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Mallory1School-to-Work (STW) is an internship program for seniors that emphasizes professional skills and adds value to our business partners.  In the fall, students prepare by taking a career development course during term 1. Students typically work at one employer for terms 2, 3, and 4 for two blocks per day.

We asked STW student Mallory Kell about her experience with the program and her
internship. Here is what she had to say:

Where do you work?
Central Iowa Orthodontics

What is your future area of study?

What were you hoping to learn going into your internship?
Going into my internship, I had never actually been to an orthodontist, however, I thought that this was a career field I wanted to go into. I was hoping to gain the knowledge to be able to make the decision before going into college if it was something I truly wanted to pursue.

What have you learned?
I have not only learned new skills that pertain to Orthodontics, but I have also learned new workplace skills such as interviewing, the importance of building relationships with coworkers, and workplace etiquette that will last me a lifetime.

What do you do on a daily basis at your internship?
I spend the first half of my day in the lab, where I have the ability to make retainers and pour models of patients’ teeth for the doctors to look at. During the second half of my day, I spend doing more clerical work such as going through schedules and filing folders.

Do you still want to work in this field in the future?
Yes. I plan to major in Human Physiology on a pre-dental track at the University of Iowa next year.

What technical skills have you gained from this experience?
I have gained many skills working in an orthodontic lab, such as making retainers, making models of teeth, and sterilization.

Why should other students consider work-based learning?
Work-based learning is important because it is applicable to many people’s futures. Gaining this experience in high school gives you a huge head start on learning to be in the workforce, which will allow you to succeed in future jobs. Continually, it is crucial in helping students discover their skills and interests because an occupation may seem appealing on paper, but being able to experience the occupation truly gives you a special insight into whether a job fits you. This is helpful for students as they plan beyond high school.

What advice would you give your younger self/future students?
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and try something new because there is a good chance it will guide your future and help you find the best fit. Work to build connections because they can help mentor and guide you to new opportunities.

Have questions about our School-to-Work Internship program?  Reach out to coordinators Scott Carlson or Mindi Heitland.