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Making a Difference in Louisiana with High School Science Internship Programs

High School Science Internship ProgramsEnvironmental Business Specialists is a strong proponent of giving back to the community. We encourage and foster an attitude of volunteerism among our employees. Understanding the value of belonging to a community and encouraging employees to seek out opportunities to give back is promoted not only verbally but written in our company manual.

EBS participates in the Mandeville, Louisiana High School Field Internship Program. This program was designed for seniors to give students a more in-depth look at their career interest through hands-on experience. It involves the “hiring” of an intern or student by a mentor within the community who teaches the student a trade. The high school senior not only obtains a taste of all aspects of that career but is an asset to the mentor.

EBS is in our third school year of participation with the Science Internship Program. Our first year 2008-2009 Intern was Elissa Waterman, from Mandeville High School, who attends Louisiana State University’s (LSU) Honors Collage in the Pre-Medicine department. EBS was honored with three students from Mandeville High School in our second year of involvement during 2009-2010 who were excited about science. Adelaide (Della) Hebert is now enrolled at Rhodes College in liberal arts, Jonathon Lambert attends LSU with an interest in meteorology, and Nick Croy attends Tulane University in the Pre-Med program with an interest in pursuing research in the area of medicine. Our third year in the program brings EBS Marie Carter from Mandeville High School and a student from Mandeville’s largest high school, Fontainebleau High School, Mikaela Thurber.

Each student interviews for entry into the internship program and is required to meet numerous prerequisites through their first three years in high school. They are required to work from 6 to 8 hours per week at the mentor’s site for the entire school year. The students are graded for their work, participation, and report back weekly to the internship program educator, receiving class credit.

At EBS, our culture is to teach the interns everything from running typical laboratory tests on our samples, to performing microscopic analysis, to eventually filling out a service report with assistance from the mentors. They learn chemistry, microbiology, routine laboratory tests, field analyses of client samples, and the science behind wastewater treatment. Our goal is to take the student through the troubleshooting process one must take when gathering, testing, evaluating, and developing conclusions with scientific data. We want our students to think through the process, to use their brains, not to just do the test and pass the buck. They leave EBS at year end capable of this mental process, which can be used in any walk of life, not just in scientific studies.

And our culture towards this program seems to be successful since two of our three interns from last year came to work for EBS during the summer, continuing to contribute to the growth and success of the company. We are proud to be able to contribute to a student’s growth and success, foster student/peer relationships with adults, but to also know we are making a difference in our community.