Success Stories

Eshaan’s Two Startup Internships Got Him Innovating and Building Businesses

We met Eshaan when he was a sophomore at Newton South High School. Eshaan had many interests including science. We connected him To Hyungsoo Kim, a graduate of MIT Sloan School, who was developing a watch for the blind and was a semifinalist in the MIT 100k competition. Hyungsoo was happy to hear that high school students were interested in entrepreneurship.

A watch for the blind

Eshaan helped with research and general tasks and wrote a script for the company video. He wrote:

“Many times Hyungsoo, or one of his colleagues would give me an assignment and I would have to figure out what they wanted and deliver it to them. In essence, they gave me a lot of freedom, but at the same time I had lots of responsibility because they would be counting on me to meet their expectations. One of the best parts of my internship was meeting interesting individuals who are all extremely talented and genuine. This internship has been one of the most productive and memorable experiences.”

A Second Internship in San Francisco

Eshaan stayed in touch with his mentor and became passionate about startups. He came to us for a second internship the following summer. Because he had relatives he could stay with in the San Francisco area, we established an internship at Chewse, a startup company that provides office administrators a customized, simple way to get lunch catered for their businesses.

Eshaan was involved in Customer Acquisition and Growth

He gained in-depth exposure to the process of building a business. He said:

“I worked directly with the head of customer acquisition, who gave me interesting long-term projects. I tracked new leads, researched start-up companies, determined who to target and how to target through various media channels. I conducted analysis of both competitors and customer feedback. Often times my mentor would give me a project to complete and I would have to find a way to finish it by coming up with and using my own methods.”

By the end of Eshaan’s junior summer of high school, he had already gained exposure to two very different startup companies. He continues to stay in contact with his mentors and we are certain that he will build upon his high school internships throughout college.

21st Century Education: The Importance of STEM Internships

In the book 21st Century Skills- Learning for Life in our Times, author Charles Fadel explores three main categories of skills needed for students to excel in modern times:

  • Learning and Innovation
  • Digital Literacy
  • Life and Career Skills

As early as sophomore year in college, students are expected to choose a college major, but without workplace exposure, how is a student really able to make that determination?

In the interview with Cyndi Reitmeyer, the Boston TechMom, Cyndi and I discuss ways that students can gain exposure to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math through workplace experience.

A former Internship Connection Intern, now an Associate Producer at CBS News

I was thrilled to catch up with our former student Katharine to learn that she is now an Associate Producer to Bianna Golodryga at CBS News in NYC!

We placed her on her first internship as a student at Phillips Exeter.  Katharine graduated from Middlebury, began at CBS in NY as a News Associate and became the Executive Assistant to the President of CBS News before her current position.

She recently wrote, “Carole, it’s great to hear from you! Thanks for reaching out. I think about that internship so fondly and you were such a help. I hope you’re well!   -Katharine

                                                           Here is Katharine’s Story

Katharine, from Lincoln, MA was a sophomore at Phillips Exeter. We matched Katharine’s interests in broadcast journalism to a wonderful female mentor, the Executive Director of a Cable Television station. Tamarah spoke highly of her intern, “Katharine has been extremely helpful to our station. She has edited news segments that we’ve put on the air, worked on studio shoots, and is producing a 30 minute documentary on the prevalence of eating disorders.”

Katharine spoke about her internship in a community newspaper article,

“I was able to try everything from learning how to use the cameras, to editing to running the teleprompter during a live show. The great thing about working at a small station is you get so much hands-on experience.”

 

How a High School Internship in Government led to a position at the Boston City Council

During her junior at Newton South High School, Michelle excitedly told us about a week long school trip to Washington, D.C. sponsored by the Close up Foundation. She became very enthused about the American political system. After our meeting with Michelle, we matched her to a Senator’s office at the MA State House.

“I see apathy among my generation and realized that I’d like to become involved. Working for the Senator is fascinating. I’m attending hearings and seminars as well as researching issues and legislation. I feel fortunate to have this opportunity.”

Her Mentor, legislative aide Cat Anderson wrote: ” Michelle is a self-starter and quickly learned to plow right in. She reported about information gleaned from attending hearings, drafted letters to constituents, and helped with data entry and research. She was a wonderful presence in the office.”

After her undergrad studies Michelle went on to law school. We recently caught up with her on LinkedIn and congratulated her on her appointment as the Director of Legislative Budget Analysis at the Boston City Council. 

 

Michelle wrote,

“Thank you! I had such a great experience with that internship, and it’s been interesting how over the years I’ve continually been pulled back to legislative work – and able to use that internship as experience! Hope all is well!”

7 Summer Internships for High School Students in Boston

1. David Zhao from Acton Boxborough High
Tell me about your experiences.
The workplace feels more like the set of “The Social Network” than an actual workplace; FanPier’s harbor location and the informal work environment are truly invigorating and inspiring. The work was involving, but all I needed to recuperate was the view out the 14th floor-windows, where I could see all of Boston sprawling beyond the harbor. In terms of the internship, my mentor Jason started me off with a research project for potential business partners (preferably start-ups) and I compiled an Excel spreadsheet with data for each partner. That project took the entire day, though Jason took me out to lunch with a fellow MIT-Sloan peer. We discussed my college plans, the application process, and potential majors.
Jason truly embraces the role of mentorship–he’s been recommending books, checking in constantly, and teaching me various business essentials (e.g. LinkedIn, database-use, etc.) Jason’s also been asking me for ideas. All in all, the first-day experience was really eye-opening and exciting. I really think that I’ll enjoy this internship and learn a great deal about business, particularly if I want to pursue entrepreneurial business myself.
2. Daniel Alpert from Needham High.
What has been the best part of your internship?
I am learning about business, especially how to run a start-up company. Also, there is a ping pong table there.
Describe a situation in which you took a risk by putting yourself in a new position, such as meeting new people, asking questions, making suggestions.
I’m the only high school kid with a lot of college students. I didn’t know anyone and they all knew each other so I had to put myself out there to make friends. Over time, I felt less intimidated and now I go out to lunch with them.
3. Ally Reiner Wellesley, MA.  Lehigh University College of Business and Economics.
It’s been going great at the fashion company. I have a lot of responsibility and have been learning a lot. I’ve been able to help out with a lot of the marketing ideas and events in addition to some PR responsibilities.  
4. From the Mentor of Max Lasser from the Dexter School in Brookline, MA.
Max is doing great! He attended the EACC meeting last week where he got to see how companies are awarded state tax incentives based on their job creation commitments. The meeting was open to the public; he saw various company executives, local, and state politicians. It was a good experience for him. He is very well mannered and always eager to help. We are glad to have him for the summer. Aiden
5. Emma Witherington from Deerfield Academy.
I’m really enjoying myself at the non-profit. Janel, Blake, and Kay have all been welcoming and helpful guides. That said, they still treat me as a mature adult and expect me to be able to handle important projects.  Because it is just these three women who work in the office, I have great opportunities to partake in hands-on work relevant to the organization. I am taken seriously, and feel I like I am genuinely helping them during their busiest season by providing a fresh and thorough hand on time-consuming projects.
List the kinds of things that you’ve been doing at work.
I’ve been three days so far. The first day was largely about understanding the organization, so I went over a binder of materials that Blake had prepared for me. After this introduction to the business, I completed my first task of choosing photos from recent events in Tampa and Dallas and uploading them, now displayed on the company’s Facebook page. Since then, I’ve been given a larger assignment in which I research other organizations (some for charity, others not) and put information like event size, fundraising means, and sponsorship into an organized spreadsheet.
6. Kevin Zhu from Newton South High School.
The internship at the State House has been quite relaxing and interesting. They said that the real fun begins in July, because that is when all the bills and policies really start to take motion into being passed, so next month will be quite hectic in the State House.  What I have been doing for my first week is participating in the Speaker series that they have at the statehouse, as well as creating a e-mail list for my representative when there isn’t a speaker at that time.
7. Griffin Green from The Rivers School, Weston, MA.
List the things you are doing relating to your interest in robotics and engineering: 
1.     I created a pallet of potential stained glass samples for use in their tesserae software
2.     I worked in Solid Works (CAD software) designing 3d models for a potential tool to cut the glass
3.     Started to make a design and cut glass tile by hand (soon to be replaced with a more efficient method)
I have been very excited about my internship. I feel that the work is very important to the company. I have had the opportunity to work extensively with Ted as he helps to guide me in the right direction and with Paul and Blake. Each of them has shown me a different aspect of the company. When I work with Paul, I focus on the design process, which eventually leads to the creation of the product. On the other hand, Blake allows me to explore the business aspects of the company. On top of all of this, the work environment is very relaxed and makes me feel right at home.

Startup Case Study: A Boston Internship for Camila and Claudia from Puerto Rico

 

The Introduction

It was so interesting to Skype with Camila and Claudia Gonzalez and their parents. The family had been referred to the Internship Connection Program for Entrepreneurship by Babson College. The girls are twin sisters, coming from a private school in Guaynabo, P.R., who had been accepted to Babson as January freshman. “J-frosh” is the term that students often use.

Starting college during spring semester is quite common at many universities across the U.S. The reason behind this is that colleges would like to accept many more qualified students, but cannot accommodate them because of insufficient housing. Additional dorm rooms become available when juniors go abroad during their spring semester.

I have often worked with January freshman, establishing Boston internships for them for the fall semester. Not only can they enjoy an internship matched to their intended academic majors, but they are able to get a jump start on their peers, becoming familiar with the city, it’s transportation system, restaurants and cultural highlights.

The process begins: Housing

Once I knew that the girls wanted to live and work together, I starting researching housing for them that would be comfortable and close to transportation.  Additionally, I wanted to find a mentor who would take a true personal interest in the girls. Coming to the U.S. to a new city at age 17, is not something to take lightly. As director of this program, I feel deeply that my role is not only to provide the best educational experience but to be protective of our students as well.

Placing students in our program is much more complicated than many people realize. I must consider their career interests, their safety, their mode of transportation, their schedules, etc. For the girls and their parents, I emailed photos from several types of housing options. They chose an upscale, short-term stay hotel in Copley Square. It would be just a quick subway ride for them to the Boston Waterfront where over 150 start-up companies would likely be the most interesting and exciting internship sites for the girls.

Choosing the best company and mentor

During my research and drawing from our program’s large network of business connections, I focused on the girls’ interest in both entrepreneurship and fashion. In the past, I’ve placed many students at MassChallenge, an annual global accelerator program and startup competition that provides free office space for finalists and organizes training and networking events. It’s a competetion that awards 1 million dollars to finalist companies selected from 1,250 applications world-wide.

One company at the MassChallenge business incubator really stood out to me. Melanie Berger is the founder and CEO of Mariwear, a new and innovative concept in women’s loungewear. She is a dynamic businesswoman who is also a mom. In our conversations, I learned that she had lived abroad and grasped how important her role would be as mentor for Camilla and Claudia. While discussing the kinds of tasks that she would have for them in her fashion start-up, I could see that they would be involved in every level of her business. We were both excited for the girls’ arrival.

The internship proceeds

 

As the fall progressed, Camilla and Claudia sent me journals detailing their experiences and expressed how thrilled they were with their mentor and their fashion internships. As a former professor of education, I know how crucial it is for students to take a step back to reflect upon their experiences. Therefore, the students are asked to send me several journals that I have designed, with questions that are meant to encourage reflection.

 

An excerpt from Camilla’s journal

 

What has been the best part of your internship?

The best part of the internship has been working with Melanie. She has been a great mentor and example because not only has she helped me grow as a future entrepreneur, but also she has helped me understand the importance of fighting for your goals even though there will be a lot of ups and downs.

She has really made us feel part of not only Mariwear, but also the MassChallenge community by introducing us to the other companies that we were interested in, or in some way, contribute to our future. I feel that every moment in MassChallenge has been a positive, since I am constantly meeting new people, making suggestions, asking questions, and learning something new.

A note from the CEO Melanie

It’s been such a pleasure for me to get to know Camilla and Claudia and Melanie, their mentor, feels the same way. She recently wrote:

Hi Carole,

Hope all is well.  I have to say, I am seriously sad that the girls are gone.

It was beyond an amazing experience for all of us.  They were wonderful on so many levels.  I can’t imagine having anyone else who can fill their shoes.

Melanie Berger

Founder

We wish Camilla and Claudia all the best as they start their freshman semester this January at Babson College!

A Startup Internship in Boston for a Vanderbilt Economics Major

 

Ethan, pictured on the right with his mentor, was a Dean’s list Economics major with a minor in Computer Science at Vanderbuilt University. Ethan already had 2 finance internships under his belt, but this time he was looking for a summer experience where he could role up his sleeves and get involved in all aspects of a startup. We matched him to Ted, an incredibly personable mentor and Director of Sales at Privy.

The following are Ethan’s responses to our Internship Connection Journal questions:

List the kinds of things you’ve been doing at work.

So far my experience have been great! I’ve had great exposure. Ted has been very helpful and assigned me to a wide variety of tasks, letting me learn new things. I’ve been doing lots of work with Excel spreadsheets, Salesforce and LinkedIn. For example, I created a spreadsheet outlining the common traits and trends between all of the successful sales deal that Ted has made in order to identify future customers.

What’s been the best part of your internship?

I sat in on a staff meeting that’s held twice a year that they call the Town Hall. All the employees discuss what has been happening this year and changes going forward.

We look forward to following Ethan’s career, knowing that this internship continued his professional growth.

A Unique Boston Internship at Athletes of Valor

 

Alex Stone, Athletes of Valor

Luca, a junior at Framingham High, is interested in sports management and business. Luca had started an online clothing business and part of the proceeds were donated to veterans. Through our contacts in the Boston startup community, we created an internship for Luca with Alex Stone, a graduate of Swampscott High and the Founder and CEO of Athletes of Valor. AOV is a platform designed to help veterans transition from service to career by leveraging the power of collegiate sports. Alex’s venture based startup was the 50k gold winner of MassChallenge’s Social Impact category. We felt that Luca’s ideas and Alex’s mission were closely aligned and Luca helped out with the merchandising aspect of the business.

For an additional experience, we arranged a visit to WeWork South Station where Luca met with a UX designer for a startup in the game development space. They discussed Luca’s website and marketing ideas. We were happy to expose Luca to a variety of startup environments.

 

Finally, we were thrilled to hear that recently CoachUp acquired Athletes of Valor, with Alex now serving as Chief Operating Officer of CoachUp. Coach Up had provided a wonderful internship for one of our students a few years ago. The following is a news article about Alex. We are very grateful for the interest he took in one of our students.

https://www.coachup.com/nation/articles/q–a-with-alex-stone-athletes-of-valor-ceo-and-coachup-coo

A Moving Physical Therapy Summer Internship For A High School Junior

A Physical Therapy Internship

Adaptive Sports Program at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

What a moving visit we had to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, the site of David’s summer internship. David, a junior at Buckingham, Browne and Nichols, and his older sister are long time Internship Connection clients.  David has always been interested in science, so two summers ago, we placed David on a robotics internship. More recently, after recovering from knee surgery from a soccer injury, David was so impressed with the support and encouragement he received from his physical therapist, he thought that he might consider physical therapy as a career.

We placed David in the Adaptive Sports Program at Spaulding Rehab. As an athlete and compassionate young man, he could appreciate what it takes to get back into sports after an injury. In addition, he was also able to shadow a therapist working in their therapy gym. Spaulding in Charlestown is a magnificent facility on Boston Harbor where the Boston Marathon bombing victims were treated.

“The two main activities we do are canoeing and biking. The patients have fantastic life stories. They have gone through so much, so to help them stay fit and have fun is very rewarding. I get to meet new people every single day. Encouraging them to talk and bond with me is a key part of making both my day and their day fun. All the time, I’m asking patients about their lives…listening to them and just being a friend makes me feel that I am making their day better.”

Ross’s Boston Journalism Internship

As career counselors and educators we love hearing from former students. Ross recently graduated from the London School of Economics. We wish him continued success on a very interesting career.

Enjoy our previous blog about Ross, one of our most dynamic students:

“During my high school internship at the West Roxbury Roslindale Transcript, my editor asked me to go around the city, interviewing people I had never met, researching and writing articles for the newspaper. I was thrown into situations that were completely out of my comfort level. Looking back on that first internship with you in high school, it really was then, when I began to develop the skills I am using today- going around the city, setting up meetings with new people and asking questions.”

 It’s been eight years since Ross was in our program and it was great bumping into him recently at a startup in Downtown Crossing. During the time we worked with Ross, he was a bright, outgoing high school student at Nobles and Greenough. Ross wrote for his school newspaper and was interested in developing his journalistic skills. We placed him with a newspaper editor who enjoyed working with young people and was very effective in teaching the basics of journalism.

Ross’s skills developed very quickly and he was given the responsibility of a field reporter. He had many interesting experiences, including an interview with Trot Nixon from the Boston Red Sox. Not only did his articles appear on the front page of the newspaper, but also Ross’s editor offered him a paid free-lance position during the year.

Ross Chanowski With Trot Nixon Former Boston Red Sox Right Fielder

Q: Ross, what are you doing these days?

A: Well, I recently left my position of manager of new business at Allen and Gerritsen and have ventured out on my own. I’m involved in the new field of 3-D printing technology and I’m working on the development of a tool for consumers to 3-D print household and office goods, instantly.

Q: How did you get interested in this field?

A: I became fascinated after reading about the technology, didn’t really understand it or know how to use it.  So, I’m spending time interviewing engineers and computer scientists in the field. I really think this will be the technology of the future and will change the way we manufacture goods.

I would love to teach kids about this new technology of 3D printing because it will be the next generation who will succeed in this new industry.

Q: What advice would you have for high school and college students?

My major at U Michigan was economic and public policy. My experiences ranged from working in start-ups, for Congressman Barney Frank on Capitol Hill and in new business and venture management for marketing agencies. I wanted a broad range of experiences and each one certainly prepared me for the next.

Ross’s advice:

– Always look for and be open to new opportunities

– It’s never too early to start networking

– Look for inspiration

Q: I recently saw you were interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, talking about your micro-apartment on the Boston waterfront.

A: I’m a big advocate of the startup community. Living on the Boston waterfront, I’m constantly meeting new people. From painters to musicians to engineers, they are all contributing to my own education and inspiration.

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