Summer internships extend learning opportunities

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FELICE LIANG

On June 20, 2014, students will turn in the last of their finals and the majority of juniors will walk out of school, done with biology. Junior Felice Liang, however, aspires to continue learning biology for six weeks at the Broad Summer Scholars Program in Cambridge, Mass.

“I’m hoping that science continues to be part of my life, and I like science,” Liang said. “I think it’s interesting, and that’s what I’m looking forward to in college and maybe as a career.”

Liang said she was introduced to the program by her biology teacher. The program will be dedicated to researching DNA and how it affects life.

Liang said the internship would a beneficial experience and rare opportunity.

“I think it would give me good insight into what the work world is like,” Liang said. “Especially since for research, it’s hard to get funding. It’s hard to find a good project. I think it’s a good opportunity to look into the future.”

Due to the competitive nature of the program, Liang says the application was rather lengthy and detailed, taking her a few days to complete.

“It is a pretty good internship, so I think it’s worth it,” Liang said. “They’re looking for people who are highly trained and experienced. They want people who kind of have an idea of what they do.”

NORA REDGRAVE

Sophomore Nora Redgrave will spend two and a half weeks traveling this summer. But she won’t be on vacation: She will be working on a Native American reservation.

“We work with little kids there, we plan activities for them and hang out with them because their parents are working,” Redgrave said. She and 11 other girls from her camp were accepted to a summer internship allowing them to take care of Native American children in South Dakota whose parents are busy with work during the day.

“What we’re doing is providing a safe space for them to go, where they have people to take care of them,” Redgrave said, “because in that situation what you’d want more than someone trained to help you is someone trying to care about you.”

Redgrave applied for this internship last November. She remembers it being especially competitive, with a 50 percent acceptance rate. One either had to have been an experienced camper or showcase exceptional leadership capabilities to get accepted. However, Redgrave believes there are ways to work around this.

“I think that if you don’t get in,” Redgrave said, “there are other ways of working through the camp to do something like this.”

COUNSELOR’S VIEW

Out of about 200 kids, guidance counselor Nicole Bent estimates only 10 or 15 will apply for summer internships, making summer internships not a popular option among students. However, that does not mean Bent believes the experience is not valuable.

According to Bent, internships definitely help with getting a job in the future.

“It essentially is a job,” Bent said.

Students usually apply around February or March, Bent said. She said that most students research opportunities that they are interested in online and then submit applications. There is sometimes an interview component and a meeting with people with whom they will intern.

She said a summer internship can be a life changing experience.

“I had a student who applied to an internship at the Franklin Park Zoo. He’s particularly interested in monkeys, apes, and specifically Ring Tailed Lemurs,” Bent said. “He volunteered at the zoo, got a formal internship there and went on to study it in college.”

Why is the amount of students that apply to internships so low? Bent said she believes this is because internships appeal to a certain demographic of students who are driven and have a good idea about their future.

“High school is so much about figuring about what you like and what you don’t like, that it’s rare that someone is so passionate and ends up doing that in their real life, beyond high school and beyond college,” Bent said. “But there are those kids who do it and sometimes an internship is a great way to get your foot in the door.”

Jennifer Sun and Sasha Saias can be contacted at bhs.sagamore@gmail.com.

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