Earlier this month, 15 interns joined the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) to begin the 2022 summer internship program. While receiving meaningful on-the-job training, the interns develop real-world leadership skills and experience a professional work environment to prepare them for future careers. Students hail from across Southern Virginia.
The interns were assigned to work on projects unique to their mentors’ respective departments.
Megan Pollok and Seraiye Johnson are assisting the Applied Research division with AgTech research. Pollok is examining the use of beneficial bacterial endophytes in the treatment of Fusarium Head Blight, a fungal disease commonly occurring in small-grain crops. She is experimenting with eight varieties of winter wheat and hopes to continue this research in her undergraduate studies. Johnson is experimenting with agricultural technology to see its effects on plant nutrient uptake and growth.
Parker Burke and Benjamin Boles are working with the Research team to help further develop new components of IALR’s SMART Table robotic plant imaging system. Burke and Boles also use python coding and data analytics for 3D printing.
Graydon Smith and Elizabeth Burrell are conducting biotechnological research. The interns experiment with hydroponically grown plants, testing the effects of beneficial bacteria in controlling and fighting plant diseases.
Grayson Haskins, Rachel Martin and Kaden Knight are interning within the Advanced Learning department. Haskins and Martin help to promote and establish a variety of efforts and programs, engage with students in summer STEM camps, and are developing a scavenger hunt/ escape room experience for the GO TEC mobile lab. Knight works as the Data Analytics Intern, assisting with data analysis for the GO TEC and Work Ready Community initiatives.
Rachel Davis assists the Public Relations and Communications department with building positive public awareness and brand identity through the website, social media, newsletter and other communications strategies.
Jackson Boles is interning in the Institute Conference Center, where he identifies methods to extend the database for Megabytes café. Additionally, Boles supports his department by assisting in event set-up, guest engagement and marketing techniques.
Clark Givens assists the Facilities Maintenance team by updating inventory, prioritizing safety throughout IALR’s growing campus, and performing various tasks such as light repair, motor replacement and landscaping.
Interning with the Economic Development department, Vanessa Argueta and Emily Ebalo work with the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance. Both interns are researching different aspects of the region to then promote the benefits through social media and other public relations platforms.
Glenda Argueta works in the Information Technology department, assisting with software installation and updates, responding to user requests, and aiding in system and equipment set-up for IALR’s events.
Each intern is making significant contributions and will present their summer work to IALR staff when their experience ends in August.
IALR is facilitating summer internships as well as springtime mock interview events for high school students. Participating employers are being actively recruited for these opportunities with funding available to support intern stipends. The events are part of IALR’s new system framework, known as ExperienceWorks and supported by GO Virginia.
Mock interviewers, committing just 1.5 hours of time or more, are needed for three AspHIRE Mock Interview Day events on April 27-28 in Danville and South Boston, and May 4-5 in Martinsville. Graduating seniors and select juniors are provided an opportunity to hone their interview skills and take part in a formal business lunch and six work-readiness sessions. Interested businesses should contact email@example.com by April 13.
IALR is also seeking businesses to host paid internships starting in June 2022. Highly successful last summer, the programs in Danville and Pittsylvania County are expanding, along with internship opportunities throughout GO Virginia Region 3.
“It helps you learn people skills and what you want to do in the future,” said Nevea Russell, a Galileo Magnet High School student, of her internship last summer with Danville’s Parks and Recreation department. Other employers last year included other local government offices, the Animal Medical Center of Danville and the Danville Science Center among others.
Interns will work for six to eight weeks at 32-40 hours per week. Businesses have the ability to customize the internship to fit their needs. Interested companies and organizations should contact firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
Thanks to the MajorClarity work-based learning initiative funded by GO Virginia, IALR joined Goodwill Industries and Danville Public Schools to support the launch of a summer internship program with the City of Danville. IALR also joined Pittsylvania County Community Action, the West Piedmont Workforce Development Board and Pittsylvania County Schools to support a similar summer internship program in Pittsylvania County.
The City of Danville hosted 27 Danville Public Schools students and Pittsylvania County hosted 15 Pittsylvania County Schools students. Their internships were eight weeks long and offered stipends and valuable work-based learning experience. For example, during the eight-week program, Pittsylvania County students had the opportunity to work across several departments with Pittsylvania County Schools, as well as with Pittsylvania County Parks and Recreation, the Pittsylvania Pet Center, Information Technology, Public Relations, Finance, and Community Development. Students wrote biographies of staff and drafted social media posts, helped customers, visited construction sites, and conducted important research. The students also had the opportunity to attend a groundbreaking event for Staunton River Plastics where they met Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (see photo).
“Work-based learning opportunities, specifically internships, are critical experiences that connect students and young adults to career opportunities and create relevance aligned with their academic experience,” said Julie Brown, Director of Advanced Learning at IALR. “Paid internships are an investment by our local governments and employers as a key strategy to support regional talent development efforts.”
All 15 K-12 school divisions in GO Virginia Region 3 have adopted MajorClarity as their work-based learning platform. IALR led the adoption of this common digital platform to enhance students’ career development and increase employer engagement in work-based learning. 26,000 students in grades 6-12 now have access to MajorClarity to explore and prepare for career fields, plan and select academic classes and training programs, identify work-based learning opportunities, and track and improve career readiness and awareness. The county and city internship programs integrated MajorClarity as part of the application process.