Over 100 St. Petersburg College students attended a public service career panel on September 19 at the Clearwater Campus as part of Public Safety, Public Policy, and Legal Studies‘ Career and Academic Community week .
The room was filled to capacity, where, for over an hour, experts from federal, state, and local governments shared educational and work experience with attending students. The panelists gave educational and career advice to students, as well as, regaled examples of when they were able to work together with other branches, levels, and offices of government to impact the lives of the public.
The panel consisted of Florida State Legislator Larry Ahern, Heather Arbuckle, Paralegal with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Pinellas County Commissioner Charlie Justice, and Sara Mieczkowski from the Federal Public Defender’s Office.
Students gave high marks to the guests. Public Policy student Hanna Bouchey said the fact that there was a Democrat and a Republican on the panel lent even more meaning to it.
“I really enjoyed their perspectives on certain issues,” Bouchey said. “My favorite question was about how opposing government bodies sometimes work together.”
The organizers were pleasantly surprised by how well attended the event was. But perhaps more surprising was how engaged the students were with the panelists. Many students stayed for over an hour after the panel had concluded to speak with the panelists.
Jason Nicholson, who helped put the event together, said the panel discussion was engaging and informative, but the students’ reception was worth all the time put in.
“We were very lucky to have the opportunity to assemble this group,” he said. “I was most impressed, however, by the discussions after the panel. Our students really took the opportunity to connect and network with all of the panelists. It was just great to see how many people stayed afterward to continue the conversation.”