Changing the World One Student at a Time: Katie’s Internship
Rising Milton Hershey School senior, Katie, is passionate about law and education policy. To gain experience in these fields and refine her post-graduation goals, Katie interned at a local school and the Pennsylvania Department of Education this summer.
Take a look at what she learned during her experience—and how she wants to use her knowledge to help others.
Q: What was your internship experience like?
A: My internship was divided into two parts. For the first two weeks, I was part of the reading programs at Melrose School in Harrisburg. In the afternoons, I spent my time at the Boys and Girls Club. During the last two weeks, I interned at the Pennsylvania Department of Education helping with the Pennsylvania Training & Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN).
My experiences at Melrose School, the Boys and Girls Club, and the PA Department of Education gave me exposure to both the policy side of education and actually educating children. My internship showed me new ways to teach and instruct children that I would have never considered on my own.
Q: What made you decide to participate in the internship program?
A: I decided to complete an internship this summer so I could learn and challenge myself. Last summer, I was a counselor for our Year-Round Experiences program. In that program I was able to work with children every day but, this year, I wanted an experience with students outside of Milton Hershey School. I also wanted to explore education policy and learn how it can be enhanced and reformed to benefit as many students as possible.
Q: What type of skills are you gaining?
A: During my mornings at Melrose School, I worked with special needs children who were my age and taught them basic math and writing skills.
Even though I was the one teaching, I learned the most from them. They have taught me to always be patient, kind, and compassionate.
They may struggle with academics but they’re just like any other kid—they love hanging out with friends, playing basketball, and getting on the computer. Along with learning how to teach children with special needs, I learned the skills of patience, empathy, and open-mindedness.
Q: Did you have to overcome any challenges?
A: My biggest challenge was having to gain a new perspective. When I started with the special needs children, I thought there was no way I would be able to teach them. The first day was hard for me— I lacked the patience and confidence to give the kids in my class what they deserved.
On the second day, I watched how the other teacher’s aids assisted the children and I went for it. Within the first few days of arriving, I pushed myself to actually work with the kids. I helped them trace letters and do math problems. By the end of my two weeks, I knew their names, their strengths and weaknesses, and how I could best offer support.
Q: How did MHS prepare you for the internship?
A: MHS has allowed me to interact with a diverse population, which came in handy since the students I worked with were from all different backgrounds. MHS also has equipped me with the skills to think critically, solve problems, and always think of what I can do for others.
Q: What are your goals after graduation?
A: After graduation, I plan to attend a four-year college and law school. I also would like to spend some time advocating for education in underdeveloped nations. I want to augment the education systems that already exist to ensure all children are in an environment where they’re ready and able to learn.
My internship has given me new perspective on the U.S. education system. I have developed my professional and interpersonal skills, and learned to challenge myself in whatever I do.