For many students, internships provide extra lessons

May 10 2024

For many students, internships provide extra lessons

“There is no substitute really for learning about the world of work and being in the world of work. You can do that through internships. You can do it through summer job experiences or even from volunteer jobs in your local community. Strive early to get some kind of practical work experience.”
-Alexis Herman

Junior Cody at this year’s Stonecatcher Fair. He has interned at two companies while in high school.

During the Stonecatcher Fair in the gym a couple of weeks ago, juniors in Dr. Lawrence’s AP English Language class applied their academic skills to address important real world problems such as adolescent vaping, fentanyl addiction, and homelessness, and produced impressive work.

It’s one of many ways that Keystone students learn and grow beyond the school walls, including volunteering and internships. For example, it’s a pleasure to run into 10th grader Inaayat or 9th grader Taj at the Landa Library where they volunteer. Other students learn important skills from paid and unpaid internships. To find out more, I asked some current and former students about their experiences.

For Erica Stocker, Class of 2020, who will graduate this month from Tulane University and head to Atlanta to work in finance, her high school internship with HEB proved invaluable. The company allowed interns to explore any career in the company that piqued their interest. “My manager brought me to every meeting she had and introduced me to professionals with fascinating careers working at both H-E-B and firms throughout the city,” she said. “One of the global procurement employees that I met in the H-E-B test kitchen studied international business at Tulane, and I ended up following in his footsteps. I also benefited from early exposure to platforms like Microsoft Excel and Slack.”

Current juniors Cody, Aarav, and Rashmi shared stories about their internships. Cody has been an intern at two different companies and spoke highly about both of them. Last summer, he worked at USAA as a paid software engineering intern where he created algorithms that pulled tweets and Facebook posts to gauge the emotion around the posts. In the process, this measured customer satisfaction trends.

Since November, Cody has worked at SAMSAT near the Boeing tech court in Port SA. This informal internship asks him to create from the ground up a cybersecurity game for museum visitors to play that teaches them about technology and potential cyberthreats to infrastructure.

“As a high schooler, you don’t get jobs at these types of companies. You get real work experience,” Cody said. “It’s a perfect way to dip your feet in a field to see if you like it. It gave me good experience and showed me what I can improve on in my computer science. It also allowed me to see how software developers work and make an educated decision on a major in college.”

Fellow junior Aarav is performing research at UT Health/Science Center in the department of mitochondrial medicine. Through computational and actual experimentation, he is studying the length of proteins between magnesium ion signaling and endoplasmic reticulum. Aarav explained that this is important to learn about the way that stress can lead to the death of cells, an organism, or a mechanism. Understanding these links may get us a step closer to ending neurodegenerative diseases.

Aarav was grateful for the relaxed and trusting pace of the internship, the emphasis on getting the research done over punching a clock, and gaining connections with a lab here in San Antonio. “It’s a preview of what I will be doing, and it helps me expand my horizons,” he said.

Rashmi described working in the very prestigious Voelcker Biomedical Research Academy at UTHealth San Antonio. After being selected in the summer after sophomore year, she was matched with a research mentor and chose to study inflammatory breast cancer.

“The preparation is really important and lab experience is invaluable,” Rashmi said. In addition, Voelker financially supports further research, travel, and students presenting their findings. These young scientists “have the resources they all need, and the program looks after scholars and ways to support them.”

Her desire to go into biophysics, and possibly medicine has made this internship all the more beneficial by giving her experience she couldn’t have received any other way. It combines “research with medicine.”

These internships can be life-changing for students, but why would businesses offer them? I asked Keystone parent Nicki Marrone, Principal at Alamo Architects, whose firm hired Carlie Kane ‘23 as an intern during her junior year. (Carlie also interned at Overland Partners).

“Hosting students in our office allows us to introduce them to the practice of architecture within a real work environment,” Nicki explained. “This provides exposure to what they might expect once they embark upon their own career, better preparing them for what may come. In addition, it is an opportunity for us to inspire them to see their world in a different way, evaluate the space they inhabit and their own ability to impact the built environment.”

To Nicki and all the companies who offer these experiences to Keystone students – thank you!

For the past few years, Director of Development and Alumni Relations Adriana Villafranca has reached out to non-profit organizations, for profit companies, and government offices to develop partnerships that would provide students with internships and volunteer opportunities. At Keystone, we want students to learn academic excellence in the classroom and apply their newfound knowledge to the worlds of work and careers. If you would like to discuss potential partnerships with your organization or know of internship possibilities for our outstanding young people, please contact Adriana at avillafranca@keystoneschool.org.

Go Cobras!

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