- Durham Public Schools
DPS IT Interns Visit Governor’s Mansion
When Joy Malone, Executive Director of DPS Information Technology, received an invitation to speak at the North Carolina Governor’s Mansion on May 17 to share about the DPS IT Summer Internship Program, she gave center stage to the two students who accompanied her. The trio visited the Mansion courtesy of the North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE). NCBCE operates out of the office of the Governor.
Hillside New Tech High School Senior Zachery Tucker and J. D. Clement Early College Senior Le’lah McKoy are two of eight students who participated in a paid internship program last summer developed by Malone in collaboration with Dr. Julie Pack, Executive Director of DPS Career and Technical Education. Prior to the pandemic, DPS was considered a three-to-one (3:1) district, averaging one technology device per three students. To facilitate remote instruction, DPS received approximately 31,000 Chromebooks through the CARES Act and other private funding sources, to become a 1:1 district. Malone quickly realized that receiving the devices was the blessing, while supporting the devices with no additional headcount was the curse. Dr. Pack came to the rescue and engaged school-based Career Development Coordinators in recruiting students to apply for the DPS IT internships.
“This was our strategy to attract CTE students to a real-world IT opportunity while solving the challenges we faced with supporting a new 1:1 district. It was true work-based learning,” said Malone.
Students were chosen from Hillside New Tech, Hillside, Riverside, J.D. Clement Early College, and Durham School of the Arts. They were on-boarded and paired with a mentor from DPS IT, given an opportunity to choose their specialty interest, and asked to journal their experience for a final presentation after the internship ended.
Zachery and Le’lah were all in. Both share that helping others through this work was fulfilling.
Zachery, who worked alongside the technology administrator at Hillside High School, describes it as “almost exhilarating that we were able to work and see how much goes into IT. We were engaged in solving problems step by step so teachers were able to teach their classes.” Upon graduation, Zachery will be attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he is majoring in Business Administration with an interest in Analytics.
Le’lah, a Senior at Early College, said she changed her mind from majoring in Computer Science to a major in Business Information Technology after working with Malone to tackle the challenge of making the internet accessible to those who didn’t have it and experiencing first-hand the power of knowledge and strategy. Le’lah received a merit-based scholarship for $28,000 and is excited to be heading to Malone’s alma mater, NC A&T State University, to earn her college credentials.
“It made me feel good once it was over. I love helping people, and I love helping people in my community. This generation relies on technology so we have to learn it,” she said.
Accompanying Malone to the Governor's Mansion to speak about their experiences was unforgettable, said Zachery. “It was exciting being surrounded by great, impactful people.”
This year’s summer internship opportunity will be expanded to 10 students. Applications for participation can be found here.