Student Interns Go to Work
October 10, 2014 • 1,383 views
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“I was excited after the first day because I realized this is something I could be happy doing for the rest of my life,” senior Caroline Keller said, referring to her internship.
AHS’ junior/senior internships aim to help students answer the big questions about their futures. By giving upperclassmen the opportunity to work with a local professional in their field of interest, the internship program allows students to gain firsthand experience in the working world and explore whether a job is the right fit for them.
An internship takes the place of a regular school class; every other morning or afternoon students leave the building to go to their off campus workplace.
Internship coordinator Ruth Sisman has been working to market the program to a larger audience, trying to raise student awareness of the opportunities available and get the program “more out there.”
In the past, students have interned in a variety of fields, including medicine, dentistry, website design, creative writing, music management, agriculture, and education.
Senior Michael Chisholm decided to intern with physical therapist David Strickler so he could consider whether he wanted to practice therapy for a living.
“[Physical therapy] is something I’ve been interested in for about a year, and I kind of wanted to use this as a chance to test the water,” Chisholm said.
Typically, Chisholm helps to “warm up [patients], generally in the gym, and then we lead them through some stretches, just to work whatever [is injured],” he said. “Then the therapist sends the patient on to a PT [physical therapist] extender, who takes them through more rigorous exercises to help rehabilitate them.”
Keller also interns in the medical field, working in pediatrics. “Ever since I was little, I’d always known that I wanted to do something with kids, and this year I decided that I wanted to try doing something new and exciting,” she said. “I want to be a doctor, and [did] an internship to make sure that that was the right field for me to choose.” Keller interns with Dr. Rob Michel.
Working closely with a professional introduces students to the daily routine that comes with a career. “I first go in and make rounds with the nurses, which is fun because usually the kids are really nervous about going to the doctor, and the nurses calm them down,” Keller said. “We take their blood pressure, temperature, height and weight. Then I go in with Dr. Michel…and we go around and we check on kids and try to help them with their problems.”
Senior Samantha Muhler’s internship also involves working closely with children, as she trains with Agnor Hurt Elementary kindergarten teacher Patricia Murray. Muhler works in the classroom’s literacy center, which teaches the kids “skills that they need later on in life, such as cutting, identifying shapes, [and] learning how to write letters.”
This hands-on practice exposes interns to the realities of working in a particular field. “I witnessed my first tantrum…but [then] I saw that little girl come up and give [the teacher] a hug,” Muhler said. “It shows that kids are kids, and you just need somebody really good to be there for them, and I hope to be that person someday.”
Murray has found her student interns to be “invaluable” in the classroom, as they “help the children learn so much more because they are getting so much more individualized attention.”
She added that she is “amazed [by] their work ethic, their commitment…[and] their joy that they come with and bring into the classroom.”
Student interns share in the excitement of working on something that they are truly passionate about. “I’ve loved it, it’s been the best two days of my life,” Keller said, referring to her first two days at Dr. Michel’s office.
Internships not only provide students with potentially life-changing experiences, but also with school credit. “I have to have a blog,” Keller said. “…and Dr. Michel actually assigns me homework. He wants me to look up vaccines and stuff like that, and different diseases, and then when I go in he’ll have a question of the day for me.”
To reflect on their experiences, students blog and create portfolios, showcasing what they’ve learned. The interns conclude the year with a reflective essay.
Throughout the years, students have said that their internships are “the best part of their day,” according to Sisman. “They learned how to be be professional,” she said. Additionally, internships can potentially help students earn scholarships or find jobs related to their career of choice.
For more information about potentially adding an internship to your schedule next year, contact Ms. Sisman with questions.