Spence Students Reflect on their Spence Internship Program Experiences

At this year’s first Parents’ Association meeting, a packed room of Spence parents got a firsthand glimpse into the Spence Internship Program from the perspective of seniors Indira T. and Julie L. Spence dads Mark Kirsch and Chris Friedman provided an overview of the program, which plays an important role in helping Upper School students apply their classroom learning to real-world contexts. They highlighted parent involvement, which helps Spence students gain hands-on experience each summer across a range of industries, from law, media and government to medicine, education and business. Kirsch and Friedman, who work along with Spence mom Tracey Strauss, encouraged parents to be in touch with suggestions and further opportunities before introducing the student speakers. The following are excerpts from Indira and Julie’s remarks at the PA meeting:
 
Indira T. Describes Her Internship with Spence Alum Caroline Grant at Dekar Design
 
“Over the course of my month at Dekar, I was involved in everything from design inception to completion for both commercial and residential projects. I sourced fabrics, furniture, lighting and created client presentations as well as visited job sites to oversee final deliveries and installations. 
 
I was most surprised by the variation and spontaneity that each day brought…. I came to learn that a big part of the job is how well you can think on your feet and accommodate the interests of all parties involved. 
 
Spence’s emphasis on collaboration when working through problems fostered the necessary skills in me to be successful in many situations I encountered over the summer. On a delivery, I was able to understand the deliverymen’s argument in Spanish about whether or not they would be able to install an item and as a result was able to work with them to fit both the client’s needs and their company’s rules. 
 
I am very grateful for the responsibilities that Dekar gave me which allowed my work over the summer to have a true impact on their projects. Through this internship, my childhood hobby of making 3D renderings was transformed into real-world experience in the design industry. Thank you to Caroline, Dekar Design, and the Spence Internship Program, for making this experience so memorable.”
 
Julie L. Describes Her Internship Experience at Mt. Sinai
 
“I spent half of the program in the primary care offices, shadowing Dr. Beuria and her colleagues as they saw patients, and also learning how blood is drawn, how the EKG procedure works and how to measure blood pressure. I spent the other half of the program in surgery…. I shadowed an anesthesiologist who helped me fulfill a lifelong dream by letting me spend multiple days watching cardiac surgery. I then observed the general surgery department, where I watched everything from hernia repairs to kidney transplants, attended Morbidity and Mortality conferences and weekly team meetings, and engaged with medical students and residents. 
 
Over the course of my month at Mt. Sinai, I learned how…to make it known that I was there and ready and eager to learn and help out by engaging in discussions, coming prepared with my own research, and eventually, by ‘aiding’ in the surgeries: picking up the surgeon’s phone calls, unwrapping surgical foam, moving monitors, and tying surgical robes…. This is a skill that has helped me outside of the operating room, enabling me to assert myself politely and make the most out of every opportunity.
 
I am so grateful to the doctors who have organized this program and to the Spence Internship Program. As a young woman interested in pursuing medicine, I am thankful for the fact that the program has provided me with exposure and role models. If I do enter medicine, I hope to offer similar mentorship opportunities for young women in the future, but as of now, I am working towards achieving parity for women and girls in STEM as an advocate for an international group of girls in science. Thank you to Dr. Beuria, Dr. Divino and their colleagues and to Spence and its internship program for inspiring me!” 
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