What can internships do for WCHS students?


Photo courtesy of Patricia Letourneau

WCHS Internship Coordinator Patricia Letourneau, is in charge of helping students find, arrange, and apply to internships. She can be found through email, and in room 254 at lunch.

By Olga Engler, Photo Manager

Internships. Everyone can agree that internships are extremely beneficial. They can help make someone stand out, gain incredible work experience and hopefully get a little money on the side. However, few people at WCHS know how to seek out an internship, even though there are so many resources at their fingertips.

“The unfortunate reality is that if you want an internship, you have to hunt it down yourself. I find that a very difficult thing if you do not have the connections,” WCHS junior Emma Triaureau said. “And WCHS does not provide a lot of help with that.”

Internships are not only hard to get, but they are also hard to find. Sometimes the best way to get internships is through networking and having connections with other people. For example, some of the best ways to get an internship could be through family, friends or peers.

“I found out about [my internship] through a family friend. I work at a patent law firm, and I find it very helpful to get all this experience,” WCHS senior Jayden Lim said. “I was taking a chance, even though I am more interested in English than law. Now I have a paid internship.”

While there is not anything wrong with using family ties to get internships, it is not as easy for people who do not have any connections or want to expand their range of opportunities. In high school, especially with the more limited opportunities due to age restrictions for many jobs, it can be more important for students to just have the experience rather than restrict themselves just to something they are most interested in.

“I get a mix of students who come to me: those who have everything planned out and those who have no ideas what to do or what field to get into,” WCHS internship coordinator Patricia Leterneau said. “The most important part is to do your research and come to me at the beginning phases. I can help you figure out your resume, transportation, your references, and anything else.”

There are a lot of opportunities for students to apply for internships. So why does Triareau not know the school resources? Why can she not find internships through the school? And what can she, and students just like her, do now?

“COVID-19 set everything back, and now we are on the rebound. The FDA, NIH, and several other companies usually have opportunities for students, but over the past couple years they have decreased,” Leterneau said. “It is my job to get things back on track, working with other internship coordinators.”

Leterneau has a Google classroom that shares internship information. The code to join is “ebk5xg7.” There are internship interest meetings in January and February every year and information is put on the morning announcements. In addition, there are programs like Summer RISE that work as summer internship programs and there is a senior class called “Career Seminar” precisely for figuring this out. Furthermore, the school is doing even more to provide help for students.

“We are developing a platform called X2VOL that brings internship coordinators together,” Leterneau said. “It will go through Naviance and will put all the internship information we have in one place for easy convenience.”

Anyone looking for an internship now has these tools at their disposal. Talk to the school internship coordinator, check out the FDA, NIH and State Attorney websites, visit the X2VOL platform or go to the Google classroom. While internships can be incredibly beneficial, participating in them require good time management skills and the ability to handle multiple priorities. There is a fine balance between high school and interning.

“It is a good experience, but if it is not working out, or if it affects your school life negatively, leave it be. Especially if you cannot balance it, prioritize school and yourself.” Lim said.