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Students plan summer jobs around passions

As summer break approaches, Paly students look forward to attend summer programs to learn about topics that pique their interests or participate in internships and jobs. However, many students in Palo Alto engage in programs that deviate from the norm of summer teenage jobs, such lifeguards and baristas. From business interns to assistant theatre costumers, these students hope to gain more experience in a specific career path.

Christopher Clark: MIT Launch

This summer, Paly sophomore Christopher Clark will attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Launch, a four-week program on the school’s campus. The program works with high school students to launch real startups and build their entrepreneurial skills.

After searching for programs relating to entrepreneurships on the Internet, Clark found MIT Launch and believed it would be a good fit for him.

“Growing up in the Silicon Valley, the entrepreneurial environment has rubbed off on me,” Clark said. “My true passion is to become an entrepreneur and start a business.”

Clark was introduced to the facets of real-world business after interning with a startup called SerCle, a company that specializes in improving the workflow of small businesses, where he learned about how marketing in businesses operate.

Last year, Clark supported Synopsys Silicon Valley Science & Technology Outreach Foundation, a nonprofit by teaching computer science courses. The program aims to provide a STEM education to underprivileged youth in the community.

“To me, an entrepreneur is passionate about making other people’s lives better by identifying problems and developing solutions,” Clark said. “I thought to myself, ‘what can I do to help others?’ I realized that many underserved youth lack a solid STEM education.”

Currently, Clark teaches a Java coding class and a 3D design class with the program

“This endeavor has opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities,” Clark said. “I realized that every little difference I make in my community helps. I hope that by attending MIT Launch, I can turn those little differences into even bigger differences, and make an even greater impact on the world.”

India Phills: Assistant Costumer

Paly sophomore India Phills will work for eight weeks as an assistant costumer and camp counselor at the Hope Musical Theatre (HMT) summer program at Paly. Each session of the program lasts ten days, in which campers prepare to put on a musical with the help of professional choreographers and directors.

When Phills was young, she was a camper at HMT. She hopes to give back to the program and people who inspired her.

“I always looked up to the counselors in training (CIT) and the staff,” Phills said. “I knew that when I became too old to be a camper, I wanted to do that.”

Previously, Phills worked as a CIT, an unpaid position. After years of dedication to the program, Phills was offered a full-time summer job at HMT, where she works not only behind the scenes to ensure the show runs smoothly, but also as a role model for the campers.

“I help fit kids for costumes for the show, dress them on show days, fix costume pieces that have broke, help with sign in and out and lead activities,” Phills said.

Phills is excited to return to HMT again this summer and share her theatre and leadership experiences with the campers.

“It’s a great place,” Phills said. “Getting to go from camper to counselor in training to staff member and getting to be on the other side of the table is a super cool thing to experience.”

Miguel Moreno: Business Intern

In the second week of June, Paly junior Miguel Moreno will intern for Metadata. Over the course of three months, he will about the ins and outs of sales and marketing.

“I will help the sales team try to inform other companies if they would be interested in Metadata’s services and any of their marketing needs,” Moreno said.

In his sophomore year, Moreno took Business Law at Paly, which encouraged him to broaden his horizons and pursue a possible future career in the business field.

“I’m interested in business, specifically marketing, and wanted to learn how it could be applied in the workforce,” Moreno said.

To continue his exploration in the business world, Moreno joined two of Paly’s business clubs: Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), where students learn about business through competitive conferences, and Next Generation Investing (NGV), which informs students about the role of finance in the business world.

After Moreno heard about the internship from a family friend, he decided to apply his past experiences and knowledge to the real world.

“Business is just one of the many things I currently have an interest in, so being able to have an internship relating to it will really open my eyes whether or not I want to continue this interest in the future,” Moreno said.

Chloe Hong: SIMR

Chloe Hong, a Paly junior, will participate in Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program (SIMR), an eight-week intensive research program that focuses on biological sciences and medicine to teach students about how scientific research is performed. Unlike other summer programs, SIMR has an acceptance rate of 3 percent and participatints will receive a stipend.

On June 12, Hong will begin her  biomedical research and work on bioengineer projects.

In her freshman year, while taking Biology Honors with Ms. Loomis, Hong’s interest in biology grew.

“I would sometimes sit in on other biology classes during my prep,” Hong said. The teacher told me, ‘go do something fun!’ My response was, ‘this is fun!’”

Currently, Hong participates in Paly Science Olympiad, a selective club that offers over 20 competitive events, and Paly Science Bowl, where teams face off in a fast-paced science quiz bowl.

Over time, Hong has developed a true passion for science, specifically in biology, and expresses it throughout her daily life.

“Walk down any street with me in Palo Alto, and I’ll probably stop to point out the differences between male and female cones on a nearby conifer or pause to identify a passing songbird,” Hong said. “I have an authentic interest in what I do, and I choose to do it because I want to, not for the purpose of ‘looking good on the application.”

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