As the Intern Learns: Episode One

Posted by PeggyLee Wright - 26 June, 2018

stratolaunch3During June and July, 25 Upper School students and members of the Class of 2018 found internships all over Huntsville in a wide variety of field placements through the Randolph Connect program. Director of Strategic Relations PeggyLee Wright is making site visits and following their progress through a series of posts titled "As the Intern Learns," via Instagram 

Here are some highlights:

davidcasimesVisiting  Merrimack Hall Performing Arts Center today, I was inspired to see so many people volunteering their time and talent to make the Merrimack summer camps successful. It was also very special to see so many Randolph students volunteering, including two of our interns. David C. was busy helping the singers belt out some of their favorite Moana songs.

David played the Scarecrow in Randolph's all-school performance of The Wizard of Oz. It is so wonderful that he has the opportunity to share his talent with the amazing youth and adults at Merrimack. In addition, David assembled a slideshow of special moments that make Merrimack Hall so special. 

Eleanor is dancing through her summer internship. Eleanor is also responsible for creating a social media campaign for the week-long summer camps at Merrimack. We are so thankful to Lauren Chenoweth and her staff for mentoring them.

An Army Veteran with severe PTSD has fallen on some hard times, including legal trouble. He has spent the past eight months working hard to turn his life around as part of the Veteran's Court program, but Friday's court appearance proved emotional for him. This very quiet, very private veteran cried as he expressed his internal and external struggles to do better. It was an emotional moment for the entire courtroom, and I was moved by the care and respect that Judge Ruth Ann Hall and her colleagues showed to this veteran. I was so proud that our Upper School students Nathan, Brigitte, and Jackson were there to witness the human side of the judicial system.

The work being done for our community's veterans through this Veteran's Court program is literally life-changing. The lawyers and mentors who are committed to the success of these veterans do such magnificent work, but they can always use more help.Veteran's Court takes place on Fridays at 1 pm at the Courthouse. It will only take one visit to witness this program in action, and you will want to find a way to help. Servant Leadership is a beautiful thing! Thank you to Leadership Class 31 - Leadership Huntsville/Madison County for connecting me with this amazing woman. Ruth Ann is a true servant leader, loves this community, and is committed to our youth. 

IMG_6832Tristan Hunnewell ‘18 is learning the ropes at General Dynamics Information Technology, experiencing each department within this international company and gaining some amazing professional insight from lifelong servant leaders like Kevin Hoey. During my visit today, I was so impressed with the commitment of the GDIT team towards ensuring that Tristan’s internship was meaningful. Not only is he receiving a fantastic hands-on education through this experience, Tristan is meeting engineers who are able to provide him with great life lessons and advice.  He will visit UAH's SMAP to observe a virtual reality project. In the fall, Tristan will attend Tennessee Technological University.

IMG_6834Jaya is interning with Marshall Schreeder '96 of Conversant Bio at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. Today she showed us the very hands-on work that she has been assisting with: ensuring proper identification by tagging and logging research samples. Upper School Head Ryan Liese received a tutorial from Jaya about the retrieval of white blood cells from the center’s patients! We were both incredibly proud of Jaya and grateful to the folks at Conversant Bio for the responsibility and trust they are putting in Jaya to make this such a great learning experience.

My site visit with Ji Soo and her mentor, Jeff  Thornburg of Stratolaunch was spectacular, not just because we were talking about rockets, space, propulsion, and a ton of other cool stuff, but because Ji Soo and Jeff were both very excited about the internship program and the engineering exposure that Ji Soo was getting through Stratolaunch. Jeff and his team have been sharing their professional passions and the Stratolaunch mission with Ji Soo. Keep your ear to the ground concerning Stratolaunch. Big things are coming our way.



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Meanwhile, Mary is interning with Dr. Jack Gleason, radiation oncologist at Clearview Cancer Institute. "I have really enjoyed my time with Dr. Gleason and all the staff at the facility," says Mary. "They have really helped me to understand more about cancer and the many different and effective kinds of treatment available for those battling this disease. I have learned that radiation therapy, depending on the type of cancer that the patient has, can extend a life for years. I have learned that cancer is not a death sentence. It just takes the support of family, friends, and a strong team of doctors to help you fight it." 

Mack4I am so often blown away by the drive that our students have at Randolph. Mackenzie has been pursuing a career in veterinary medicine for years already. Since the age of 13, and probably even younger, Mack has sought opportunities to learn about vet med. She already has certifications in Animal Psychology, Veterinary Support Assistant, and Pet First Aid & CPR. Currently, Mack is interning at Pennington Animal Hospital.

"I went through the certifications in order to learn more about the profession. I figured that even if college and my chosen career are years away, I can still use the courses as a way to learn more about interacting with animals, as well as caring for them. By interning with Drs. Harry '83 and Wendelyn Pennington, I'm taking a step into my future and learning what my dream job truly calls for from me. I am preparing myself for what is to come. Through this internship, I have been inspired to work even harder to achieve my career of choice in the veterinary medicine field."

Dr. Harry Pennington '83 has mentored countless students over the years during our Interim Job Shadowing. The Penningtons are also regulars on the Randolph campus, as they have a current Middle School student.

IMG_6799Adam is also getting a behind-the-scenes vantage point of veterinary medicine through his internship at McCurdy Animal Hospital with Dr. Blaine O'Reilly '92From observing in the OR to holding precious paws during shots to socializing Sweet Pea the pig, Adam is enjoying his time at MAH. I was so proud to visit with him yesterday and see him so goal-oriented. Dr. O'Reilly has been a mentor to Randolph students for many years, exposing them to the profession and providing guidance for their next steps toward college. We are so appreciative for all MAH does for our community.

Katherine is loving her time with mentor extraordinaire, Dr. Smitha Persaud '94. “Within a couple days of the internship, I went from viewing medicine as a distant possibility to strongly considering medical school. I have highly enjoyed getting to know my mentor and receiving her insight in the field of neurology.” During my visit with Katherine and Dr. Persaud, I was amazed at the level of knowledge that Katherine had already obtained during exam room consultations with patients. She was rattling off medical terminology like a champ. Dr. Persaud is also mentoring a second student, Maddie.

zoe2I had the privilege of visiting with Dawn White Pumpelly, who edits the forthcoming Huntsville edition of The Scout Guideand her Randolph Intern, Zoe Pitsinos '18. The guide highlights the premier independent businesses in Huntsville and surrounding areas, and the first edition will be available this September. Zoe is taking part in the production of this fabulous publication, and we couldn't be more proud. Thank you, Dawn, for the amazing opportunity you are providing, and for all you do for Randolph and the Huntsville community. Be on the look out for The Scout Guide this September 2018. This mentor/mentee combo is a force. Dawn says, "Zoe is such a capable and talented young woman. I have been so thrilled to see her tackle projects and really own her role with The Scout Guide. We are already discussing future projects. I want to keep her!"

And Zoe says,  "When I first met Dawn I was immediately impressed with how amazing she was, and I was shocked at how quickly I got to know her and her passions for her business. I feel so lucky to be working with Dawn. I have already learned so much, and I cannot wait to work on more creative projects with her and The Scout Guide Huntsville." Zoe will attend Lipscomb University in the fall.

In his first week of interning with Dr. John Panico, John observed a sinus repair, tonsillectomy, nasal skin graft, shoulder debridement, removal of a shoulder mass, bunion repair, fasciectomy of hand, gallbladder removal, removal of neck mass, debridement of ankle tendon, and a pediatric lazy eye repair.  John H. says,  "I was able to work with Dr. Panico, his colleague Dr. McCarthy, and a nurse anesthetist. I learned about the various types of anesthesia and their functions. In addition, I got to witness several scoped procedures (endoscopy/colonoscopy). I really think that my goals are attainable as I am learning a lot about the OR, anesthesia, and the impact of medical work on a doctor's life (hours, being on call, etc)." John will also intern with ENT Dr. Shane Davis.

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Sam is spending the month of June at CFI Custom Military Solutions. This is the second summer in a row that CFI’s Business Developer, Pam Gardner, has lent her subject matter expertise to our internship program. On Day One, Sam managed to work his way into the Blackhawk Helicopter simulator project, and yes, I am waiting for an invitation to test it!  A huge thank you to Pam and all of the fantastic professionals at CFI. You are shaping the future for the next generation, and we are so appreciative.


Follow my Instagram for the next installments of As the Intern Learns and join us when all is revealed as  they make presentations about their experiences on June 29 at 9 AM in the Upper School Lecture Hall. Anyone who is interested in learning more about summer internships through Randolph Connect (as mentors or interns) for next year is invited to attend.Then keep following the progress of our interns, and Join us for the next season (July), when we visit Dani at Downtown Huntsville Inc., Walker at Fantasy PlayhouseSophia at HudsonAlpha, Suma with retinal surgeon Dr. Tarek Persaud,  Brooke at the AUM Foundation, and Parker Wilkerson '18 at a physical therapy internship.

The Admissions Office is open all summer. Call them at 256-799-6103 or click the green button below to schedule a visit and learn more about how our students are able to connect their learning to their life experiences.


Topics: career development, Huntsville, mentors, Randolph Connect, summer learning, internship

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