Upper School students have the opportunity to pursue their passions July for one to three weeks through internships with alumni.
The SJS Alumni Board, directed by Paul Davy (’82), along with the assistance of Alumni Communications Director Courtney Burger and Associate Alumni Communications Director Lorin Leatherwood, plans on extending summer internships to around 25 current freshmen, sophomores and juniors.
The Alumni Internship program was implemented last year to provide students with contacts in fields of their choice, as well as real-world, on-the-job experience. Last year, 12 students were assigned internships.
Junior April Chang interned at Salient Partners, an asset management and wealth advisory firm, for three weeks.
“My project was confirming third party service providers for each of the company’s funds. It was grueling and sometimes repetitive because it involved sending over one hundred emails per day, but I got to learn what it was like working in an office environment, and it turned out I really liked it,” Chang said. “I was surprised that I actually got to do important work because I expected to just make copies or coffee.”
At the Alumni Internship meeting held on Jan. 16, students received forms with internship choices ranging from journalism to restaurant business to veterinary medicine.
“The student interest this year was very high,” Leatherwood said. “We have already received more than fifty surveys.”
“Students found it to be a very meaningful program, and alums always like to know what’s going on in school,” Burger said.
Based on the students’ interests, the Alumni Board will contact SJS alumni around Houston. It hopes to assign the internships by March.
Top choices include the medical, engineering and finance/business/investments fields.
“Students tend to set expectations a bit high,” Burger said. “It’s only a two week long program, isn’t always an in-depth experience, and may not always be hands-on.”
According to Burger and Leatherwood, one of the purposes of the program is to provide students with contacts that could be especially useful during college, when students might need a more structured summer internship.
Leatherwood added, “The important thing is to flame a student’s interest in a particular field. If you get on-the-job experience, that’s a great bonus.”
“These kinds of working experiences help you narrow down what you want and don’t want in your profession,” Chang said. “I’m planning on actually working at Salient Partners this summer! I know I definitely want to pursue something related to finance.”