By Max Otake
At d.tech, the emphasis on giving students real world experience is huge. Reaching outside the classroom, helping in our local community, and learning from local businesses are a few examples of how we do this. Although most students get this experience during intersession and design lab, a handful are getting this real world experience through student internships. And it’s paying off.
Since the beginning of this school year, I have been interning at LightGrid Studios in San Carlos. I was introduced to the studio by photography teacher, Quincy Stamper, and next thing you know, I was welcome there any time. I go every week, never knowing what I am getting myself into. For example, one day, a CEO is delivering a live webcast to his entire company, and the next, an up-and-coming local rapper is filming a music video. Overall, I highly value all the experience I’m getting at LightGrid. Not only am I learning a lot of valuable things about photography by being around professionals and running my own photo shoots, but I’m also getting exposed to the business side of the art.
Katie Toye, who interns at DES Architecture and Engineering, got a two week internship there through d.tech. However, once the two weeks were up, Toye was able to arrange an extension with her mentors, focusing specifically on her strong interest in interior design.
Nic Garland, who interns at multiple theaters, was merely encouraged by a d.tech teacher freshmen year to intern at Hillbarn Theatre. Junior, Jadene Auerbach, was approached by Mr. Bolt when he was trying to created the Oracle internship program, and now is an intern at the Oracle Education Foundation.
As I further talked with these students, I was able to learn more about their internship experience. As Toye explained, “I’ve gotten to work with professionals and get hands-on experience with materials. I work with a lot of the pieces, and consulting color and wall pieces. I love being able to see small swatches of a room coming together – Being able to influence a room with simple pieces and its structure.” Auerbach described her favorite part of the internship at Oracle Education Foundation as “being able to explain to the students the material I wasn’t able to understand when I first took the classes.”
Has our prior exposure to the real world at d.tech provided an advantage during internships? Toye said that d.tech and the real world are similar! “There is lots of room for collaboration, as well as independent work,” said Toye. For Auerbach, “d.tech has introduced and taught me to adapt to different environments, both physically and socially. Because of this, I feel better prepared when entering a foreign environment like business environments.” Toye added: “I definitely think speaking to more adults at d.tech allowed me to be more comfortable when collaborating at DES.” Garland put it simply, “D.tech has made me more resilient to being shut down. I wouldn’t have gotten this internship if I didn’t keep pushing.”
Students applied their design thinking skills to their internships, too. Garland said: “When I first started interning, I taught everyone some design thinking to help redesign their costume and prop shop. We all worked together to come up with potential designs to make the space more efficient.”
Are you now inspired by your peers? Are you ready to apply your education at d.tech to a business in the real world? If so, you may be in luck! Mr. Bolt is in the process of developing a school internship program, making opportunities like mine and the three students I interviewed, a possibility for more students. In the meantime, see if any of your teachers have a connection for you, or reach out to a business yourself. Taking initiative can get you far at school – and in the real world.