On the morning of Nov. 17, students in the upper school spent time hearing about the experiences of nearly 70 Nueva student interns who took part in 35 unique internships and partnerships during summer 2021. The internship opportunities were as varied, complex, and impactful as the interests of our students.
The Nueva Internship Program, headed by Director of Internships Katie Saylor, connects Nueva upper school students with organizations for one- to eight-week summer engagements and span fields including technology, research, politics, medicine, publishing, fine arts, and more. The internships presented at the event accounted for about half of the total internships served during the summer of 2021. Over the course of the spring semester, Katie helps our upper school students find internships from employers throughout the Bay Area and sometimes well beyond—this summer there were 152 internships with 65 different employers.
“One of the main goals of my role is to make introductions between employers and students and then help to empower the student to own the relationship,” Katie said.
On the morning of the 17th, students rotated from room to room listening to the experiences of their classmates and asking questions about the program. Across all of the conversations and presentations, the past interns touched on themes of resilience, the need to be persistent and take initiative, and seeking out collaboration and feedback.
The internship program is designed for Nueva students to succeed and gain meaningful, real-world experience and, for employers, to benefit from the ideas, talents, and work ethic of our students. Employers review the upper school course catalog and choose which classes should be prerequisites for their positions. Many companies and organizations have a mentor model in place to support interns who may find themselves working with advanced content and in need of a channel for asking questions and receiving feedback.
Throughout the morning of the event, past interns shared wisdom and advice to classmates who hope to seek out internships for the summer of 2022. A few insights students shared included:
- “Be ready to do anything and flex to the needs of the organization.”
- “Get used to working with unfamiliar terminology.”
- “I learned about the importance of building models and having something you and clients can touch and interact with.”
- “Your employer will have a clear sense of the goals they have for you but you might have a lot of freedom to find ways to meet that goal.”
“You have to be proactive and ask for resources and projects to work on,” said senior Anya P., who interned at the UCSF Cardiac Biomechanics Lab. “You have to be persistent as well. It might take more than one email or conversation to reach your goals.”
The most common questions students had for presenters focused on the time and scale of their commitment during a summer internship.
For summer 2022, Katie, a group of parent volunteers, and Nueva faculty are hard at work in support of the students’ success. Over the next few months, there will be a series of workshops aimed at developing students' cover letter and resume writing skills in advance of the application process.
Katie anticipates the demand for next summer to be even greater than summer 2021. In the coming weeks and months, Katie and parent volunteers are hoping to find new opportunities for our students.
“We need positions and introductions to employers; the demand and interest level from our students well outpaces our current supply of positions,” Katie said. “We are specifically looking for positions in the sciences and research (in and out of the lab), and are open to paid and unpaid positions.”
If you have ideas, suggestions, or possible connections for internships locally, nationally, or globally, please reach out to Katie Saylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.