By: Katie Serna (Class of 2018)

For my internship, I am working with the Terra Linda Athletic Trainer to help implement methods to conserve water in the athletic department while also learning about sports medicine. I am currently working on writing a proposal for how I plan on saving excess water that goes unused by sports teams. The current ideas in my proposal are to give unused water to the MarinSEL garden to water the plants. And to freeze extra water and use it as ice to help treat injuries. I am working on making a list of contacts for who I need to reach out and propose my ideas to as well. I am excited to start going through with my ideas because I think that they will really help to cut down on the amount of water wasted at Terra Linda High School. While my internship’s main focus is on water conservation, I love that I have also been able to shadow my employer, Kit Holsten, and learn about what she does as an athletic trainer.

The body is extremely fascinating to me, which is one of the reasons why I enjoy sports medicine because you are able to help people and can learn about the body and how everything works together to create one functional human being. I have been working with an athlete recovering from an injury and helping to rehabilitate them so they can return to their sport. I help the athletic trainer to oversee the exercises the athlete is doing and as they heal we can re-strengthen the area of injury to prevent another injury from happening again. I love that I have been able to help my fellow athletes return to their sport as quickly and as safely as possible.

My only struggle so far in my internship is that I wish I could help even more with injured athletes. Since I am only an intern and am not medically trained, I cannot help treat any injuries. I am able to assist with minor things such as wrapping ice, but I wish I could do more. Kit is always so busy having to care for so many athletes and I feel bad sometimes wishing I could do more. I am glad that I am able to help as much as I can, even if it’s not as much as I want to. So far I am really enjoying my internship and excited to learn more things about sports medicine and to really help to conserve water at Terra Linda.  

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By: Ben Pearson (Class of 2018)

This year I am interning at the San Rafael Airport. It has been quite an exciting position so far, filled with interesting tasks and challenges for me to overcome. I have met with quite a few interesting individuals and worked on plenty of unique projects so far.

My overarching task, and most certainly the most challenging one, has been working with the solar panels at the San Rafael Airport’s property in Richmond. Their property happens to be in close proximity to the gun range, and unluckily for them (and me), sometimes debris from the gun range is shot out and causes breakages in the solar panels. Because these breakages have gone undetected for quite a while, it was (and still is, sadly) my job to find the time when these panels were broken. This has been quite a difficult task and, despite my experience with excel and data analysis from previous internships, I have not yet found a definitive date. Every time it feels like I am about to make a breakthrough, something falls through, where I may be looking at the wrong data or I may be misinterpreting it. I have been working on this project for two to three weeks and hopefully I complete it soon.

I recently finished up two smaller tasks, the first of which being a full-page ad for the Sustainable Enterprise Conference (SEC). The San Rafael is a sponsor of the SEC and is being given a full-page ad, and it was my job to assemble the info, and pictures to use for the ad and then make it. This tested my research skills as well as my design skills. Although I was a little bit rusty, I found that I was able to use my existing experience with photoshop to complete it swiftly.

My second task was a little smaller: the website has had some troubles recently linking to the wrong webpages. The website had just been redone by last year’s intern Nick Slanec, and was experiencing these difficulties despite no new changes. I had to learn how to use all the tools that Nick had become accustomed to with the website development, and once I had done so, the website was an easy fix.

For my internship, and as described above, I am developing and acquiring many new skills. My skill that is being the most tested currently is my data analysis. With the programs provided to me at my workplace, there are many new and developing functions to explore. The raw data can be troubling, and finding the right filters is currently the number one mission.

So far, I would describe my experience as enlightening, although certainly frustrating. While my employer, Bob, understands that it is difficult to pinpoint the exact dates, I still feel somewhat pressured, though that might not be the right word, to complete this task at a faster rate. I really enjoy what I have been doing so far and especially the real-world impact it is having. 

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By: Lein Harper (Class of 2018)

The past two months of my internship at Strategic Energy Innovations have been very rewarding. Not only have I been able to create quality work, but I also feel like my work is appreciated. This is mostly due to the clear communication of what is wanted, a willingness to grow ideas, and the space I need to create professional work. When I started my internship I was afraid I would constantly have someone hovering over my shoulder, I’m very happy to say that’s not the case. The only negative experience that I’ve had during these past months has been a sore ankles from standing at the workstation. That was the case, till I realized I could have just pulled up a chair.

So far, I’ve learned that asking clarifying questions is a good habit. I can think of a couple of scenarios where I needed a bit of clarification on how the graphics I was working on were going to be implemented. I know for a fact that this has contributed to the quality of work I’ve been able to create. 

As an artist, a lot of the work that I create involves the use of formal techniques, such as the use of an under sketch, perspective, and color theory. These skills factor heavily into my work in my internship. However, adapting my skills to the clean minimalist design of commercial graphics has been a learning experience. My best friend has been the official style guide for the graphics used by S.E.I. I simply am not used to creating iconography. That said, it's definitely something that I can do. 

Another skill I’m still developing is my ability to create graphics with a mouse. I'm sure many artists will agree that drawing with a mouse just isn't intuitive. Though, I’d like to say that I’ve been able to reach a level of proficiency that I didn’t think possible. It’s really a success story of cinematic proportions, one artist’s struggle to overcome the limitation of a computer mouse. Where’s my Oscar? 

In all seriousness, these past few weeks have been incredibly gratifying. A lot of it comes from the gratification of knowing that I’m definitely delivering on not only the quality of work that is expected, but also that I expect. I consistently have the “Yeah, I made that with my hands”, feeling. Which is, believe me, one of the best feelings one can derive from a creative endeavor. Here’s to the continuation of that endeavor and the success of projects to come.

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By: Aimee de Blaauw (Class of 2018)

At my internship, I have been working at the Marin County Office of Education to turn them into a zero waste model site. My biggest accomplishment so far, though I am still in the middle of doing it, is turning all the bathroom trash cans into composts so that the paper towels are diverted from the landfill.
To start this project, our zero-waste team of five- Jessie and Mike from MCOE, Casey from Zero Waste Marin, Izzy from Marin Sanitary, and myself- met and discussed our project’s timeline and the tasks we need to do to accomplish our final goal by May. The next week, I was introduced to many members of the staff at MCOE, as well as made a spreadsheet mapping out all the tasks and goals we talked about in the meeting. Looking it over after finishing, my supervisor, Mike Grant, and I decided the first thing we should do is divert the paper waste in the bathrooms.

The first step was to order the bins, so Mike, Jessie and I brought one of the tall green compost bins from the hall into the bathroom. After talking it over, we agreed that these green bins would be the best choice for the paper towel compost, and we would keep the built-in wall receptacles for trash. Mike then ordered bins for all the bathrooms. My next jobs were to draft an email to the staff about the new change, and to make signs for the bins in the bathrooms.

Our next steps are to edit and send the email I drafted, to train the janitors and staff, as well as to put the bins and laminated signs into the bathrooms. To be successful, we had to communicate with each other, research what we were doing, as well as split up the work between us.

One lesson I have learned in my internship so far is that you can be heard as a teen, even when in a group of adults. All the people I work with and around are older than me, but I am still treated with respect. I saw in our group meeting as well as from the tasks I have already done, that my ideas can be implemented, built off, and are important to the project.

The main skill I have been improving through my internship is communication. There have been a few instances where I have had to reschedule my hours for the week and had to communicate it to Mike. This is teaching me to always communicate when you have a conflict and do it as soon as possible. I have also been learning to write professional emails, and how to talk to adults professionally in person. I have already had to audit all garbage cans in the offices inside MCOE by telling each employee in a personal office or cubical about our zero-waste goals.

So far, I am having a really good time interning at the Marin County Office of Education. I love the people I work around, as they are all professionals yet are still nice and joke around with me and each other. I’m excited to see what we will accomplish this year if, already, our Zero-Waste team has done so much!

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By: Samantha Stilson (Class of 2017)

The first day I walked into Rebound Bookstore for my senior year internship, my employer didn’t recognize me. I had the good fortune to realize this a few moments into this first professional encounter, scrambling to introduce myself with more detail, but could not save myself from its terribly awkward start. A great tragedy. What can you do.

I did not realize at the time that by beginning something with a social catastrophe, that thing really can do nothing but get better, at least relative to one’s start. The moment after my identity was realized, I was welcomed into the Rebound Crew. Joel and Toni, my intern supervisors, have been married for 28 years, own and run Rebound, and have afternoon tea with fantastically scandalous amounts of sugar. My kind of people. The shop, a total entity of its own, is fairly magical, home to two finches, and comfortably houses rather more books than were probably intended for it. My kind of place. I would come to look forward to each day I spent at Rebound, learning the shop, drinking tea, and slowly becoming magical.

My first task, however, had less to do do with tea and more to do with exercise. Rebound helps to put on a literature festival in San Rafael, Litquake, every year, and my feet and I were thrust into the middle of it. It was through planning for and executing Litquake that I learned about many important aspects of running a successful business, including connection with the locals, persistence persistence persistence, and ice cream. Before working with Joel, I assumed most of the publicity for Litquake would be done online, perhaps through blast emails or a book lover’s forum. But after walking into almost every store on San Rafael’s Fourth Street, and plenty more in Terra Linda, I began to expand my narrow-minded perception of marketing. I was shocked that Joel was on a first name basis with over half of the business owners we visited on Fourth Street, and many were happy to put Litquake posters in their windows or break rooms. Clearly they didn’t mind doing him the favor, especially because he was standing directly in front of them. The strategy seemed to be just as effective, if not more so, than posts online. Together, he and I probably walked the entire length of west end Fourth Street three times (both ways!) giving out posters, flyers, pamphlets, and bookmarks to both local businesses and people we ran into on the street.

Despite Joel’s copious connections, we and our flyers were initially turned down many times. But, as I have come to learn, it is truly the moment right after the original rejection that makes or breaks you. In learning to adopt the infallible attitude that everyone secretly craved Litquake information, and making up excuses for them to take what I had, I broke through a marketing conundrum that had stumped me for years: the ignored email. Forget “following up”. I’ll show up at your house (or business, really). It is incredibly difficult for people to ignore your event when it is your third visit and you just printed out more flyers.

Not surprisingly, walking all over Fourth Street, especially in California’s autumn, can be quite the exhausting endeavor. And, as any good advertiser knows, nobody wants to listen to a hot mess of an intern talk about books. Therefore, as a necessary and professional measure, upon reaching the other end of Fourth Street, Joel and I get ice cream (don’t tell Toni :) ). It’s the best part of my whole day. Quite fitting to end a blog post with. Our walk back to the shop is slightly more relaxed as we have ice cream in tow and generally do the busier side of the street first.

Though I feel like the internship is something I have been doing for months, I realize that I still have most of this academic year ahead of me. It’s a fact that excites me, as I think about the skills I can learn and the tea I can drink. I imagine (and hope) that I’ll be ranting on about something entirely different in the next blog, learning about new things in new ways. Until then, I will continue walking, talking, and growing my magic. Visit Rebound if you don’t believe me.

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By Nick Slanec (Class of 2017)

Hi, I’m Nick Slanec and I’m doing my internship at the San Rafael Airport. The very first challenge I was faced with when starting this internship was finding out how to get there. The bridge that normally was the route to the airport was closed off for maintenance, so I had to find another way around. After about 20 minutes of skulking around the perimeter of the property, I found my entrance.

The San Rafael Airport is a small airport, with only a handful of employees on site. It’s a very professional environment, and the offices are very well kept. I was given a desk in Bob’s office, along with a monitor and ethernet cable. Bob is my internship mentor and basically runs the airport. My current task is populating a large spreadsheet with data from the site’s electric bills since 2015. This is a fairly large challenge, and I have had to find creative ways to lessen the load. In order to do this, I needed to learn how to efficiently work in Google Spreadsheets. I have learned how to use functions in the spreadsheets, so some cells will be populated using the information from other cells. I actually used this knowledge in my econ class recently, it saved me hours of work. After I finish the spreadsheets for the airport, I will start working on remaking their website.

When I started this internship, I didn't have any specific things I wanted to learn. I just wanted to soak up the experience of being in a professional environment. This mindset still holds true, and I have learned a lot in the two months I’ve been here. Remember that bridge that was closed off for maintenance? It’s owned by the airport, and it is actually being rebuilt. The entire bridge is being taken down and a new one is being put up in its place. Bob is managing the construction of this bridge, coordinating all of the contractors, cranes, trucks, etc. Learning how this management works is exactly the kind of experience I’m looking for. The great part about it is: I don't need to be specifically taught about how to do these things, I can just observe what everyone else is doing. Familiarizing myself with professional environments gives me a leg up when I get a job after college, and that is a very valuable experience.

I have been having a lot of fun at the San Rafael Airport, and I can't wait to see what the next few months have in store. Getting an experience like this at my age is rare, and I plan to take full advantage of it.

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