Jessica Grasso skipped class last Wednesday, and every Wednesday since the middle of March. Grasso is a senior at St. Mary Academy Bay View, and along with her fellow classmates, she has spent Wednesdays in the work force instead of in the classroom. Kent Hospital took on five girls from Bay View this year to see what it is really like to work in the hospital environment. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Seniors this year were able to intern at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, WJAR NBC 10 and the U.S. Naval War College, due to the alumni who had paved the path in previous years.
Since 1973, Bay View seniors have interned at local businesses to get a taste of what the world of work is like.
Every year, the soon-to-be graduates, with the help of Barbara Bachand, the School-to-Career coordinator, have found internships that coincide with their interests. The seniors make initial contact, have to interview with their mentors, and set up times in which they will be working. All of this must be done before the internship starts in the middle of March.
This program, which is required for graduation, lasts nine weeks and has proved to be very helpful to students.
Grasso, who rotates in-house, said, “It is an eye-opening experience of what it’s like to be in the hospital.” Grasso has been in many different areas in the hospital in the past few weeks, and has decided she likes the diagnostic imaging center the best. Before her internship, Grasso was considering a career in sports medicine and her time at the hospital has only helped to solidify her decision.
This program has made lasting impressions and infinite connections in the Rhode Island community. Sue Baker, in charge of public relations for Mayor Scott Avedisian, is a Bay View graduate. Baker participated in the School-to-Career program interning at the Warwick Beacon. Baker, always the fan of English, knew that she wanted a job that was something new every day.
“Journalism gives you the chance to learn a little bit about a lot of things,” said Baker. She stayed in journalism for a while, but when Lincoln Chafee suggested she work with him while he was the mayor of Warwick, she took the chance. Her job now still lets her do something different every day, and her internship at the Beacon helped her to figure out what she really wanted most out of a career.
This program has proven to be a vital tool for students who thought they wanted to go to college and major in one area, but after obtaining real life experience decide that it is not the right fit for them. Not only does the program allow students to explore interests, but it can also help to obtain summer jobs in the place in which the student is interning, or even a job a few years later after college.
The class of 2011 at Bay View had 135 members. Of those girls, three worked as volunteers all summer, 15 received internships for the summer, and 10 acquired jobs either at their placement or an area related to their internship. In addition, students of the class of 2011 were promised internships after their first year of college. Other students, as a result of the program, received internships in college related to their intended field with the help of references to their high school placements.
Yasmeen Luna, who is working in the IT department at Kent, is looking forward to majoring in computer science when she attends Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the fall. She spends her Wednesdays preparing the computers for the hospital systems. Luna said, “It isn’t exactly what I want to be doing, but it’s close and I like it.”
One Warwick resident, Madeline Lusi, is spending her internship working at Westbay Children’s Center. Although she is not certain about what she wants to do later in life, she knows she wants to work with children. One week, Lusi helped the leaders at Westbay Children’s Center bring in inchworms for the children to learn about.
“It’s just a lot of fun to play with the kids while they learn and play with the toys,” said Lusi.
The internship program ends today with a brunch for the seniors and their mentors. The School-to-Career program has been a favorite privilege of seniors for almost 40 years, and with graduation right around the corner, the internships are a wonderful way to ease the girls into the real world.
Editor’s note: A senior at Bay View, Margaret Trosin who wrote this story is doing her internship at the Warwick Beacon.