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Twenty-two seniors presented their experiences as summer interns during the annual Internship Showcase, which took place on Wednesday, October 4. Upper school students, faculty, and parents attended three different senior-led sessions and asked questions following the presentations. The event gives internship participants a chance to share their experiences and inspires other students to think about what opportunities they might seek.

More than 30 seniors pursued internships across various fields — from high tech to medicine, law to the arts, community service to global initiatives, finance to science and research, from San Mateo to Taipei. For many, it was their first taste of what the professional world is like.

The seniors worked closely with Nueva to obtain their internships. Each senior crafted a Statement of Purpose that demonstrated their understanding of the organization’s mission, their vision and plan for how they might contribute to the organization, and relevant personal qualifications and experience.

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Nueva’s Internship Program, in its second year, began with the goal of providing students with a chance to learn on multiple levels — for students to see that their passions can expand past their original boundaries; to understand the flow, periodicity, and challenges of working; to engage in workplace creativity and add to the organization’s goals; and to practice their soft skills of collaboration, teamwork, leadership, and timeliness.

Director of Internships Hillary Freeman said, “In a nutshell, we want students to use all that they’ve learned inside Nueva in an authentic work environment. What a perfect test of their education!”

Hillary, along with the Internship Task Force — a committee of parents and Nueva administrators — worked to identify internship opportunities and match students for skill and interest to different companies.

Expressing her appreciation for the Internship Task Force, Hillary said, “They worked really hard to get all students opportunities in the workforce — interesting opportunities. We’re looking for opportunities where students can make authentic changes, and they did a fantastic job getting so many internships.”

Over 50 organizations, offering different levels of involvement, participated in the Internship Program. The program experienced tremendous growth in its second year, scaling to accommodate more students and organizations. The showcase, where seniors wrapped up their internships, was also modified from quick elevator pitches to presentations with greater depth.

“Most organizations really want to hire graduate students as interns. Our partner organizations have trusted that we will provide them with students of that same caliber,” Hillary said. “And every single one of our students has lived up to that promise.”

“The seniors did a fabulous job at their internships,” Hillary said to the assembled upper school community. “I’ve gotten letters from their employers extolling the benefits of employing a Nueva student. Employers talked about the fact that Nueva interns know how to collaborate, know how to work on a team, know when to take the lead and when to follow, and how to come up with creative ideas. Nueva students have the depth of knowledge and the intrinsic motivation.”

Aiden H. interned at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. At the scientific institution and public museum in Golden Gate Park, he was an intern on the Public Programs team, where he had the opportunity to gain experience as a docent. Aiden worked on various projects behind the scenes but also manned shifts at the popular tidepool and pterosaur exhibits. By the end of his program, he felt a great deal of confidence in his own communication skills, having interacted with more than 100 guests each shift, engaging visitors with facts on the tidepool creatures and pterosaurs, and answering questions about the exhibits.

“I learned how much I enjoy doing something like being a docent and interacting with so many people,” Aiden said. “I always thought such work would burn me out and my enthusiasm would diminish, but I never felt that way, and I feel much more confident in tackling similar jobs in the future. The experience reaffirmed my love for education and the natural sciences, and I can very clearly see myself continuing with another opportunity at Cal Academy or a similar institution.”

“I really appreciate Nueva connecting students to these amazing opportunities, and the employers going that extra mile to accommodate the interns,” Aiden said.

Across the hall from where Aiden was presenting, Vanessa C. talked about her experience interning for GetInsured, an app that helps Americans get health insurance.

“This internship was all about new experiences and being open to working outside your comfort zone to really immerse yourself in the work environment,” said Vanessa, who spent the first few days of her internship working through the entire flow and trying to “break” the system to find bugs. She would later spend time using automated testing software to probe the California insurance agents/brokers portal.

Several of the seniors praised the smooth, supportive process of finding their internship placement. Hillary credits this success to listening carefully to the students about their stated passions. The task force analyzed the seniors’ list of interests and engaged the Nueva parent population in searching for opportunities that would align with the students’ dreams.

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“What is terrific is that the parents always come through,” Hillary said. “What I want to say to them is thank you! The parents’ belief in Nueva students has afforded them these once-in-a-lifetime internship opportunities. We deeply appreciate their time, effort, and willingness to introduce us to such wonderful, diverse organizations. Their networks are helping mold future generations.”

Upper School Division Head Stephen Dunn said, “I was so incredibly impressed by the opportunities that our students had as part of their internships and the compelling presentations that they made on Wednesday highlighting their accomplishments and key learning. The diversity of experience was remarkable, and their engagement throughout the summer caught my attention.”

If parents are interested in getting involved with Nueva’s Internship Program, they should contact Hillary Freeman at hfreeman@nuevaschool.org or click here.

(Photo Credit: Sinead C., Grade 12)

 


 

October 13, 2017

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