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Businesses find energy, value in interns

Animas High School LINK program looking for mentors
Araaa Aquarian, right, made a promotional video for the Durango Adaptive Sports Association during her LINK internship as a junior last year at Animas High School. She talks about her project with Ted Rifkin, left, on Wednesday evening at the Powerhouse Science Center. In back are LINK program coordinator Zoë Nelsen, left, and AHS senior Ranier Ford. Araaa is the daughter of Edit Aquarian and Gregory Hopkins, and Ranier is the daughter of Tracy and John Ford.

Whether you work in health care, manufacturing, communications, a law firm or real estate, getting involved in Animas High School’s three-week internship for juniors can add value to your organization.

That’s what participants in Leading Internships for New Knowledge told attendees at a reception Wednesday night at the Powerhouse Science Center.

“It’s absolutely worth putting the time in, for the benefit of the company and the contribution to the community and the kids,” said Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Chief Information Officer Key Jobson, who has worked with AHS interns for the past couple of years. “The first intern helped with the Windows 7 deployment throughout the company.”

Last year, the chocolate factory had bought several more yogurt brands to bring under its Aspen Leaf Yogurt umbrella, and the intern helped Jobson analyze the new acquisitions’ historical sales data.

“I was really pleased with his technical ability, and he was a real pro at Powerpoint,” Jobson said. “Plus, he was really intuitive in looking at the data and figuring out what to do next.”

Don Ricedorff, from Wells Group Real Estate Brokerage was not only a fan of the intern who improved his group’s presence on online real-estate companies’ websites, he was happy with how the school manages the internship program.

“They didn’t just drop the student in,” he said. “There were conversations and planning beforehand, and monitoring and on-site visits during the internship making sure it was working.”

There’s no question the internships make a difference for the students, giving them real-world experience and helping them explore careers.

“My daughter has thought for sure she wanted to be an aerospace engineer for a long time,” Sue Lawton said about her daughter Sarah. “She interned with a firm where she was integral in the development of a shuttle the company was trying to sell to NASA. I sent away a little girl, and got back a young woman.”

In addition to learning about aerospace engineering, Sarah learned basic workplace skills such as how to dress, arriving on time and staying until the work was done.

“She called me and said, ‘Mom, they even work through lunch,’” Lawton said. “She learned one more thing – she learned she doesn’t want to be an aerospace engineer.”

Eight-one juniors are planning their internships this school year, said Zoë Nelsen, coordinator of the program. Several are planning to go afar, but about 50 will be contacting companies where they’re interested in working shortly.

The internships are scheduled for March 2 through March 20, 2015.

“It doesn’t matter what size your company is,” said Nancy Brockman, owner of Chimera Communications Inc. “Even at a small company, it’s great to have that young energy. It doesn’t take a ton of time, just some creativity.”


To learn more

Visit www.animashighschool.com to learn more about Animas High School.

Visit http://ahslink.weebly.com to learn more about AHS’ Leading Internships for New Knowledge; or contact LINK program coordinator Zoë Nelsen at zoe.nelsen@animashighschool.com or 247-2474, ext. 2336.

Apr 1, 2014
Leaving school to make the world their classroom

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