Intern Perspectives: The Importance of a High School Internship

Ifra Syed did her high school internship in 2022.

As a senior at Paint Branch High School, I have learned many valuable things about life. As an intern at Urban Alliance (UA), I gained experiences and learned lessons I would never have imagined myself having as a high school student and before graduating college. Joining UA changed my life for the better. It prepared me for college and the workplace, and most importantly, it let me step into the real world.  

I first discovered UA in my junior year during the pandemic. School was online and I was not sure how my senior year would turn out. The program coordinators at UA told us that they would train us, help us gain more skills, and then connect us to a paid internship with one-on-one mentoring. It almost sounded too good to be true, but when I started my journey, I was quickly proven wrong. It first began with the application process, which was amazingly easy. All I had to do was answer a few questions with answers that felt true to me. After my acceptance, our daily workshops started at the beginning of senior year. Each day we learned a new skill or value that would help us in the workplace or guide us in life. From talking about things like building connections to financial planning to improving your resume, my program coordinator worked with the interns closely to make sure we picked up and implemented these skills in our lives.  

Urban Alliance is an esteemed national nonprofit that prides itself on building a new generation of diverse young adults who dream big and are able to achieve their goals. Their High School Internship Program (HSIP) provides 12th graders with early access to job training, networks, one-on-one mentoring, and post high school support all with a paid internship. As UA’s flagship program, HSIP provides high schoolers with critical skills and experiences that everyone should have before graduating. No matter what path you choose after high school, UA prepares you for your future and guides you to help you choose what is right. 

What I love about Urban Alliance is how they create close relationships with their interns along with continuous support. There is never a second where I felt like I had no one to ask for guidance. The program coordinators and mentors have worked with me to help me get the best out of this experience and push me towards achieving greatness. In my time at Urban Alliance, I have been able to work in a dentist’s office and get hands on experience and recently I started interning with UA’s communications team. I have been able to gain important skills like time management, teamwork, proper communication, and responsibility.  

I am grateful that I was provided with the opportunity to join Urban Alliance’s High School Internship Program. I invite rising seniors to apply for the program and other underclassmen to consider participating in their senior year; it will truly set you up for a fun senior year and a bright future.  

For more information and how to apply visit the HSIP page and the UA Greater DC page.