Celebrating STEM Education with Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

Celebrating STEM Education with Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

Once a year, you may notice some of the employees headed to work look a bit younger than normal. In fact, they look like children! Your eyes aren’t deceiving you…it’s Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. Every April, kids across the U.S. trade in their schoolbooks for laptops to put in an honest day’s work with their parents. Not only do they get the opportunity to see exactly what their moms and dads do during the day, but they’re also exposed to a career path that may interest them in their future.

Parents in our IT team are especially excited when this day rolls around because, for their kids, it is a day of discovery and fun. Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day was held on April 26 this year and our IT group did not disappoint, giving our children the chance to enjoy tours of the Blue Cross building and participate in a group presentation at the day’s end!

Below, IT team members Philip Clark, Jena Ryce and Dave Bargowski shared their motivation for bringing their kids and what they got out of the experience:

  • What motivated you to have your child participate in Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day?
Celebrating STEM Education with Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

Phil Clark and sons enjoy Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day activities

PC: There were a couple of reasons I wanted them to participate. First, I wanted to demystify the professional half of my daily routine, which they don’t get exposed to very often. I also wanted to get them excited about career options and life beyond school.  At 8 and 11, they’ve got plenty of time to make those decisions, but even now they seem to be constantly refining their plans and dreaming about the future.  As a parent, that’s encouraging, and I think days like this stoke that sense of wonder in them.

JR: I wanted my son to get a first-hand look at where I work and what I do. I know our IT team pulls out all the stops to put on a great day for the kids and get them thinking about their future.

DB: I wanted to bring my daughter, Lexi, to work with me so she could get a better understanding of the responsibilities that come with working a full-time job.  At her elementary school, she is learning the basics of coding to help foster careers in STEM and she really enjoys the coding worksheets that she brings home for extra credit.  I wanted her to be able to see what she could expect if chose to pursue a career in computer programming.

  • What did you want your children to get from the experience?

PC: I wanted them to get some exposure to the broad array of roles that exist within IT.  At their age, I think there’s a perception that IT is all about making computers work. In a sense it is, but there is so much more to it. Both of my sons and I participate in their school’s robotics programs.  At their young ages, they are heavily focused on either building robots or writing code for robots and don’t immediately focus on the other aspects of these two disciplines.  As a result, we tend to spend a lot of time with the robotics students helping them achieve a greater perspective on everything involved with building a technical solution from processes, to planning, to communication, to marketing, etc.  Although smaller in scope than our Enterprise IT functions, there are some parallels here that I was hoping to reinforce.

Celebrating STEM Education with Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

Our youngest employees in the middle of a meeting during Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

JR: My son normally sees me after I have worked all day and have had a long day. I wanted him to see that IT is not all about programming or being very technical and that there are many other jobs in IT that are not technical.

DB: Lexi was interested in getting a better understanding of what it is like working for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.  She was excited to see where I worked, meet my co-workers, and see where I spend so much time each week.  Plus, a day away from school was hard for her to pass up!

  • What was your family’s favorite part of the day?

PC: I enjoyed the whole process.  The kids were SO excited!  They went shopping with their mom to pick out shirts, ties, and new shoes – they were all in!  It was touching to see them so interested in what I do at work. They also had some ‘grown up’ type conversations with some of my colleagues and I got a kick out of watching that play out. The boys both really enjoyed the data center command center visit on the tour.

JR: My son and I loved going to see the Control Room. I have worked at BCBSM for 8 years and have never seen it before!

DB: My favorite part of the day was spending time with all the kids and taking my group of students, including my daughter, to the Operational Command Center (OCC).  This is a 24/7, 365 days a year operation and all the students learned what it is like to monitor BCBSM’s critical computer systems. Lexi’s favorite part of the day was writing how she would make a positive change in the world and posting it on the Positive Change Moment Board, sharing that she will treat people and animals the way she would like to be treated.  She also enjoyed a trip to the 21st floor of the Tower for a scenic view of the city of Detroit and Canada.

  • Do you plan to follow-up with your child on talents or strengths you observed during the day?

PC: I definitely plan on continuing to reinforce the things they got exposed to.  It was a great opportunity for them to get some exposure to my world, and gave them some good insight that they can apply to both the things they are doing now and the career choices they will be making in the not-too-distant future.

Celebrating STEM Education with Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

Jena Ryce’s son hard at work on Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

JR: My son is active in sports, Boy Scouts and robotics. All of these activities are teaching him how to be a leader, collaborate with others, be competitive, think outside the box, be a team player and to never give up when things gethard. I’m glad these were all reinforced during the day and we will continue making these values a priority at home.

DB: The one thing that surprised me about my daughter was that she was not afraid to get in front of a large group and present her ideas on how to bring positive change to her community.  She volunteered to share her thoughts in front of the entire group of more than 90 people in the Tower Auditorium.  I was glad she had this opportunity to build her confidence and to feel comfortable presenting her ideas with our future workforce.

Learn more about Blue Cross IT and our focus on STEM, visit these blogs:

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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