Not too many high school students get excited about sawder joints and crimps, but for OCS senior Josh Phillips, the chance to study such components as an intern with JRI Engineering, Inc., is the thrill of the summer.
"I am looking at a NASA drawing and trying to analyze how many cables there are and how many sawder joints and crimps there are which is cool because we get to see practically what we are doing as a lot of the harnesses that we have made have been on the Mars Rover and space shuttles," he said.
Phillips is part of the Oaks Christian Summer Internship Program which pairs OCS upperclassmen and college-age alumni with local businesses, such as the Westlake-based JRI Engineering. Along with fellow senior Allie Spaccarelli and junior Jordan Youhanaie, he applied and all three were hired by JRI for the summer.
The OCS internship program launched last year, and this year saw 55 applications submitted for 16 different internship opportunities.
"Opportunities like this help OCS students and alumni learn new skills and explore career interest in varied fields," said Director of Alumni Relations Laura Mason, who spearheaded the launch of the program.
Besides engineering, other internship areas include: business, non-profit, medicine, journalism, technology, real estate, entertainment, marketing, hospitality, construction, design, law, and accounting
For Phillips, Spaccarelli and Youhanaie, this was an opportunity they didn't want to miss! They began their internships at JRI early in June, and are already in the hub of engineering.
Spaccarelli is working with the engineering sales team. As part of the inner workings of a defense and aerospace supplier, Phillips and Youhanaie are learning quality control details, high quality standards, looking at drawings and learning the materials necessary for each component drawing.
"Engineering is one of my interests for college, I haven't narrowed down specifically to engineering, but at this internship I'm somewhat in the business aspect of it as well and that is also something else I am very interested in. I think this internship will help me narrow down my interests," Youhanaie shared.
Likewise, Phillips was motivated to apply for the JRI internships to explore all interests.
"I applied to this internship because I am interested in going in to either mechanical or electrical engineering, and with this company I actually get a little bit of both," he said.
They are right about internships helping narrow their focus. Time-tested research has proven that high school and college students who participate in at least one internship during their schooling years benefit from career definition as well as networking with professionals, skill acquisition, advancement opportunities, and self-confidence.
In one study, consulting firm Millennial Branding found that 89 percent of companies polled said high school students with internship experience have a competitive advantage when applying for college-level internships and full-time jobs.
"For all three of these Oaks Christian students, this is an experience of a lifetime. Learning goes beyond the classroom and Josh, Allie, and Jordan are all experiencing this firsthand this summer," said Mason.
Pictured: Josh Phillips, above, Allie Spaccarelli at desk, and Jordan Youhanaie, left.