By: William De Bruce
The smell of opportunity in the air. The pond of koi has received a unique addition, yet you know not of what I write. Three years in the making, internships at d.tech have appeared in our hands. Thanks to the efforts of founding teacher Rob Bolt and new teacher Rachel Siegman, students can enjoy field experience at a variety of organizations and companies. As learning objectives for d.tech interns, the internship coordinators set six “pillars” that d.tech interns should gain: future direction, adaptability, professionalism, experiential learning, networking/connections, and significance. The Dragon interviewed the seniors who are living this new opportunity and the staff member who helped connect them.
Lucas Wieser interns at Mixbit. “It’s a graphic design company in San Mateo,” Wieser expands, “I’m currently redesigning the website…we have to redo the homepage and use Sketch [a design toolkit] for web development”. This is the type of experiential learning that Siegman has incorporated into internships. The Dragon fiercely looked into Wieser’s eyes asking, “Do you get paid?”, and Wieser, calmly replied with jazz in his voice, “We don’t get paid, but [we] gain [all] these valuable skills.” Paid internships through our school would not allow students to be given educational credit. Wieser says he definitely has “a little bit more experience than others” when going to college as he learns “how to do skills like professionals”. So we can definitely see that Wieser is involved in some serious, macho professionalism.
Mills-Peninsula Hospital also allows d.tech students to take part in their daily operations. Candace Tsai interns there and is in charge of volunteer services. She is responsible for logging in hours for volunteers, interacting with them, and interviewing them for her work. Prospective volunteers must take a 90-day training course to help the hospital. This project, according to Tsai, involves making survey questions that evaluate volunteers’ training experience. Tsai isn’t directly interested in the medical field, but she has adapted to her responsibilities for her true underlying passion: psychology.
Joseph Nguyen puts in hard work at the Mills-Peninsula Hospital. He focuses on hand hygiene, which is part of the patient experience. Due to the incoming flu season, Nguyen enforces strict hand washing while under the hospital’s roof. “[It’s] one hundred percent design thinking” when it comes to improving hand hygiene, he explains. He adds, “[The hospital] is a very logical place and they rely entirely on data and that’s kinda useful for hand hygiene.” Nguyen is insightfully taking advantage of the opportunity to build connections and employment networking, saying, “There’s a lot of people to interact with [at the hospital] and that means letter of recs and just you know connections.” Nguyen also informs The Dragon that an internship at Mills-Peninsula Hospital requires an online application and a competitive interview.
Gaby Harrold interns at Able Works, a nonprofit directed in providing financial education to individuals that lack the ability to rise above their circumstances. It’s “all design thinking projects” at Able Works, Harrold says. “Logistical work” and “redesigning to help their everyday work” is what she mostly works on. Harrold is learning how an office is run and “make[s] small things work consistently”, but has no interest in logistics. Despite this, she is interested in how a nonprofit works and how they teach financial education.
Siegman wants to “spread Design Thinking to the world, corporations, and to companies,” and also believes in “practical, real world experience” for students to undergo responsibilities and professionalism.” Everyone should try. It’s the best, man.