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Senior Internships Revisited

How did Interning Go for AJA Seniors?

The goal of this year’s Senior Internship Program was simple. In the words of the Senior Internship Student Packet that outlined the program for students, it was, essentially, that “Seniors will learn about a career path of interest to them by working with professionals.” From April 17 to May 15, AJA high school seniors interned at organizations of their choice instead of attending classes, in order to gain that intended workplace experience. This article aims to look back on what spending their final weeks of school interning was like for three of AJA’s most recent graduates.

Senior Eli Cohen, who interned with his brother-in-law at the company A & P Designers, reflected on his internship, saying: “I really liked my situation.” As part of his internship, he did data organization of some of the company’s billing. Not only was this job really flexible–allowing Eli to work “on [his] own timetable” and on his own computer, freeing him up to still attend “a school event or any STUCO responsibilities” while still getting work done–but it also, in his words, “taught me how to apply a lot of my math skills in real life.” In particular, he applied math skills such as “finding area of best fit or finding most feasible options.”

Moreover, he appreciated that doing data organization gave him experience with a type of common job that he had not known a lot about. “It gave me an opportunity to consider something that I don’t normally consider, so it could open up opportunities in the future,” he said.

Senior Ayla Cohen interned in a space a little more familiar to her than Eli did. She interned with Ms. Miller in the AJA lower and middle school, where she worked as a teacher’s assistant for a second grade learning support class and worked one-on-one with a fifth grade student.

Ayla particularly enjoyed her internship because she loves working with kids. “I have tutored kids before, but I learned a new part of something that I really love,” she said.

She also appreciated that her internship provided a low pressure environment for the end of her time in high school. “Everyone understood that it was the end of senior year, so it wasn’t super pressured or anything,” she said. Despite the low pressure, she still feels that she “learned a lot.”

Fellow senior Adam Berkowitz interned with the Jewish Interest Free Loan Association (JIFLA) of Georgia, which provides interest free loans to Jews who need them. Specifically, he helped them build their Mitzvah Program, to receive donations from Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. He had worked at JIFLA over the summer last year, but he appreciated the opportunity to do more work there.

Adam feels like his internship gave him an insight into how the non-profit system works. “It’s very different from a work environment, which I’ve been able to see in other experiences,” he said. It also made him appreciate “the amount of time that the volunteers will put into something even if it seems like a simple booth or whatever.”

On their internships, Adam, Ayla, and Eli all discovered new interests and skills in new environments. Eli got the opportunity to apply the skills he learned in school to the real world. Ayla, who knew she liked working with kids, got to do more of the work she loved in a new way. Adam worked for a cause that he cares about. The experiences of these seniors are just a sampling of experiences from a larger program. In the end, every senior opted into the senior internship program, and they all have a different story to tell. 

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