MARSHALL - For approximately 10 years, Marshall High School students have had the opportunity to obtain college credits and valuable experience in connection with the Career Internship program.
On Wednesday, eight of those students displayed their final journals and career portfolios at an open house at MHS. They were also eager to share their experiences and knowledge with others who were in attendance.
"What I think is so great about the program is that it lets the kids get into the work environment of a career they're thinking of doing, so they can kind of try it out before they spend thousands of dollars on college," said Brenda Kellen, Career Internship coordinator and business teacher at MHS. "And they definitely make a decision by the end, whether that career is something they want to do or not."
Photos by Jenny Kirk
Business teacher/career adviser Brenda Kellen, at podium, introduced the eight students who completed internships in the community through the Career Internship program at Marshall High School. Participating students were, from left, Josie Nelson, Shelbie Thomsen, Taryn Rathman, Samantha Downing, Emily Lendt, Sydney Hey, Jenna Gannott and Tom Wyatt-Yerka.
Kellen explained that she had started a program similar to Career Internship at another school before coming to Marshall.
"That program wasn't worth college credit, though," she said. "Mr. (Brian) Jones was the one who had the vision of making it college credit, too. So he worked really hard to get it all set up and put together and I started to coordinate the program."
Jones and Kellen combined three programs ? Ag on the Job, Business on the Job and Mentor Connections ? to create the Career Internship program.
"It's such a huge opportunity for these students," Kellen said. "For that, we have to thank the administration and business sponsors."
Tom Wyatt-Yerka worked with Ben Martig at the City of Marshall office and did a final semester project on "PSEO and Workforce Development."
"What you see tonight is a finale for the semester," Kellen said. "They're required to do a bunch of research on a specific topic in their career field. So what you see at their tables is the research they've done and what their findings were in their research."
Kellen noted that there were certain standards that students had to meet in order to receive college credit.
"It's also a state approved program as well, so I have to make sure we're following all the guidelines for that," she said. "So to keep all the stakeholders happy, the students have to have 12 objectives set ? goals of what they want to achieve during their internship ? and they have to have spent a minimum number of hours doing their internship."
Kellen said the students also have to keep a journal while they are doing their internship and do some formal papers on their journaling.
"It's for a semester," Kellen said. "So we had a different group of students that presented at the end of the first semester. I would say that in the program, we run probably about 18 kids through the program each year. There's really a big variety of internships. I've had kids who have done everything from butchering to welding."
Kellen pointed out that the benefits of the internship opportunities have been great.
"I just think it's so valuable for them to know now what they want to do because college is so expensive," she said. "They've got the experience and they have a more definitive decision on whether they're going to pursue that career."
Samantha Downing spent her internship at the Marshall Independent, getting a first-hand experience in journalism.
"I really enjoyed it," Downing said. "I learned a lot, from communicating with people, conducting phone interviews, how to get ahold of someone you can't always find and how to take good pictures. I struggled early on taking good photos because I wasn't sure what was expected from me. I know now we look for good facial expressions and lots of color."
In her final project, Downing highlighted her experience in writing summer event previews.
"I showed how you first have to find the event schedule and then you have to get a contact number in order to conduct an interview, which is the hardest part," she said. "Luckily, a lot of people know someone who knows someone. You have to do a lot of work just to get a couple of quotes."
Downing said she developed confidence during the internship, which she truly values.
"I became more confident, and just being able to approach people has helped me," Downing said. "It helped me to make the decision to do PSEO at Southwest Minnesota State University this semester. Basically, it just helped me to be comfortable in my own skin."
While Downing enjoyed her experience, she has decided to steer her career pursuit in a different direction, though she knows she wants a job that allows her to communicate with people on a regular basis.
"I felt like I wasn't really putting to use my skills in math and science, which are two things I really excelled in all throughout high school," Downing said. "So I decided to look into pharmacy. I already had a job at Hy-Vee, so they transferred me into the pharmacy department. I've been a cashier there since about October and this summer, I'm going to get my pharmacy technician training done, so I'll be certified."
In the fall, Downing plans to attend South Dakota State University for her two pre-pharmacy years.
Three students spent their nursing internship with Avera Regional Medical Center. Emily Lendt was mentored by OB nurses - primarily Sonya Kayser - and did her final project on "Shoulder Dystocia," which occurs during delivery when a baby's shoulders are unexpectedly wider than the mother's pelvis.
"There are complications," Lendt said to a small group of visitors. "So it's really important to recognize when it's happening."
Lendt clearly knew a lot about the research she had done. She was surprised, though, by the amount of hands-on experiences she had received and how much time nurses had to spend charting.
"I didn't know I'd have as much hands-on as I did," she said. "The nurses were amazing. They helped me with everything."
Thanks to her internship experience, Lendt plans to continue pursing nursing.
"I'm going to the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, for nursing," Lendt said.
Jenna Gannott was mentored by Kayser and Meagan Hoflock and did her final project on "Strokes." Along with Jackie Fenger and another nurse, Kayser also mentored Taryn Rathman, who did her research on "Pneumothorax."
"It's a growing field with all the baby boomers getting older," Gannott said.
Shelbie Thomsen and Josie Nelson had internships with Big Stone Therapies. Thomsen was mentored by Jeremy VanKlompenburg and did her final project on "Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo." Nic Doeling and Ashley Holm mentored Nelson, who chose to do her project on "Femoroacetabular Impingement."
"The students make so many networking contacts in the community, too," Kellen said. "We've actually had many success stories of students who have gone off for their education and have come back to work in Marshall. After going somewhere else, they often realize that this is a great community and they know there are these opportunities here."
Sydney Hey worked with attorney Sara Runchey at Runchey, Louwagie and Wellman, PLLP. Hey researched "Steps of Child Custody" for her final project.
"The knowledge these students have and the experience they received is very impressive," Marshall School Board Chairman Jeff Chapman said. "It's important that the students are challenged and it's nice to see them so engaged. This is what I envision in the future."