Partnering for success

Students in CHS magnet program spend the summer interning at various businesses

While many of their peers spent a carefree summer before the start of senior year, several Camas High School students were getting a taste of the “real world.”

The students, from the CHS math, science and technology magnet program, worked at internships ranging from studying on-site wind energy production, to unraveling the mysteries of Parkinson’s Disease to helping design a new Camas elementary school.

The internship program was coordinated by teacher Ron Wright.

He made contacts with several area businesses and helped students find the best fit.

The students took it from there, and worked with the individual businesses all summer.

Students included Parisa Footohi, Brent Johnson, Ryan Gompertz, Nicholas Lim, Olivia Janson, Stephanie Guo, Joanna Guo, Athena Cole, Michael Dyra, Kevin Li, Amy Siebenthaler, Kathleen Guy, Christina Gee, Justin Lebowsky, Evan Klein, Jacob Freedman, Sara Slayton, Alexa Rakoski. Zachary Anderson, Chris Emmet, Adrienne Engel, Carolyn Foster, Drew Gourlie, Chris Grote, Danika Jones and Melissa Williams.

“It is a life changing experience for many of the students, learning what the real world is like,” Wright said. “As one student said to me in early July, ‘We are all going to be different people by the end of summer.'”

Participating businesses included Wafer Tech, DOWA, Sacredflight, Underwriters Laboratories, Oregon Health and Science University, HP, Clark County, the city of Camas, CID Bio-Science, Washougal Sport & Spine, Camas/Washougal Animal Hospital, Kaiser Permanente and others.

Below, in their own words, some students describe their experiences.

Their answers have been edited for clarity and length:

Name: Zachary Anderson

Age: 17

Where did you do your internship? Describe the work: I interned at WaferTech in Camas. Based on the confidentiality it is difficult to explain, but we worked with two teams of engineers, dealing with yield enhancement and product design.

What do you feel was the greatest benefit of doing an internship? Being able to experience the real working life and what it is like to work with professionals.

It was eye opening and a great life experience.

What are your college plans? Attend a four-year university and major in engineering. My top choices are now

Cal-Poly, Seattle University and Oregon State University.

Name: Chris Emmet

Age: 17

Where did you do your internship? Describe the work: CID Bio-Science, Inc., in Camas.

The work I’ve done has ranged from scientific experiments to assembling products.

What do you feel was the greatest benefit of doing an internship? Getting workplace experience and getting used to an office atmosphere.

What are your college plans? Looking at several engineering and state schools on the West Coast.

Name: Adrienne Engel

Age: 17

Where did you do your internship? Describe the work: DOWA in Portland. I worked with the team that is currently designing and planning the new east elementary school in Camas. I made an AutoCAD model on the computer, printed it out and plotted it. I also made a 3-D model to scale. I took those to the meetings with the school district administration.

What do you feel was the greatest benefit of doing an internship? Sitting in on meetings with administrators. It gave me a better feel for how long the process is. The outcome comes down to minute details.

What are your college plans? Study an architecture program at the University of Oregon or University of Notre Dame.

Name: Carolyn Foster

Age: 17

Where did you do your internship? Describe the work: CID Bio-Science, Inc. I mainly tested instruments to ensure they work correctly. We also worked in the production department assembling the instruments.

What do you feel was the greatest benefit of doing an internship? Getting some workplace experience and learning about careers in the environmental science field.

What are your college plans? Study environmental science or civil/environmental engineering at the Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University.

Name: Drew Gourlie

Age: 17

Where did you do your internship? Describe the work: Wafertech. I worked with two teams of engineers to create a new classification system that helped connect the two teams through use of a common language.

What do you feel was the greatest benefit of doing an internship? I realized I want to have a career in engineering. It was also a great experience because it gave me a preview of what life is really like after school.

What are your college plans? Attend a 4-year college, either Washington State University or the University of Arizona.

Name: Chris Grote

Age: 17

Where did you do your internship? Describe the work: Portland State University physics department. I worked with a graduate student who is building a new kind of microscope. I calibrated several other machines to see if his gets as good as images as mine.

What do you feel was the greatest benefit of doing an internship? Getting hands on experience and the opportunity to use all these machines.

What are your college plans? Attend Stanford or Cornell and major in chemistry or nano technology.

Name: Danika Jones

Age: 17

Where did you do your internship? Describe the work: I interned at the Camas Community Center and created a formula that predicts the number of people that will show up to the events that Camas Parks and Recreation puts on. I also organized the Camas Days Kids Parade.

What do you feel was the greatest benefit of doing an internship? I got to connect with the community and see what Camas is all about. I also got to work with new programs and software.

What are your college plans? Attend the University of Washington or Gonzaga University and study sociology.

Name: Melissa Williams

Age: 17

Where did you do your internship? Describe the work: Washougal Sport & Spine. I shadowed the physical therapists who worked there, and helped out cleaning rooms, doing supervised therapy with the machines and leading patients through exercises.

What do you feel was the greatest benefit of doing an internship? I absolutely loved my internship and learned that I want to go into physical therapy as a career when I grow up. I also got to work with amazing people who work for Washougal Sport & Spine, as well as meet new people every day.

What are your college plans? Attend the University of San Diego, Eastern Washington University or Idaho State University and study physical therapy.

I’ll most likely go to college a total of seven years, including three years of graduate school.

Name: Nicholas Lim

Age: 17

Where did you do your internship? Describe the work: Oregon Health & Science University.

Olivia Janson and I conducted a study to determine the impact that social activity and an enriched environment has on the recovery rate of lab mice induced with Parkinson’s Disease. We are hoping to write and publish a paper about our study by the end of the year.

What do you feel was the greatest benefit of doing an internship? Being exposed to the incredible research environment at OHSU. Their facilities are top-notch and we have been able to work with some of the most brilliant scientists around.

What are your college plans? Since I was little, I have always dreamed of going to Stanford University.

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