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RTP Companies Host Students for Spring Break Work Experiences

May 5, 2017

Twenty-nine high school students from schools across Durham decided to spend their Spring Break a bit differently this year. The new DPS Scholars-At-Work Program placed them into Research Triangle Park companies such as Cisco, GSK, Environmental Protection Agency, and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), where they engaged with employees representing a variety of roles and functions, toured the corporate campuses, and participated in hands-on activities exposing them to the world of work.

When asked during the closing session if the experience changed what the students plan to do as a career, nearly every hand went up. “After interning with NIEHS, I’ve decided to pursue a career as a scientist or researcher,” said Benjamin Stone Kurtz of the DPS Performance Learning Center. “I want to work at NIEHS someday”. 

The host companies gave rave reviews of the new program. “Having the students learn about being in a corporate environment and all of the possibilities is something I wish I had in high school,” said Kristina Isaac of GSK. “It’s so hard to know at that age exactly what you want to do so giving them that broad exposure and mentorship is invaluable.”

Data shows that around 40% of Durham’s young people may not be on track to complete high school, achieve a post-secondary credential, or obtain employment by age 25. Workplace exposure brings relevance to what they are learning in school, helps them chart a career path, and builds their resume so they’ll be marketable upon graduation.

Scholars-At-Work is a program of DPS Career & Technical Education, underwritten this year by a generous donation from AW North Carolina.



EPA professionals engage in "speed mentoring" with program participants