By T.A. Hendrickson
For some high school seniors, summer internships before senior year have put college and career decisions in perspective:
Alin Briseño, a senior at Franklin High School in Highland Park, began the summer on a week-long scholarship to the Architecture/Construction/Engineering (ACE) camp at the University of Colorado in Denver, where students interested in ACE careers work with professors and graduate students to design a public-space project.
Then, Briseño attended a 10-day engineering program for girls at Cal State L.A. where she completed a project entitled “Bringing the Outside In,” on the use of renewable energy and green design to make a corporate office building a more livable environment.
In August, Briseño interned at Leo A. Daly, an architecture firm in L.A., learning to review floor plans and other skills. The internship taught her to be more organized, she says, especially with her time. In addition, conversations with professionals at Daly changed how she evaluates colleges. Rather than rely on overall rankings, she says she now looks at schools that excel in “what I want to study: architectural engineering.”
Isamary Topete, a senior at Renaissance Arts Academy in Glassell Park, says that two distinct summer work experiences opened up “possible paths for the future” that she continues to explore in her senior year. First, Topete interned as a photographer with the L.A. Contemporary Dance Company, documenting rehearsals and performances. The internship overlapped with her interests in dance and visual arts and has informed her work in the Renaissance Arts Media Program this school year.
Topete also participated over the summer in a Health Care Career Exploration Camp at Children’s Hospital L.A., where she shadowed doctors on their rounds, attended presentations on medical and health-care issues and interacted with patients. “It was the biggest reality check I’ve had in a while,” she said of the emotional challenge. At the same time, the experience deepened her interest in becoming a nurse or doctor, a possibility she has been discussing with doctors and other health professionals through the Health Science Mentorship Program at Renaissance Arts.
Topete has not settled on a career path, but says she feels confident she is gaining the tools and knowledge to choose well.
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