Interns share experiences

EEE+students+showcased+what+they+learned+in+internships+this+year+on+April+2+through+live+presentations+and+a+short+book%2C+Investigations.+Art+by+Nomin+Erdene-Jagdagdorj

EEE students showcased what they learned in internships this year on April 2 through live presentations and a short book, “Investigations.” Art by Nomin Erdene-Jagdagdorj

Afsah Khan

EEE students showcased what they learned in internships this year on April 2 through live presentations and a short book, "Investigations." Art by Nomin Erdene-Jagdagdorj
EEE students showcased what they learned in internships this year on April 2 through live presentations and a short book, “Investigations.” Art by Nomin Erdene-Jagdagdorj

Approximately 40 students from RBHS and HHS will participate in the Extended Educational Experiences (EEE) Research Showcase at the Board Office April 2, displaying months of effort and research. Jake Giessman, coordinator for the EEE program at RBHS, said students will display their research through various means, but most will put up posters explaining what they learned from their internship over the year.

“RBHS and HHS have a number of students who have done significant research or other internship work outside of school in the last year,” Giessman said.”This is a chance for them to share their experiences with the community. Most will show large-format posters. A few will give presentations. Some have also contributed to a journal we will release that day.”

Kathryn Weaver, who teaches the EEE Advanced Seminar and Investigations class, said the showcase will give students a chance to communicate their findings with the audience and share their experiences out in the field.

“It’ll be primarily a poster showcase, and so we’ll have posters everywhere, and we’ll go around [to see them]. Ideally, an audience member would try and get to all of them. That might not be possible, and so you’ll be drawn to ones that you either have more background knowledge on or just more general interest,” Weaver said. “And you can spend as long as you want with the presenters, and you can ask any questions that you want.  We’ll also have a few TED [Technology, Entertainment and Design] talks, so the audience will stop and everyone will be able to listen to those.”

Junior Sammy See is one of the students who will present her experiences at the showcase. See is participating for the first time this year, though she was in the class last year. Her project, based on her passion for marine biology, helped her experience what a job in the field could be like.

“I worked in a lab at Mizzou for a couple months, and we went on trips doing field work, and we collected samples of fish, and we looked at them and certain bones in their head under a microscope in the lab. So my project just talks about how I did research on studying the ages of fish that we collected in the lab,” See said.”I want to go into marine biology, but that’s kind of hard to do in Missouri, and so I opened it up to fisheries and wildlife with the Fisheries and Wildlife Department at Mizzou, and so my project is just about how I got SCUBA certified and how I found my mentor that I have right now and [it] has like a few pictures of us doing the fieldwork and working under the microscopes and stuff like that.”

Although See’s project dealt with a subject she is interested in, she still admitted that the internship was a lot of hard work. She put in much time and effort to meet all the deadlines and requirements for the challenging class.

“[It is] definitely [a lot of work]. We have to do 90 hours for an entire year, which is actually a lot of work. I’ll probably have 5 or 6 full days that I’ll have to work this semester to get all my hours in,” See said.”And then creating the projects. We have to write a paper, which is informal, so it’s not that bad, but then the poster itself takes a lot of work because you want it to be really good, like a scientific poster.”

Along with these requirements, See said mentors have to periodically email their teacher, Weaver, about the student’s progress and give positive feedback. Weaver, in turn, occasionally checks on students to see them working in the field and fully participating.

Weaver acknowledges that her class requires much effort and challenges students, but she also said the class gives back by allowing students to participate in activities they are interested in and will ultimately help them in their career.
“Most of the student presenters are taking the EEE internship class, so they did an independent internship in their field of interest, [such as] biology, chemistry, politics, architecture,” Weaver said. “A lot of our kids did the bulk of their work over the summer and then we attended a couple of workshops, one on how to do a poster presentation and then one [where] we went to a research showcase at MU, to give students an idea. And then I’ve been editing drafts with students.”
Despite the hard work, See is excited to present her efforts at the showcase. She hopes the audience will find her research as interesting as she does.
“I’m looking forward to it, definitely, [be]cause … I think my project is the coolest thing ever, and I hope other people do,” See said. “So I think it’ll be cool to share it with them.”
Although only RBHS and HHS students will take part in the event, the audience will consist of many professors and other people from the community. Giessman said he is looking forward to seeing the final products of the students’ research and hopes the community will appreciate them as well.
“I don’t think that most Columbians realize the level of real-world work some of [the students] are doing,” Giessman said. “I look forward to … seeing just what [they] are capable of.”
Although Weaver said presenting the research might be a daunting task for some of the students, she believes the end product of several months of hard work is the most rewarding feeling the students will get at  the showcase. In the end, the work these students have done will ultimately help them in the future, one way or another.
“I love it. I would encourage all students to pursue projects that they’re passionate about. I think internships are a great way to do that, and I love that this year, we’re adding a more formal presentation component,” Weaver said. ” I think as you move forward to your post-secondary and your college goals, that you’re going to have to be able to communicate your work and be able to present, be able to articulate your research, and this is a really great place to start doing that.”

By Afsah Khan