Craig When Dana Duran was in eighth grade, she knew what job she wanted.
"Ever since I was knee high to a grasshopper, I wanted to be a doctor," she said.
But, a brush with nonprofit work in college altered those plans.
Duran now serves as Boys & Girls Club of Craig executive director. On Thursday, she was among more than 20 area professionals who spoke to Craig Middle School eighth-grade boys and girls during daylong career seminars.
A boys career day included morning presentations about careers in law enforcement, fire fighting, power plant technology, automotive mechanics and the industrial electrician field. Students toured Trapper Mine and the Hayden Power Plant in the afternoon.
Meanwhile, eighth grade girls attended the Girls to Women, Women to Girls Career Conference at the Holiday Inn of Craig. Students heard from women from various career fields, including law, animal sciences, education, technology, banking and health care.
"I think it's really important that we expose (girls) to as many choices and options as there are," Duran said.
Options help students see "they can be anything they want to (be) as long as they work hard and put a little time and effort into it," she said.
"It starts now."
J.B. Chapman can relate.
As Chapman's Automotive owner, he gave about 15 eighth-grade boys information about the automotive mechanic field.
"This is the start," Chapman said as the students filed into the CMS classroom where he gave his presentation.
When Chapman was an eighth-grader, he didn't know what job he wanted to take as an adult, he said.
But, he had an idea.
"We had the ranch," he said. "I loved working with animals back then and that was my focus."
Working at Chapman's Automotive, then owned by his father, changed that career path.
"My hero was my dad," he said. "He showed me what he did."
Chapman wasn't the only presenter who needed guidance from an adult to pick a career path.
"I'm always a little concerned about separating people out : by gender," Mary Lynne James said after her keynote speech at the Career Conference.
In this case, however, she made an exception.
"Young people of this age need role models," she said, "and sometimes they need a role model of the same gender."
James speaks from experience.
After James graduated college, she heard a female attorney speak about legal professions - a field that, like other careers at the time, was becoming more open to women, James said.
"Having someone tell me when I was 24 years old that I could do what I wanted to do was pretty significant for me at that point," she said. "She gave me enough courage to do what I wanted to do."
James later went to law school and served as an attorney in Moffat County from 1977 to 1984. She became a county judge in 1984 and stayed with the position until 2006.
James' message to eighth-grade girls was two-fold.
She wanted to encourage students to pursue their chosen career path, she said, in the same way a female attorney had done for her.
But, the encouragement came with a warning.
"There's a lot they have to do before they get there," she said. "And they have to stay in school."