When Emily Cumming toured the Texas Capitol building a few years ago, she was excited about the prospect of a career that would allow her to make a difference on a large scale.

“My big goal is to head to Austin and become a senator,” said Emily, a Harker Heights High School junior. “I want to start with city government first and start with giving back into the community that made me.”

Emily was excited to spend Wednesday with Killeen City Manager Glenn Morrison during the 16th annual Groundhog Job Shadow Day, sponsored by the city’s volunteer services and the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce’s public education adopt-a-school committee.

About 100 juniors and seniors from schools in the Killeen Independent School District were paired with 64 mentors from different professions to help prepare them for joining the workforce, said Heather Nusbaum, business manager at the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce.

“One year we had a student come in and he had no clue what he wanted,” said Nusbaum, who helped with the event. “We matched him with somebody and he was like, ‘This is exactly what I want to do.’” Other times, students think they know what they want to study, but after spending a day on the job decide to modify their career path.”

Keyshawn Johnson, an Ellison High School junior interested in math and science, shadowed research analysts at Operational Test Command at Fort Hood and was interested to learn how the division tests different machinery, systems and equipment.

“We see the helicopters around and we hear about what they do, but we don’t actually know for sure, so being able to see how they test the systems is pretty interesting,” Keyshawn said.

Morrison was glad he was matched with someone with a strong interest in local government.

“Any time you get an opportunity to work and communicate with young folks, it’s a great thing,” he said. “Especially knowing they’ll be our future leaders.”

Emily Cumming is president of the Youth Advisory Commission, a volunteer group that works with the city, and has worked with local government on a small scale. Through the job shadowing event, she gained hands-on experience in the field.

“I’ve kind of seen the job description and the education (required) but I haven’t really got to go in-depth to see what it looks like,” Emily said. “I’m super excited ... to see it in action, (not just) a piece of paper that says we’re doing this.”

Contact Sarah Rafique at srafique@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7549. Follow her on Twitter at KDHreporter.

I'm the education reporter at the Killeen Daily Herald. Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SarahRafique

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