International Career Day preps students for global workplace


Stepping into the world of work no longer means competing with the kid next door, down the street, across town, or even in another state. Today, we live in a global society where jobseekers are measured on how their skills stack up against others around the world. That was the message of several speakers from the fields of business, law, finance, diplomacy, engineering, and human rights to 300 students at the DFW World Affairs Council’s International Career Day held at the Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy.

Students from Obama, Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, Woodrow Wilson and James Madison high schools heard speakers describe the global aspects of their careers, and the need for students to develop the technological, social, language and cultural skills to work in a global environment.

Esther Ferre, IBM’s manager for the firm’s Computer Services Industry discussed the importance of technology applications in medicine, business, and airline travel, among other fields. “There are all kinds of exciting applications for technology to improve life globally,” she said, citing how IBM is using the sophisticated computing power of its Jeopardy-winning computer, Watson, to help doctors around the world diagnose and treat cancer. Armed with patient’s symptoms, Ferre said, “Watson goes out and searches hundreds of thousands of medical journals and research reports and comes back to the doctor and says here’s the five recommended treatment regimens and the odds of success,” giving doctors around the globe access to medical research they might not otherwise have.

U.S. State Department diplomat Floyd Cable said that American diplomats are posted in embassies around the world to assist U.S. citizens in their travels and cultivate positive cultural relationships. He said diplomats work to give others an understanding of American policies and culture, and to share our democratic ideals, and encouraged students with a talent for languages, a desire to travel, and interest in serving their country to consider joining the Foreign Service. Cable, who is now Diplomat in Residence at UT Austin, said the government is interested in recruiting students of color and wants to create a Foreign Service team that more closely resembles America’s multicultural makeup.

Obama students Mario Grimaldo II, a senior, and Taylon Owens, a sophomore, said they were inspired by the speakers, and  have a lot to think about in terms of pursuing a career in the international sphere. Owens said, “I learned that technology is consuming the world and you have to be technologically literate to function in tomorrow’s society. I was inspired to maintain my technology skills and stay up to date on current events.” Grimaldo said his takeaway was one speaker’s advice to find something you’re passionate about and pursue a career that fulfills that passion. His is helping people and improving opportunities for others. He said he hopes to follow that passion into a career in the business world.

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