and students learned to file a 1040EZ as an in class activity. Beyond that, “Credit, Debt, Living Within Your Means,” showed the students how credit is a powerful resource but must be handled with caution and restraint. In order to stress the benefits and risks of maintaining credit, we had the students complete a write-up about bankruptcy, and also worked through an example problem of paying off debt.

Following a month of Financial Literacy, November introduced a new theme – Technological Development. This module was designed around the most essential skills: Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and the use of internet based resources. The students acquired the basic training needed to use any of these programs in their career or college life. Each student made significant progress on their respective Community Impact Projects, which were integrated into each week’s lesson. Students worked one-on-one with Jorge Mendez, the Program Director of University of Miami’s “Innovate:Miami” and a Teaching Fellow at Miami Dade’s “The Idea Center.” With his help, the students began giving their projects much more substance and depth.

Community Impact Projects

Jorge Mendez led the first lesson on November 1st, which focused on the Community Impact Projects, community growth, and self involvement. After brainstorming some ideas for their projects, students completed a worksheet laying out the backbone of their Community Impact Projects. Students began thinking through the major factors associated with the ‘problem’ they are addressing and crafting their problem statements. Jorge met with each student individually to further their progress with their respective Community Impact Projects. At the end of this lesson, students had a detailed problem statement and a plan for how to begin implementing solutions this Spring. Over the Winter holiday, each group will be administering 20 surveys throughout their communities to better assess the issues they are targeting.

Technological Development

Basic skills associated with using Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel in a professional and academic capacity were a primary focus this semester. Topics included: formatting paragraphs, essays, and memos, creating bulleted information and info at-a-glance, using spellcheck and search and replace functions, and formatting APA bibliographies and citations. Students researched scholarly articles pertaining to their Community Impact Projects and formatted APA bibliographies with the information. During classes, students practiced formatting cells by reformatting a poorly formatted excel sheet. These skills, in addition to the professional and academic applications of Microsoft PowerPoint, will undoubtedly prove important when the students begin working on the financial aspects of their Community Impact Projects.

SAT/ACT Preparation and Youth Leadership

In anticipation for second semester, the month of December began integrating real practice material from the ACT and SAT standardized exams. We want our students to feel as prepared and confident as possible when it comes to these tests, and we believe early introduction and practice will help them achieve this. This month students also switched gears and focused on applying for the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), which is an intensive training program for young adults, ages 14-30. Through RYLA, students have the opportunity to develop leadership skills and character, gain exposure to a variety of issues and people, meet active community leaders, and learn valuable information and career skills. Our students prepared answers to a series of questions and turned in their applications during the second week of December.

As the semester drew to a close, we introduced the students to the vast number of internet resources at their disposal. In particular, we taught the students how to use local government websites and how to navigate a college application page. In addition, we had the students use YouTube to supplement their Community Impact Project.

September 2016 Ambassador Updates

This fall, KOC started its year 2 curriculum at Booker T. Washington High School. As such, six sophomore KOC ambassadors have been meeting on a weekly basis to focus on indispensable specific skills and the mental habits that will engender future flexibility and perpetual growth.

The first several lessons have focused on what we deem to be the most crucial concrete, or “hard,” skills: writing, public speaking, Microsoft Office and other technological competencies. These tools are necessary to effectively navigate the modern world, and their mastery opens doors that could not be opened any other way. While some of these skills are covered in a student’s regular coursework, many are not, most are underemphasized, and only rarely are students made aware of their functional importance.

Each lesson makes use of three assignments that sharpen essential skills on an almost daily basis: reading and critical thinking, writing, and problem solving. At the beginning of each class the students are given a problem to engage their mathematical prowess, logic, and analytical reasoning. At the end of each lesson, students complete short, graded writing assignments. The prompts typically relate to the material learned, or relate the day’s lesson to their own Community Impact Project. The first module was “writing and public speaking,” the goal of which is to introduce students to the writing and speech skills that will be required of them in both classroom and career settings.

For the first lesson, “writing crash course,” students were introduced to basic grammar through passage reading, writing, and review. The writing focused on professional writing, peer revie skills, and tools used for improving one’s writing. The aim was to familiarize students with grammatical conventions via intensive writing assignments that are closely edited by peers and teachers, then revised. During this lesson, we discussed parts of speech, sentence structure, and paragraph structure. In order to emphasize the importance of writing in a professional setting, we facilitated a discussion by posing the question “why do you think writing is important in a professional and collegiate environment?” Additionally, the students practiced their reading comprehension skills with a take-home assignment. This exercise was similar to an AP English Literature one, featuring an excerpt from “A Man of Letters as a Man of Business.”

During the second lesson, “intro to professional writing,” we familiarized students with the different forms of writing that will be expected of them in a college or career setting. We discussed the role of editing and critiquing, and also emphasized the importance of proofreading. During this lesson, we went over professional emailing, and worked with students on coming up with a hypothetical thank you email following a job interview. At the end of the lesson, we had students brainstorm some ideas for their Community Impact Projects, which they read out loud to the other students in the class.

The third lesson, “advanced writing topics,” students examined the different tools at their disposal for improving our own writing. We also took a more advanced look at sentence structure and the importance of both grammar and spelling in professional writing. We went over the ways in which the dictionary and thesaurus can improve writing, and also went over possessive nouns and verb tenses, since the students seemed to need more practice in both these areas.

The fourth lesson, “professional and public speaking,” was designed with the goal that students should be able to identify the different setting in which public speaking will be important in both a career and classroom setting. We taught the students how to convey oneself in the best way possible through speech techniques. Additionally, the students were assigned famous historical speeches that they will present during the next two lessons. At the start of this class, we facilitated a discussion by asking students why they think public speaking might teach them to become a better listener. In doing this, we emphasized the importance of listening in being able to adequately express their ideas.

The upcoming lessons will feature Price Waterhouse Cooper volunteers who will teach on financial literacy.

September 2016 K.O.C. Updates

The school year began with a running start, and we here at Knowledge of Careers were ready to get back into the swing of things! The first month of the school year has been one of growth and new experiences for us, from starting a new Year 1 program at Miami Senior High School to initiating the second year of K.O.C. at Booker T. Washington High School. With new schools, new students, and old friendships, we’re looking forward to seeing what this year has in store!

It’s only been a month, but our partnership with Miami Senior High School has already proved itself to be more than we could have hoped. With amazing support from staff and students alike, K.O.C. has been able to set its feet down easily at the school, and through presentations to Freshman Experiences classes nearly 400 students have shown interest in the program! With a number that large we had to be sure we had the guests to back it up, and with professionals from the medical, legal, entrepreneurial, and agricultural fields (just to name a few!) lined up to present, we can be sure the new students will have an experience like they never have before! As K.O.C. grows and expands to new schools, we are focused on providing the utmost exposure and education to our students, from the largest class sizes to the most concentrated.

Speaking of focused, our intensive K.O.C. ambassador program at Booker T. Washington has been a huge success! Our ambassadors, while small in number, are quite the opposite when it comes to drive and ambition. We have been touched to see how students we grew to know over the last year have developed into forward-thinking young adults, compelled to improve themselves and their communities. They have made this obvious through professional development activities, engaging the students around them, inspiring the class below them while introducing them to the benefits of being a K.O.C. member, and their long-term plans to directly improve the lives of their neighborhoods. We have been working hard to pair our ambassadors with like-minded professionals in the Miami-Dade area, and as such give them the opportunity to step into the corporate world at their own pace with the mutual goal of personal and altruistic success.

Expansion News

Are you ready for K.O.C. Year 2 to begin? We sure are! There are a lot of updates coming to the organization this year and we can’t wait to tell you about them! From partnerships with volunteer programs and education support foundations, all the way to our expansion into new Miami Dade schools this year, we have a lot of news to cover!
We here at K.O.C. are excited to announce our partnership with the AmeriCorps VISTA program, an organization dedicated to providing service and volunteership in order to combat poverty. VISTA volunteers will be joining K.O.C. staff in the classroom and on an administrative front to help our Year 2 initiatives roll out smoothly and effectively. The presence of the volunteers not only provides K.O.C. with the manpower needed to expand into new schools this year, but also shows our students that service to one’s community, even when done by just one individual, can have an indescribably positive impact.
It has been a groundbreaking summer for K.O.C. when it comes to partnerships. We had the pleasure of forming a relationship with The Education Effect from Florida International University. Together with JP Morgan, The Education Effect works to improve the scholastic engagement of the Miami-Dade community by connecting its public schools with the amenities and resources provided by its university. Now working in conjunction with K.O.C. at Booker T. Washington Senior High School, The Education Effect will be helpful in enhancing the experience students have in our program. We are happy to celebrate this collaborative partnership, and to work together to improve the offerings each of our programs can provide to the students we serve.
Finally, we want to extend a huge thank you to the Brian H. and Jill P. Rowe Family Foundation! Dedicated to the enhancement of community and economics from an educational perspective, especially in regards to low-income districts, the organization has helped an incalculable number of at-need children across the nation. We want to thank them for their generous donation, and congratulate them on becoming our first Principal level donor! Thank you!

Our family is growing, and we’d love for you to join!

Our organization has been growing and developing greatly over the past summer! Aside from expanding to Miami Senior High, our own staff,family, and partners have grown as well. On top of our institutional connections with the FIU Education Effect and the Brian H. and Jill P. Rowe Family Foundation, one of our most exciting new developments is with two very inspiring and unique individuals: Nicolette and Victoria from the AmeriCorps VISTA program!
As a Miami native and Johns Hopkins graduate, Nicolette is well-traveled and well-rounded! She brings a distinctive outlook to the K.O.C. mission. With her BA in Earth and Planetary Sciences and her Masters in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Nicolette brings a scientific and diagnostic approach to identifying challenges students face and the ways to overcome them. Nicolette is a passionate and hardworking member of our team and we are excited to have her!
Victoria is also a Miami native, and a graduate of the Miami-Dade county public school system we currently work in! As a graduate of Miami Northwestern High School, Victoria is intimately familiar with the challenges in the public schooling system, and is an example of how to overcome them. Victoria shared that she is passionate to share her experiences and knowledge with the youth in our program, and is an invaluable member of our organization!
These exciting additions to our staff will prove integral as we transition into our second year, but you can get involved too! We want YOU to come speak! We are currently actively recruiting speakers for the upcoming school year,and spots are going fast! If you are interested, please send an email to [email protected] with your name, profession, and a few Wednesdays in October, November, or December for which you’ll be available. Speaking for K.O.C. is a unique opportunity to share your own story and experiences with young students who may be interested in your field. Students from our last year have stayed in contact with influential speakers from their year and look up to some of them as mentors. Take this opportunity to make a difference!

Take Our Kids to Work Day

Taking up a timely topic, Richard V. Reeves of the Brookings Institute asks us to rethink the goals behind Take Your Kids to Work Day. What if it was renamed Take Our Kids to Work Day? On this day, professionals would take kids who are not regularly exposed to interesting and compelling careers into the office with them. Rather than focusing exclusively on our own children, Take Our Kids to Work Day would provide an opportunity to introduce kids to professions that would otherwise remain invisible to them, and therefore beyond their young ambitions. The author identifies socioeconomic immobility as the grievous problem - for the nation, for communities, for schools, and for our kids - that it is, and notes how we might take small steps towards bridging the divides that pervade our nation and undercut its fundamental promise to provide opportunity for all. We work every day to give our students the opportunities and skills they need to explore the new professions that will ignite their curiosity and passions, and are grateful that Mr. Reeves shares our enthusiasm for poking holes in the walls that separate society, keeping us from learning from one another. Link to article: https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/theres-a-better-way-to-celebrate-take-your-kids-to-work-day-taking-someone-elses-kid-instead/?utm_campaign=Brookings%20Brief&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=51237898 --
We are very excited to introduce an ongoing series that will display the research of elite think tanks, social scientists, and journalists who are engaged in the same important work as KOC. We consider these researchers to be our partners. Their data gives us guidance, and our programs bring their data to life.
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Miami Senior High School Year 1 Updates - March 2017

The past few weeks have been filled with some great presentations for our first freshman class at Miami Senior High School. Our students have been learning about law, education, digitl marketing, and even geology. As the weeks pass new topics and ideas are being introduced, and our students are learning more about new professional possibilities.   Our students started off with a presentation by lawyer Marissa Leichter. With a focus on family law and child protection, she discussed the law’s involvement with the foster care system and nonprofit systems that provide child care. Marissa also detailed the complex juvenile detention system. For her activity, the students developed their own ideas for nonprofit companies and drafted a mission statement.   Digital marketer Bryan Lozano visited our class to speak on the value of online marketing and social media management. As the digital marketer for a large, south Florida law firm, Bryan manages the online presence of the firm and maintains a positive corporate image. Bryan described to our class the importance of establishing a difference between the online persona of a company or corporation and one of a person. As such, as part of his activity, each of our students started their own blog which they have been updating regularly.   A week later we were visited by Kyle Mullan, teacher and dean at Cushman High School. Kyle recounted his storied path to teaching and showed our class the many steps it takes to reach a professional goal. As a dean and teacher, Kyle crosses the line between educator and administrator, and helped explain to our class the multifaceted ways he must face an issue. Additionally, we were treated to a detailed description of Kyle’s many travels and volunteer work, which prompted a concluding informal discussion about world travel, geopolitics, and the need for selflessness. Lastly, geologist and professor Ta-Shana Taylor came to our class with a bucket of rocks! However we quickly learned that these were not just rocks, but also a mix of ancient fossils and minerals. Ta-Shana explained in-depth the inner workings of archaeology and the scientific fields, gradually revealing throughout the lecture signs and techniques to classify all of the samples she had brought with her. By telling us stories of her visits to the Museum of Natural History as a teenager, her dig sites in college, and her current work at UM, we seemed to learn more and more about classification and study as her timeline progressed. As we reached our current day in her story, we compared how we had sorted the samples to how the student did initially and saw firsthand how much we had learned in such a short period.
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Booker T. Washington Year 1 Updates - March 2017

As the school continues our freshman class at Booker T. Washington High School continues to have engaging presentations from a variety of professionals. Our last series of presentations have covered disciplines from all walks of life, professions, and academics, and have given our students an experienced outlook into the working world.   We started off the month with aesthetician Elizabeth Canler who spoke on her training and experiences in the beauty industry. Elizabeth drew from both scientific and aesthetic viewpoints in her presentation, speaking on the methodology behind products and techniques used in the modern beauty and cosmetological industries. Elizabeth brought in a number of ingredients used in facial masks which can be found at home and had the students design and create their own masks.   Dr. Angie Laird is a professor and neuroscientist from Florida International University who discussed with our students the benefits and uses of MRI technology in the medical field and how she uses it to study brain function. Dr. Laird focuses on the differences between active and inactive regions in the brain, and discussed with our class the differences between the two and how she differentiates between them based on MRI feedback. For an activity she had our students perform various critical thinking problems and exercises to stimulate brain activity and explained how she would measure which portions of the brain was being activated based on the type of question.   Entrepreneur Tony Thomas was next to speak with the class. He discussed the benefits of branding, personal marketing, and wealth management, both personal and professional. Mr. Thomas has a number of companies and holdings including athletic training and management, and discussed strategy behind balancing budgets and efforts between them, while maintaining separate and effective brands. As class drew to a close Tony had the students create personal fictional brands for causes or issues important to them.   To round out the month we had Dr. John Davies come speak with our class. An experienced leader in the south Florida academic field, he has been Head of School for the local Miami Country Day School for nearly 20 years. Documenting his path towards education and administration, Dr. Davies discussed how high school-level academia has evolved over past decades, how teaching styles can be altered to best suit different students, and the many opportunities and career paths involved in following an education in teaching.
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March 2017 Ambassador Updates

Over the past month our Ambassadors have had some of the most productive and educational weeks yet! Between large strides being made in their Community Impact Projects and developing their professional skills, they have been working tirelessly to improve themselves and the neighborhoods around them. Within the last month our Ambassadors presented their projects at our first annual Knowledge of Careers Pitch Presentation, where they were judged independently and the winner received seed funding for their project!   The Ambassador’s Community Impact Projects have been developing rapidly over the past few weeks. With each unique project taking realized form, our Ambassadors have been creating business models, competitor analyses, and financial projections, as well as ensuring their positive impact on the Overtown community and surrounding areas. Their work on their projects this semester culminated in our First Annual Knowledge of Careers Pitch Night, where the Ambassadors pitched their projects to an independent panel of judges: Melitsa Waage, Oro Padron, Hannah Anokye, Naureen Rizvi, and Sally Guzik. We’d like to extend a huge thank you to them for evaluating the programs and giving their feedback! At the end of the night our Ambassadors Donna and D'eria from their project Diamonds In The Rough edged out the other competitors; In Between, the program run by Kimneisha and Jonathan, and Beat The Odds, Chris and Marquise’s Community Impact Project.   Donna and D’eria won a well-deserved prize of an initial $250 funding towards their project, which will be implemented in May along with the other Ambassadors’ projects. The projects will be continued throughout the rest of the year, when they will undergo an unbiased, professional evaluation to see which projects have room for future growth and development. In the meantime the Ambassadors will continue the Knowledge of Careers curriculum into their Junior years, developing their programs further, and focusing on SAT and ACT preparation and internships.
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    • Jesica Doe
      “[After starting Knowledge of Careers] I know that math is a lot more important than I thought it was, I’m trying harder in it now.”
      K.O.C. Student
    • Jesica Doe
      “[K.O.C. showed me that] you need to work hard to achieve your goals.”
      K.O.C. Student
    • Jesica Doe
      "[After starting Knowledge of Careers, I am] more interested in school in general, trying harder across the board.”
      K.O.C. Student
    • Jesica Doe
      “The program helped me [learn about] more careers. At first I only wanted to do one thing, now I want to try something else.”
      K.O.C. Student
    • Jesica Doe
      “You have to work hard to get a job, I didn’t think it was hard to do before [the program]. If you need to look longer than you thought you would to get a job, that’s okay.”
      K.O.C. Student
    • Jesica Doe
      “[Knowledge of Careers] helped me [learn about] more careers and jobs that need more challenging steps. This program makes you want to do better in your classes for your future.”
      K.O.C. Student
    • Jesica Doe
      “[K.O.C.] gave me a good inside view on every different job, it [shows you] different things that are good jobs and it makes you want to expand your horizons."
      K.O.C. Student
    • Jesica Doe
      “[Knowledge of Careers makes you] open your mind to different stuff, like if you didn’t know what you wanted to be it gave you different [careers].”
      K.O.C. Student
    • Jesica Doe
      “[Before K.O.C. I thought getting a job was easy.] You get your degree and go see if they have any spots open, show your resume and you get the job. The perception has changed, you have to work hard.”
      K.O.C. Student