AUSTIN – Deanna Phillips and Valerie Rincon; 11th grade students in the Health Science program at Eastside Memorial Early College High School began their internship program during the fall semester as part of the new collaboration with City of Austin Public Health and the Career Technical Education (CTE) department of the Austin Independent School District (AISD). The goal of the new program is for high school students to gain broader perspectives about careers in public health as well as the traditional clinical occupations such as nurses, medical assistants and dental assistants. The overall aim of the internship is for these students to learn how the duties and responsibilities of public health workers impact the health of their community.
The year-long internship program began as a pilot program during the previous summer as five (5) students from Eastside Memorial were chosen to participate. During the summer; only students from Eastside Memorial participated, but following the successful program, the City of Austin Public Health offered the opportunity to other AISD students. During the school year, students from Eastside Memorial and Akins High School are participating in the internship program.
The internship program will occur on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:30 to 12:30 pm. Students have an opportunity to extend their hours of participation on alternate Fridays as well. The fall semester program consists of lessons in professionalism, team building and overviews of public health offices throughout the city. Students will have an opportunity to self select a placement site for spring semester. Spring semester placement will be a paid internship position.
These internship placements are a result of campuses and district administrators to provide 21st Century learning experiences for students enrolled in high schools and seeking careers in fields of healthcare. The internships coincide with both college and career exploration activities because of mentoring provided by public health staff to help students develop goals and plans beyond high school graduation.