Program gives Newington High students opportunity to supplement studies with real world experience

Published on Thursday, 15 April 2021 12:17
Written by Erica Drzewiecki

@drzewieckinbh

NEWINGTON – Newington High School’s Internship Program has returned from its one-year hiatus, and students are back in the community, supplementing their studies with hands-on experience.

“We started back up again after winter break,” Career Academies Counselor Rachel Arnett said this week. “So far all our internships have been telecommunications-based.”

That means students are interning virtually from home, following a similar model to the one used by the school district earlier on during the pandemic. But that doesn’t mean the work they’re doing is any less involved.

NHS juniors Samyuktha Thotta and Priscilla Tran have both been interning with Indelible Impressions Consulting, a newer business based in Newington.

“We are a diversity, equity and inclusion strategy firm,” Owner Yvonne Alston said. “Our goal is to help organizations really achieve their equity and inclusion goals. We do this with a data-backed approach.”

Her firm has a partnership with Yellowbrick and provides organizations with cultural assessments, strategic workshops and reviews policies and procedures to identify needs.

Tran and Thotta are learning from Alston, who gave them a social media project with a personal connection. The girls curated a blog post reflecting on discrimination against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community: indelible-consulting.com/post/what-we-can-learn-from-the-recent-asian-american-violence

“I’ve been there two or three months and I really love it,” said Tran, who hopes to become an actuary someday. “It hasn’t been that long but I’ve already learned so much.”

Not necessarily about math and business, but about herself and society-at-large.

“Yvonne gave us a really big platform to talk about our experiences,” Tran said. “I’m Asian-American and I’ve never really had the opportunity to express myself like I did in the blog post. She taught me to be a better person, to be assertive and really stand up for myself. I’m beyond grateful.”

Thotta called her overall experience “really positive” and Alston “super-kind and understanding.”

“She teaches us a lot about diversity and inclusion, but also skills we’ll need in the future like how to network with people over LinkedIn.”

Not only have the students used their platform to inform others about Asian-American prejudices, but they’ve also had the opportunity to learn about issues affecting the LGBTQ community and disabled people.

“As a member of the Newington community and a minority-owned business I wanted to give back and leverage the talent Newington High School is great at fostering,” said Alston, whose daughter also attends NHS.

“I think they did an amazing job,” Alston said of the interns. “I’m so impressed with their responsiveness and dedication as well as the output in terms of their work product. I also hope to help them feel more confident and comfortable in their own skin and to advance their career aspirations.”

She’s offered both students the opportunity to continue working with her in the future.

“Hopefully when they graduate there will be a new wave of students I can offer opportunities to,” Alston pointed out. “As a local business it’s important to me to be invested in the futures of our youth. I applaud Newington High for using this program to develop our future leaders and for giving Indelible Impressions the opportunity to partner with them. It’s really a win-win for all of us. I strongly encourage other businesses to get on board.”

Arnett, who also serves as the school’s College Career Pathways Liaison, said there are only a handful of other internships happening currently, due to pandemic constraints.

Another student is working with the Newington Chamber of Commerce in social media and marketing.

Within the next month the first in-person internship in over a year will take place at the Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Center in downtown Newington, where two students will be working.

The state mandates unpaid internships be 120 hours or less. The NHS Academies typically deploy students on internships that are at least 60 hours, so they can earn a half-credit in school.

“Newington has done a fantastic job of supporting our students in the past,” Arnett said. “I think businesses are slowly starting to return to normal operations now. We have so many students who are ready to go, they just need the opportunity.”

Businesses interested in hosting interns can contact Arnett at 860-666-5611, etx. 1263 or rarnett@npsct.org.

Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at edrzewiecki@centralctcommunications.com.



Posted in New Britain Herald, Newington on Thursday, 15 April 2021 12:17. Updated: Thursday, 15 April 2021 12:20.