Confronting the COVID-19 pandemic over the past few months has been particularly demanding for every educator, student, parent, and guardian. Yet despite the challenges, communities across the world have come together to support one another in countless ways. Here at DreamWakers, we continue to virtually connect students with engaging career role models through Flashchats from Home.
Below we highlight several inspiring stories of DreamWakers educators and speakers going above and beyond to support students during this unprecedented time. It has been encouraging to see these conversations spark hope, optimism, and connection amid uncertainty!
In early April, Ms. Maggie Wohltmann’s 10th-grade Business class in New Jersey connected via Zoom with Megan Garmers, Founder & CEO of MG Hair and Makeup. Armed with Ms. Garmers’ bio, students researched her career background and came prepared with insightful questions leading to an honest and informative conversation. For example, students asked: What are you doing as a business owner during this pandemic since your business revolves around people? I know you have a background in psychology and business — how do both of those fields help you in the business world? How are you able to gain press and grow your business on large platforms?
After the flashchat Ms. Wohltmann told us:
It’s been really hard for my students with the changing news and the realness of the situation. The students all gave feedback that they felt lighter, more enthusiastic, and hopeful about everything after hearing Megan, so thank you.
Early in the 2019–20 school year, Ms. Amy Eberly, Community Programs Manager for People’s Prep in Newark, helped a class of 11th-graders find internships. As their internship course transitioned to a virtual model last month, DreamWakers connected the high schoolers with Dr. Bridget McCurtis, Founder and Chief Education Officer of Beyond Measure. Having spent her career inspiring the personal and professional development of countless individuals, Dr. McCurtis had a frank Zoom conversation with the young interns about developing soft skills, writing a resume, choosing a major or college, and the importance of building grit and resilience. After the conversation, Ms. Eberly shared:
I really appreciated that [Dr. McCurtis] didn’t shy away from going deep into the subject of race and how that has impacted her career. It’s not every day that a 40-minute conversation will become so poignant and important.
While some students are able to join live flashchats from home, like those highlighted above, many others face significant limitations in access to real-time, internet-based learning. For Ms. Allison Gerni and Ms. Breanna Holtz, the solution is in recorded, interview-style conversations tailored for their students! The two educators from Fred Fifer III Middle School in Delaware shared background information about their #DreamSpeaker with their students, who in return submitted questions for the speaker. Ms. Gerni and Ms. Holtz then connected with the career professional via Google Hangouts for a recorded video interview, which was ultimately shared out with their class— allowing students the flexibility to watch the conversation when they have available time and energy, as well as internet access to view or download the chat.
During this time, we have also launched DreamWakers Daily: Career Conversations from Home featuring regularly streamed conversations with some of our favorite #DreamSpeakers. Using questions submitted by our community, this series presents an opportunity to engage live on our Facebook page or by watching the videos on YouTube after they air.