Senior Internships: Students Explore and Apply Their Interests in Real-World Settings


Ahri Han and Yuri Han

As AP exams become the past, several seniors have something much, much more exciting to look forward to: internships.

The internship opportunity for seniors is part of the school’s Senior Options Program, which enables seniors to pursue their interests, or try something new, in a real-world setting. As explained on the program’s webpage on the school’s website, the “goal of the Senior Options program is to encourage students to apply the skills they have acquired throughout their elementary, middle, and high school years to a specific field of interest.” In past years, students have interned at places such as the Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in Englewood, Tenafly’s elementary schools, and the Korean Society in New York City. These internships typically begin once AP testing is over and last until the end of the school year.

Seniors who are doing internships this year have a variety of experiences waiting for them. Katherine Sung (’18), who is interning as a dental assistant at a private practice in Closter, said, “I’m very excited for my internship because, to me, it provides two types of experiences: the financial aspect of managing a private business as well as the patient/healthcare aspect of it.” Sung, who is debating between finance and pre-health as a path of interest in college, hopes that her internship experience leaves a positive influence on her.

Vice President of his class Eli Glass (’18) will be shadowing a trauma surgeon at Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC) in Hackensack. “I’m sad that I’m leaving during the last few weeks of my senior year,” said Glass, “but my internship fits almost perfectly with what I want to do in the future and what I plan to study in college.” The trauma department at HUMC sees some of the most severely critical injuries and health emergencies. Glass, on the topic of what trauma surgeons do day-to-day, said, “It’s like being thrown into the deep end in terms of hospital dynamics. I hope to learn and experience as much as possible.”

Several seniors are interning at elementary schools in the Tenafly school system. Hannah Rosen (’18), for example, will be interning at Maugham School and working with a first-grade class. “I’m so excited for my internship,” Rosen said. “I went to Maugham School and I can’t wait to return.” Rosen’s plan of action for her internship provides her a wide range of activities that she can experience with younger students. “The first grade play is coming up, so I will help the students get ready for that. The class is also going to get chicks in the classroom, and we’ll watch them hatch!” she said. Rosen is especially excited for her internship experience because it also provides her a foundation for experiences that will build towards her potential career path: becoming a teacher. “I plan to be an educator in the future, so this student teaching will directly prepare me for my future,” said Rosen.

Hyon Lee (’18) will also be interning at Maugham School, where she hopes to immerse herself in new experiences during the short time she will be there. “I hope to get to know the children, like how to handle them and also to learn to be more comfortable in new environments and with new people,” Lee said.

On the other hand, some seniors do not have to look too far from school to find internship opportunities. A few of them are doing internships and independent projects in school with teachers guiding them as mentors. Miruna Baciu (’18) is one of these students. “I will be doing the in-school internship with Dr. Hu, where I will be learning advanced mathematical and statistical concepts,” said Baciu. Dr. Hu, who works with the school’s Department of Content, Skills, and Internships (CSI), also teaches statistics at the AP level. Baciu said, “I hope that by the end of this internship, I will be better prepared for college.”

These are just a few examples of the kinds of internships seniors will be embarking on for the next few weeks before the school year comes to a close. Dr. Rabinowitz, who works with senior internships at CSI with Hu, said, “I appreciate that students are eager and enthusiastic to learn in action and not in theory.” A major takeaway, for many seniors, is what they can do hands-on and in real-world professional settings. “What I’ve heard from students is that they are surprised by the amount of time they actually have. There are no bells telling them when and where to go,” said Rabinowitz. “This a great experience to translate skills—such as working in group projects and communication—to the real world because they will continue seeing that after high school, perhaps even more.”

Although applications are no longer being accepted for current seniors, juniors (and even sophomores) can begin thinking about whether the Senior Options Program might be something they are interested in pursuing once they become seniors. Seniors who want to do internships must have good-standing attendance and approved academic standing (in other words, passing grades in all courses required to graduate). Yet, there are elements that students must have in order to have successful and rewarding experiences. The selection of students to participate in the program is based on an ability to work independently, a passion or interest in the field of the internship, and a solid plan of action for the duration of the internship. Equipped with these three things, seniors can confidently apply their interests and topics learned in school beyond the traditional classroom.

For anyone interested in learning more about senior internships, contact or visit Dr. Hu or Dr. Rabinowitz at CSI in Room 134.