On Tuesday, February 19th the Eastport Yacht Club hosted a Marine and Maritime Career Expo sponsored by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. This year the Expo was hosted at Maryland Hall in Annapolis, Maryland. The purpose of the event is to connect more than 100 students from Anne Arundel County High Schools with opportunities to learn about potential careers in the maritime industry, marine industry, and environmental-science related fields.

The day was split up between a variety of events including time for students to walk around to different vendors and engage in one on one conversations. The Alliance had the opportunity to share its mission with dozens of students interested in entering the field. Later in the day, students attended different breakout sessions comprised of panel discussions from professionals in the marine, maritime, boating, and environmental careers. Two Alliance staff members, Abbi Huntzinger and Marissa Spratley moderated engaging discussions with panelists from, Arundel Rivers Federations, Environmental Systems Analysis Inc, and Maryland DNR among many others.

I had the opportunity to participate as a panelist to talk about my time as a Chesapeake Conservation Corps member thus far. I felt that it was meaningful to speak about my role in the Conservation Corps to high schoolers because I remember not that long ago being a student deciding what path I felt was the best fit for me. This expo was especially unique because it allowed young students to speak with professionals in careers where they could one day see themselves. Meeting people who have your “dream job” makes that job or career feel less daunting, and I wish that I was given the same opportunity as a student to attend an expo like this. From my experience I believe that there is a huge disconnect between people being passionate about the outdoors and not knowing how to turn that passion into a career. I love that opportunities such as the Marine Expo are available to help create personal connections, and present a vast amount of careers to inspire ambition for students.

While exciting for students, the day was also impactful for the Alliance to see so many students interested and passionate about the work being done in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Events such as the Career Expo are important reminders of why we do the work we do, and the importance of engaging the next generation through sharing our message.