Inventing Heron Connects People to Career Possibilities

The website, developed in the Ocean State, features hundreds of interviews with real people in a range of fields.

The free, web-based career resource, Inventing Heron, features hundreds of interviews with real people about their work in a wide range of fields. Founder Lindsay Kuhn says she created the site “to show people nothing is out of their reach.” Recently, Inventing Heron partnered with Rhode Island PBS and the Providence School District on separate grants to help close equity gaps in career education. A crowdfunding campaign kicks off this fall to enhance the site to reach more students, with a goal of adding fifty more videos that focus on people of color. inventingheron.com

Margo Karloff-Hunger 

Career: Workforce coordinator at the Steel Yard

The Profession: I create professional opportunities for the Steel Yard, an industrial arts nonprofit. We do art that has to do with fire: iron pouring, blacksmithing, welding, ceramics and jewelry.

How she got here: I was fifteen when I started at the Steel Yard in the welding-based summer camp for youth. I went to college in Vermont, and ended up going to industrial welding school. When I came back
to Providence, I started as a teacher’s assistant at the Steel Yard, and then taught a Weld to Work program, our job training program.

Advice: Redefining success was a huge change in how I think about what I do. Yeah, I haven’t placed everyone in a job. But success for me is that you finished the program.

inventing heron

Photography courtesy of Inventing Heron.

 

Jeff O’Kelly

Career: Pipe fitter and foreman

The Profession: A pipe fitter basically works on all piping: copper, stainless, carbon steel, PVC and joining those together in different ways that transfer fluids to systems.

How he got here: I joined the Navy in 1985 and started welding. I enjoy working with my hands and doing physical things. It was a fit for me, and then into the pipe fitting and welding industry.

Advice: If you get accepted
to the program, you have a five-year apprenticeship and on-the-job training so you start out on the job as somebody green who doesn’t know anything.

inventing heron

Photography courtesy of Inventing Heron.

 

Almaz Dessie

Career: Pediatric emergency medicine, pediatrics at Rhode Island Hospital

The Profession: Most emergency room jobs are twenty-six to thirty-two hours a week, which sounds like part time. But you end up working more than that because a shift usually ends up being nine or ten hours, and then if you do an overnight, the next day is shot. But I have an incredibly flexible schedule.

How she got here: I did my pediatrics rotation very late. I didn’t really know I loved working with kids like that. I had worked with kids in various volunteer roles and teaching in the past, but I loved kids in medicine.

Advice: Seek out the clinical experience early. It’s a long, long time before you actually see patients, so see if medicine is interesting to you before you commit a lot of work to do it.

inventing heron

Photography courtesy of Inventing Heron.

 

Dr. Hasan Alsawaf

Career: Dentist

The Profession: I have lived in Rhode Island for more than nineteen, twenty years. I’m a graduate of Boston University and University at Buffalo, New York. I was born in the Damascus area. I always wanted to be in the freest country in the world and here I am.

How he got here: The first job I had was a dishwasher. I didn’t have a car, didn’t have a driver’s license, and I used to bike there and it was really cold. And then the second job I had was a pizza cook and then the third job was a pizza driver.

Advice: If you want to become a dentist, call your dentist and ask to come and observe. See if this is for you or not, and if it’s for you, you have to apply. Sugar is your enemy, remember.

inventing heron

Photography courtesy of Inventing Heron.

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