Civitas seniors gain workforce experience over summer

 While summer is always a time for rest and relaxation, for the seniors of the Civitas program, it was a time for work as well.

With oversight from Linda Reed, the Civitas coordinator, all senior Civitas students spent at least 75 hours over summer interning for various nonprofits, businesses, and government officials.  As school starts and their internships come to an end, the class of 2014 is beginning this year with a taste of the professional job atmosphere.

Senior Sydney Beyer reflected on her experience interning for the California Parks and Recreation Society.

“I learned a lot of things that you need to know for the real world — stuff school doesn’t teach you even though it’s day-to-day for jobs.”

Daily activities varied from student to student. From preserving national parks to providing care for the uninsured, each student’s internship experience was unique.

“I had many roles,” said senior Benjamin Harouni, who interned at the office of assemblyman Richard Pan. “I took on the responsibilities of receiving and organizing contacts, advertising community events, and taking notes at several meetings.”

Not only did the students learn how to perform in a business environment, but they worked in professional fields that were important to them.

“A lot of plastic bags get dumped into the ocean, and sea turtles, thinking they are jellyfish, eat them, choke, and die,” said Gabrielle Driller.

During her internship, Driller helped Environment California fight to protect animals like the sea turtle by banning certain kinds of plastic bags which are hazardous to wildlife.

Driller was also given the opportunity to act on her care for the environment by getting businesses to sign petitions to expand the Yosemite Protection Area.

On another end of the spectrum, Stuart Samoville worked with the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District where he gained lasting connections and learned how to better manage his time.

All the internships required a significant commitment of time and effort, but collectively, they seemed to prove enjoyable for the students.

“I would recommend an internship,” said Beyer, “as it teaches kids how to act in the real world.”

Driller also recommended internships, saying, “It makes you feel grown up and introduces you to the business sector.”

After school is complete, all students will have to jump head first into the professional world.  As Civitas seniors can atest, interning is a great way to gain experience and become more prepared for life after lockers.