With February being National Career and Technical Education month, I wanted to take the opportunity to express my beliefs on why CTE is so important to students. Recently, at a career fair at my daughter’s school I had the opportunity to speak with students about my field of study. The number one question I received was “How can what I am learning now be applied to this career choice or path in my future?” What the students were really asking is to show them how CTE is relevant in the “real world”.
Currently, I work for a commercial furniture dealership, HST Interior Elements in Nashville, TN.I have a background in project management, interior space planning and furniture selection. It was a pleasure to explain to the students how the technical skills and education they are learning can make them career ready. For me personally, it started in middle school; in 6th grade, for a project based learning activity the class was tasked with designing and building their dream house. The inspiration for my project was the” Falling Waters” house by Frank Lloyd Wright. I continued my passion for Interior Design and completed a Bachelor of Science in Art and Interior Design from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama in 1992.
In my particular field of design and sales, skills as simple as basic math and geometry, artistic expression, clear speech and organizational management are critical. The opportunity to explore a career and yourself within it before high school graduation is becoming essential in developing great students and employees. Having the opportunity to see a glimpse of the “real world” is priceless. CTE makes a primed and equipped workforce. One never knows what activity will trigger a desire for a future career. Explore, Educate and Engage!
Anita Ryan works for HST Interior Elements, a Nashville based, full-service commercial furniture dealership offering nationwide programs of high-quality, and affordable product solutions. Graduating in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science in Art and Interior Design from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama she holds over 20 years of experience in her field. She is involved with the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Nashville Chi Omega Alumni as well as the Nashville Samford University Alumni Chapter. Being an advocate for education and community involvement she consistently works hard with various organizations to help all students, regardless of circumstances succeed. Currently, she holds the office of PTO President for H.G Hill Middle School and is an active leader with the Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee. In her free time she enjoys experimenting with culinary arts, catching a movie at the Belcourt Theater, spending time outdoors and just relaxing with her husband and three children.