Western Carolina Students gain real-world experience through job shadowing event

Nick Botello-Hernandez has known for a while now that he wants to be a park ranger. But having a recent opportunity to job shadow with Western Carolina University alumnus Robert McGraw, superintendent of Mount Mitchell State Park, and park ranger Daniel Jackson for a day further cemented his career path.

Botello-Hernandez, a senior parks and recreation management major from Walkertown, was one of several WCU students who spent the day job shadowing at an Asheville-area business or company.

WCU’s Job Shadowing Day, which was co-sponsored by the Office of Alumni Engagement and the Center for Career and Professional Development, also took place this semester in Atlanta and for the first time in Charlotte. In all, 25 students and mentors participated, which was the largest group ever.

“With this program, we match WCU students, based on their career interest, with alumni and friends of the university for a day of job shadowing,” said Marty Ramsey, director of alumni affairs. “This initiative has better engaged our alumni with current students and has offered them an opportunity to take what they have learned in the classroom and apply it in a real working world experience.”

Botello-Hernandez said his first job was working at Hanging Rock State Park in Danbury. He enjoyed seeing the rangers in uniform and the stature they held. It was then that he knew he wanted to be one.

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