Seniors’ unique internships provide glimpses of future careers

Students work in a wide range of fields to gain experience


Anvi Kataria

Briana Farias, right, makes therapy putty with students during her internship at Cal High’s wellness center.

Yining Xie, Staff Writer

Finding an interesting and unique internship during the senior year is how many students get an early start on their careers.
Some, such as senior Dylan Bretschneider, have gained much from Cal High’s iQuest program which helps arrange many of these internships.
Not only has Bretschneider’s internship helped him with what he wants to study after high school, but it has also improved his time management skills and provided him with a network of people in his field of interest.
Bretschneider works in music production. Some days, he manages his boss’ library and organizes tracks. On other days, they work on songwriting.
“He’ll try to talk to me and lead me in the direction of learning,” Bretschneider said.
They use the time working together to help each other with different tasks. Bretschneider has learned the ropes by fixing things on his own and creating new pieces with guidance.
The iQuest program really helped Bretschneider get ahead and start working in the music industry, and also gave him extra time to work on college applications and his music portfolio.
Senior Michael Vass also uses his internship to gain experience and explore his interests in creative writing and church.
His internships each have ties with the other. By volunteering at his church, he gains knowledge that he hopes to integrate into his book. Vass finished the rough draft last November and has been editing it since.
One perk Vass enjoys with the iQuest program is the time off campus.
“I would like to be able to have extra time to do things that I like and explore my interests,” Vass said.
Senior Raj Kumar decided to intern at the Banana Republic and be an ambassador for Nordstrom to explore the fashion and marketing industry.
Shadowing his merchandiser and learning about tactics to make things appealing while still keeping the workplace intact has proven to be very helpful. He learned a lot about the business aspect of fashion and how he could apply that himself on his own time.
“It’s just really cool to gain the insight and to hear from actual people,” Kumar said. “And to gain an insight into what an everyday life in that job is.”
When looking for internships online for iQuest, Kumar found the Nordstrom Ambassador program. Nordstrom professionals talk to ambassadors once a month from across the US and Canada about what they do and tips for future careers. In the last meeting that he attended, professionals talked about how to be inclusive while applying the tactics of marketing.
Senior May Tijero is a junior production assistant for the I Can Do That! Performing Arts Center in Danville.
“I help out in the class,” Tijero said. “Helping them [the students] read the music, helping them do the choreography.”
Besides helping the students with their classes, Tijero sometimes designs costumes for the shows.
During the shows, she is backstage helping move sets and handing out props.
Tijero said her internship experience has been really fun because she doesn’t have to just sit around and do what her boss tells her to do. Rather, she has input in many aspects and her director gives opportunities for her to be creative.
For the theater’s current production, she is working as a light designer.
Straying away from the arts, some students, such as senior Alina Jones, choose to go into the medical field for their internships.
Jones works in the cardiac catheterization lab at the San Ramon Regional Medical Center. She said she has witnessed a lot of surgeries and shadowed many types of doctors. Jones said she was even allowed to sit in on six-hour open heart surgery.
“After I watched the open heart surgery, I actually got to take home a stent,” Jones said. “And I fell in love with learning about the heart and now I know I want to be a cardiothoracic surgeon.”
Having such a unique internship that many teens do not have the opportunity to experience takes a lot of work, but Jones has been up for it since being assigned to the cath lab.
Senior Briana Farias also has gained some valuable experience by interning at Cal’s Wellness Center. Since she has a passion for mental health, Farias works as an assistant to center coordinator Rachelle Goldenberg.
At first, the internship was slow because the wellness center was trying to get back up and running after COVID. Farias said there was a real struggle with student interest.
But student interest and Farias’ internship have really picked up, especially since she was appointed as one of the co-directors of NAMI, an on-campus club that focuses on mental health awareness.
Now, Farias communicates with NAMI regional and state representatives, allowing her to be more productive during her internship.
“Overall it has been a really great experience,” Farias said. “ I got to meet new people with the same interests and care for mental health.”
Senior Shruti Kale works as a venture capitalist at a tech company called BRIIA, which helps entrepreneurs in tech grow their companies via accelerator programs.
Kale chose to work as a venture capitalist because it was the most intriguing option that she saw and it was related to what she wanted to do in the future; tech and business.
“The coolest part of it was getting to meet entrepreneurs in that specific field of technology,” Kale said.
Kale is in the process of planning an event in a couple of months for the intersection of climate change and A.I. Meeting people in the field she wants to go in really helped her with what she wants to do in her future.
“Business is so big and technology is a big interest of mine,” Kale said. “So I think meeting new people and seeing what they have actually done in their fields has been really interesting for me to see.”