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Real-world learning for San Antonio ISD students

virtual internship picA number of students from across San Antonio ISD took their learning to new levels as they took part in various internship opportunities this summer. From cybersecurity to medicine to marketing, students got a taste of what it is like working in a career field that interests them.


Sophomores Nicolas Alonzo, Rebecca Espinoza, Josiah James and Deanna King from the Sam Houston High Cyber P-TECH program participated in the Cybersecurity Texas Virtual Externship. There, the students engaged in hands-on projects that gave them a comprehensive understanding of the cutting-edge cybersecurity industry.


“The SAISD students who participated in this externship were simply awesome!” said Olen Anderson, Experience America development director. “They have been so engaged and are helping be leaders in their subgroups among their peers. Their TA's have said such great things about them.”


Experience America collaborated with Education Service Center, Region 20, to develop the Cybersecurity Texas Virtual Externship. During the week-long experience, the Cyber P-TECH students became members of an “Elite Cybersecurity Task Force” charged with investigating major cybercrimes.


Participants were tasked with protecting the nation’s infrastructure: communication, transportation, financial institutions and energy supply systems. Each student team was led by an industry professional team leader and was fully immersed in a hands-on interactive learning environment.


“The challenges were a fun and it was an engaging team experience,” said sophomore Nicolas Alonzo. “What we learned ranged from bypassing a Windows lock screen password to exploring the real-life actions of a cyber security specialist through a virtual game. Overall, it was a fun and engaging experience filled with knowledgeable and charismatic guest speakers prepared to answer any questions we had.”


While the Cyber P-TECH students were saving the world from hackers, CAST MED High School sophomores Destiny Valadez, Rodrigo Lerma, and Letza Martinez were interning at The San Antonio Vascular and Endovascular (SAVE) Clinic. This opportunity allowed the students to further explore CAST Med’s three pathways: biomedical research, public health, and medical professions.


Dr. Lisa Ochoa, vascular surgeon at the SAVE Clinic and industry partner with CAST Med, said that the CAST MED student interns received a well-rounded experience.


“I try to make sure they get the experience of what it is like to be part of the entire organization,” said Dr. Ochoa. “Whether it’s the front desk, medical assistant work, shadowing our ultrasound tech, or shadowing me in my clinic and watching the procedures that I do, I want to make sure they get a full, well-rounded experience of what it is like to be in a vascular surgery clinic.”


Student Destiny Valadez said she definitely has learned new things through the internship. “Because Dr. Ochoa specializes in vascular surgery, we got to learn about the arteries and the veins and see how she can save a limb that would have otherwise been amputated. It’s very cool,” said Valadez. “We were able to be in the room when she was clearing out a patient’s veins.”


Additionally, SA Works matched several SAISD high school students with internships based at companies and worksites in the San Antonio area. Mirinda R. Coleman, high school gifted and talented education implementation specialist, encouraged SAISD gifted and talented students to apply to summer internships through SA Works, an industry-led strategic workforce development organization. SAISD class of 2020 graduate Stacy Carrizales was matched with a five-week-long internship with the International Coach Confederation (ICF).


“What I love the most is that I am not treated like an intern; I was treated like an essential part of the ICF marketing team,” said Carrizales. “That was what really set this internship apart from any of my previous internships. The day-to-day tasks and the sense of urgency my team kept gave me that real-world work energy. I didn’t expect the internship to be as interactive as it was. I often forgot that I was alone in my room and in front of a screen.”


Due to COVID-19, this summer’s SA Works internships were different than past years as employers provided virtual internships, with student working from their homes. To learn more about student internships through SA Works, click here.


The Texas Education Agency (TEA) recently approved a course created by San Antonio ISD that will allow Career and Technical Education students across the state to receive credit for summer internships. Read more here.

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