March 6, 2020
Have you ever thought about working at your dream job starting in high school? Some students start their junior or senior year in the Intern/Mentor class. Here, students conduct their own research while interning in a field of their choice.
“I feel like it was the best choice for me for my senior year because it’s a good amount of work, but it’s not crazy overloading,” said senior Hannah Matrangola who interns at a veterinary office, adding, “it’s super rewarding.”
Students enrolled in the class choose a topic to research, typically, but not always, a similar topic to the one they chose in Independent Research, the prerequisite to Intern/Mentor. They find an internship that often relates to this research–current students’ internships include those in medicine, engineering, local government, and non-profits. Students are required to attend their internship for at least four hours a week.
Senior Isha Santhosh, who is studying architectural design, interned this year with architect Bruno Reich. “Often I go to client meetings with my mentor at different sites that he’s studying as projects at other times at the office. I get practice at drafting floor plans. I organize his drawings. I read about architecture history that he provides me with, and I also just observe his work, what kind of modeling he does, that kind of thing,” said Santhosh. Each intern does various tasks relating to their research at their internship, from independent work to being a second set of hands to their mentor.
“I’m mostly there to spectate and listen and learn, but I’m also a second or third pair of hands because oftentimes they’ll have the vet techs that are holding onto an animal, but they need all hands on deck in order to keep this animal on the table,” said Matrangola. She also assists with preparing vaccinations or being a distraction for the animal being worked on.
“This summer I was like, okay, time for college, I gotta pick something. I think the one thing that I’ve enjoyed most is just creativity. And engineering. So instead of going straight to engineering, I chose the more creative side, which I found in architecture,” said Santhosh. For many students, Intern/Mentor is a stepping stone to their dream college major or career.
If Intern/Mentor does not work, many students also turn to Work Release. Work Release is for students to leave school 1-3 class period early to go to their jobs. Most students attend part-time jobs but some, like senior Brittany Johnson, attend a job that helps her work towards her dream career.
“I work at Columbia Horse Center…I’m a stable worker. So I’ll give water to the horses, I’ll feed the horses, I’ll tack the horses, I’ll groom the horses, sometimes we’ll teach kids how to ride,” said Johnson. Her job at Columbia Horse Center is what sparked her interest in horses and vet care after attending a summer camp there when she was younger. In college, Johnson wants to major in Animal Science and her job gives her exposure to what it is like to take care of horses full time.
In addition to her paid job, Johnson also has an internship. “The internship is at the Animal Medical Hospital at Glenwood… They do small and large animal [care], they do farm animal [care] as well. But at the office they have small animals and then we use farm calls to go for large animals,” said Johnson. Her vet internship allows for her to progress through her 400 hours of animal science work for her future college major. Santhosh also has to fill a similar requirement for her major which she is doing at her internship as well. Johnson loves being able to help animals feel better, from cats and dogs to full-sized horses.
Throughout their experiences, the girls have all learned what it is like to work professionally in their dream careers and have gained a large sense of responsibility. If you are interested in this track, consider enrolling in Independent Research, Intern/Mentor, or Work Release.