Local Professionals Share Job and Education Experience with AHC Teens

AHC’s Fall Career Fair was loud, fast-paced and really interactive – the perfect recipe for a successful learning experience. More than 30 teens “speed networked” with professionals from a wide variety of fields – journalism, health and fitness, finance, accounting, government, education, engineering, FBI, fire department, and immigration law – and learned about their education experience and career path.

“We spoke to high school junior, senior and college students in the program about our own career paths, what skills are needed for certain careers and the how-tos of succeeding at a job. We received thoughtful questions and it was fun to hear the students’ plans for their future,” said Betsy Sharon of Chain Bridge Bank. After the Career Fair, two students reached out to Sharon about informational interviews.  She was able to set them up to talk with someone at the Bank about possible careers in investing and the stock market.

“The opportunity to meet and connect with different professionals is an invaluable experience for our students,”  said Milenka Coronel, Senior College and Career Readiness Manager. “Several of our teens have already set up informational interviews, job shadowing opportunities and internships after talking with some of the volunteers.”

Students, who ranged from 10th grade to college freshmen, also found it helpful to hear that career paths often evolve over time and it’s okay not to know exactly what they want to do right now.

Bernie Piper, who works with the Federal Housing Finance Agency, echoed the idea that career exploration is a journey. “What was most important to me was to convey that evolving career goals is a lifelong experience. This journey requires discovering your talents and passions, but at the same time, embracing a sober understanding of job markets.”

Huge shout out to our speakers for inspiring our students! Thank you to Austin Achenbach (Harkins Builders), Tim Bellaire (retired FBI), Natalie Brandmueller (EYP Architecture and Engineering), Orlando James (Orlando James Fitness LLC), Megan Mack (Vera Institute of Justice), Monique O’Grady (Arlington County School Board), Greg Pearson (Harkins Builders), Bernie Piper (Federal Housing Finance Agency), Catherine Sadaat (Aronson LLC), Betsy Sharon (Chain Bridge Bank), Terron Sims (Warrior Centric Healthcare Foundation), Tannia Talento (Arlington County School Board), Justin Tirelli (Arlington County Fire Department), and Debbie Truong (Washington Post).


Founded in 1975, AHC Inc. is a nonprofit developer of affordable housing that provides quality homes and education programs for low- and moderate-income families. Based in Arlington, VA, AHC has developed more than 7,500 apartment units in 50+ properties in Virginia,  Maryland and Washington, DC. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 3,000 children, teens, adults and seniors each year through onsite education and social service programs and activities.