Career Day Assembly Showcases Talented Lower School Parents

Students in the Lower School attended a special assembly on Monday, March 27, to hear from four parents representing a diverse set of career options. This annual Career Day Assembly culminates a week of age-appropriate career-based activities in K-6 Social Emotional Learning classes and caps off a month of activities in the Lower School commemorating the month’s designated value — responsibility.

Ms. Denise Williams, mother of Sterlyn ’29 kicked off the assembly by sharing with students her love of shopping. She has purchased millions of dollars worth of items over the past year for Essex County College in her role as Director of Purchasing. She conveyed her joy in finding the perfect-fit items across a broad range of categories to assist her school in fulfilling its motto, “Students First.” That means she approves the purchase of items ranging from candy for Halloween to a $30 million new building on campus.

Mr. Rui Wei, a physicist at the Brookhaven National Laboratory and father of Albert ’33, spoke primarily about the first five years of his career working with the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. His work helped support the Big Bang Theory. During question time, a Lower School student asked, “What caused the Big Bang?” To which Mr. Wei replied, “Scientists believe our universe started with that big bang, but before that, we don’t really know. Maybe someday you can help us understand.” He went on to say, “Curiosity drives humanity forward. I hope you guys can stay curious, always ask questions, and discover amazing things.”

Dr. Mike Exton, Global Head of Cardiovascular Therapies at Novartis and father of Lower School students Mietta ’30 and Alessia ’33, entertained students by humorously explaining the process by which medicines are created — whether through the diligence of biologists and chemists in the lab or serendipitously from the spit of a Gila monster. In concluding his presentation he encouraged the students by saying, “I hope you love learning more about medicines and keep studying your chemistry and biology because it’s really good fun and you get to do good things for people.”

Dr. Shetal Mansuria, an Obstetrician and Gynecologist at St. Barnabas Hospital and mother of Tej ’31 and Aria ’33, spoke to the students about her field, primarily focusing on the joys she has experienced over her career delivering babies — the number of which she stopped counting after she reached 10,000. When asked what she loves most about her job, she replied, “I get to wear pajamas all day,” but then seriously added, “The best part is forming these long-lasting relationships with women throughout their lives.”

Our heartfelt thanks to these wonderful and talented parents for illustrating to Lower School students that being responsible in life can also be quite fulfilling and that there are an array of career options open to them as they grow older and think about their future.