Mason Employees Introduce the Working World to Their Children

Posted: April 23, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Ferraro

On Thursday, April 24, Mason, along with organizations and businesses across the nation, will welcome children accompanied by their parents as the country marks Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.

The annual event is sponsored by the Ms. Foundation for Women to encourage parents and employers to help connect what children learn at school with the actual working world. The program also helps boys and girls across the country discover the possibilities that come with a balanced work and family life.

Mason’s Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), housed in Research I, expects about 10 children ranging in ages from 4 to 14 to come to work with their employees. Heather Aleknavage, administrative assistant in OSP, planned activities for the day and will facilitate the events. The kids will begin with some icebreakers to get to know one another and will draw pictures of what they want to be when they grow up.

Harold Geller, term assistant professor and associate chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, will give a short presentation and lead the kids on a tour of the observatory. This will be followed by a tour of the entire building led by Jean Callahan, Research I building manager.

Some Mason researchers will also give short presentations to the young visitors about their work. For example, Lance Sherry, deputy director for the Center for Air Transportation Systems Research, will discuss his research on the airline industry.

The kids will then have the opportunity to learn more about the Learning Agents Center, which conducts fundamental and experimental research on the development of learning agents for real-world problems and is part of the Volgenau School of Information Technology and Engineering.

After the children have eaten lunch at Ciao Hall and the younger kids have left for the day, Aleknavage will talk with the older kids about various career paths. They will even go through the university’s course catalog to research what programs of study they might want to pursue based on their earlier drawings.

“It’s important for kids to understand why their parents work and the balances they have to make between work and family,” says Aleknavage. “By spending the day where their parents work, they are able to see the important and productive things their parents are doing.”

For more information about Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, visit the web site.

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