EEE Internship showcase presents variety of students’ work


Rochita Ghosh

re[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]During the lunch periods on Friday, April 28, students gathered in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center to display and discuss the past year to administrators, teachers and fellow classmates.
EEE internships varied from interior design to architecture, with more than 50 students’ work for the past academic year shown to incoming visitors through physical posters and presentations and in a compendium compiled by mentor Gwen Struchtemeyer and senior Dzung Nguyen.
“The purpose of the internship showcase is to, honestly, advertise and market the program because kids won’t sign up for something they don’t know about,” Struchtemeyer said. “It’s also to celebrate all the students who took the time to participate in an internship and to grow in that way.”
Junior Rebecca Simmons certainly feels like she’s grown during the past year while exploring her interest of teaching through her internship at Le Petite École.
“Le Petite École is a French-immersion school that helps kids learn French,” Simmons said. “It can also help people of all ages, but I was helping with the kids who were learning French and making sure they stayed safe.”
During her time at Le Petite École, Simmons worked directly with the young students, aiding them with crafting quilts, watching over them and substituting when teachers were not present. While she originally struggled keeping up with the children conversationally, Simmons’ experience helped her knowledge of French develop as well as teaching her how to multitask effectively and work with others.
“I like kids, and I like teaching, and I was planning on doing teaching later in life and I really thought this would be a good thing since I’m already taking French and I wanted to get more experienced with the teaching area.”
On the flipside, senior Maryam Bledsoe focused her internship on the English Language Learners (ELL) students at RBHS, tutoring ELL classes alongside instructor Lilia Ben Ayed and meeting with her mentor, Dr. Flore Zéphir, at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
“One of the studies that I researched for my paper that I turned into my internship adviser, was about cultural acclimation and how feeling isolated from the native speakers could actually hurt one’s emotional health and therefore their academics,” Bledsoe said. “A lot of students that I dealt with reported feeling isolated from the rest of the school.”
While her initial reason for undertaking the internship was because she was interested in linguistics, recent refugee migrations and media coverage that focused on the mental health of these refugees brought Bledsoe to think about the ELL students in RBHS and how they were handling the sudden change in their surroundings.
“This is not just a problem for their academics, but in feeling like a part of the school but also for their progressing beyond high school because they often don’t take part in extracurriculars, they don’t feel confident enough of their English to do that, and so they’re left with little that makes them a competitive college applicant later,” Bledsoe said. “There are many students that succeed in ELL, but there are a lot of struggles that they face as well and so basically my research was to shed light on that.”
Bledsoe also echoed Simmons’ positive response toward the internship experience.
“It was an amazing amazing experience. I learned that I want probably to do education because like there’s something down that route, especially on the international scale, maybe teach somewhere else, and I also learned that I really love working with people, something that I hadn’t really thought of myself before,” Bledsoe said. “I learned a lot of wonderful things about the immigrant and refugee community here in Columbia and how resilient they are. This was a really really amazing thing and I am really thankful for the opportunity.”
Struchtemeyer praised the students’ hard work in their internships, emphasizing not only the effort required for each internship but also the beneficial skills and knowledge gained through participating in the program.
“The EEE internship program, it’s not just about the credit, it’s about the experience, it’s about obtaining a professional reference for life,” Struchtemeyer said. “It’s about finding out whether you like to do something or not before you spend all the money to take the classes to do that thing. For some students, it’s finding out whether you can be a surgeon or not [or] exploring different areas [of a subject.]”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_gallery type=”flexslider_slide” interval=”10″ images=”293868,293867,293866,293865,293864,293862,293861,293860,293859,293869″ title=”Look through images of the showcase here!”][/vc_column][/vc_row]