When students have authentic, real-world experiences, they develop the professionalism, passion, and skills needed to navigate today's world.
Rowland Hall is proud to offer a robust summer internship program that helps students explore careers through practical experiences. Established in 2013—originally as a senior job shadow program called Project 12—our internship program exposes Rowland Hall sophomores, juniors, and seniors to a variety of workplaces and encourages them to apply classroom learning to real-world tasks.
Rowland Hall's internship program is made possible by community partners, many of whom are passionate about involving students in their projects and research instead of expecting them to simply observe. Our internship participants spend at least one summer month working with these professionals and, thanks to their generosity, learn new skills, gather information about fields of interest, and conquer workplace dilemmas—experiences that help them embody our school’s mission of leading ethical and productive lives.
Upper School English and publications teacher Dr. Laura Johnson manages Rowland Hall’s internship program and works closely with professionals across the Salt Lake community to match mentors to students’ interests, whether they wish to shadow a physician or a pastry chef.
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- Alliance for a Better Utah
- HawkWatch International
- Huntsman Cancer Institute
- Intermountain Healthcare Orthopedics
- Intermountain Nurse Midwives
- McNeill Von Maack
- Natural History Museum of Utah
- People's Health Clinic
- Salt Lake City Police Department
- Salt Lake County Mayor’s Office
- St. Mark’s Hospital Gastroenterology
- TOSH (The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital)
- University of Utah Department of Biology
- University of Utah Heath, Cardiology
- Utah Spine Medicine
- YWCA Utah
Want to become a community partner and offer an internship to a student? Fill out the form below.
I continue to be impressed by the students at Rowland Hall and look forward to continuing to participate in this program.—Rowland Hall intern mentor
“Such a Good Fit”: Senior Diego Ize-Cedillo Reflects on Unexpected People’s Health Clinic Internship
For 10 years and counting, Rowland Hall’s Upper School internship program has played a role in shaping the people our world needs.
Established in summer 2013 (then known as Project 12, a senior job shadow program), the summer internship program has exposed more than 150 Rowland Hall sophomores, juniors, and seniors to a variety of careers, helping them build real-world skills, explore professions, and even uncover their passions. And the program’s future continues to look bright: this summer, which marked its 10th anniversary, the program had its highest number of participants to date.
English and publications teacher Dr. Laura Johnson, known as LBJ to students, manages the internship program and sees the many benefits these opportunities provide to Rowland Hall students who are thinking about their future careers and the impact they could have.
“Through our internship program, students get exposure to various professions and what going into those professions entails,” said Dr. Johnson. “They see in real time where there are gaps in our systems—medical systems, social systems, governmental systems, and so on—and consider the roles they might play in filling those gaps.”
Through our internship program, students get exposure to various professions and what going into those professions entails. They see in real time where there are gaps in our systems—medical systems, social systems, governmental systems, and so on—and consider the roles they might play in filling those gaps.—Dr. Laura Johnson, English and publications teacher, internship program manager
And while students often come to Dr. Johnson for help in finding internships that meet their interests or career goals, it can work the other way around too. This was certainly the case for now-senior Diego Ize-Cedillo, who, in spring 2023, was approached by Dr. Johnson about a new opportunity for the Rowland Hall internship program. People’s Health Clinic, a nonprofit medical clinic in Park City that provides high quality, no-cost health care to uninsured residents of Summit and Wasatch Counties, was looking for volunteer medical assistants, and because such a high percentage of the clinic’s patients speak Spanish, they wanted a fluent Spanish speaker. Many Upper School teachers, including Dr. Johnson, thought Diego, who is bilingual as well as emotionally mature, empathetic, and curious, may be the right fit for the role. And although Diego, who comes from a family of medical professionals, hadn’t considered a career in medicine, he was excited about the opportunity—especially because it would allow him to share his language skills in a way that would give back to the Park City community, where he and his family live.
“LBJ brought it to me and it was such a good fit,” said Diego. “I was like, ‘That sounds so cool.’” It would also give him the chance to learn more about People’s Health Clinic, a community resource he was shocked he hadn’t known existed until then. “It showed my ignorance,” he said.
So for three months this summer, Diego rose early to report to People’s Health Clinic at 8 am, where he’d receive his daily assignment. (Diego worked five half days each week, and though his title was volunteer medical assistant, he was paid for his work.) As an intern, Diego provided both administrative support (answering phones, scheduling appointments, notifying patients of lab results) and was trained to assist doctors by taking vitals, completing patients’ medical history questionnaires and depression/anxiety screenings, charting, and acting as a translator during appointments, among other duties. Diego said this work could be nerve-racking at times, given doctors’ seniority and knowledge, and because he knew he was responsible for providing accurate, thorough information to provide the best care to patients. “There’s this sense of accountability—real mistakes have real consequences and can affect people's health,” he explained.
But even though the role could be intimidating, Diego also understood what an incredible opportunity it offered him to get hands-on experience in a variety of medical specialties, and to be coached by the People’s Health Clinic team. “I had great mentors who showed me how to do everything,” he said.
Beyond the hard medical skills he gained, though, what Diego may be most grateful for from his unexpected internship is how it opened his eyes to the most vulnerable in his community. “People’s Health Clinic is really trying to help a population that sometimes people choose to not see,” said Diego, despite the fact that these community members play vital roles in the tourism industry that Park City is known for. The clinic even goes beyond providing high-quality, essential medical care by helping patients find resources that support their overall well-being.
“What’s really important to the clinic are social questions: Who’s running out of food? Who needs a stable place to live? Who’s struggling with transportation?” said Diego. He saw firsthand how the clinic works to acknowledge and care for all community members as part of health care. “Empathy is essential in order to provide good quality care,” explained Diego in an internship reflection assignment. “I saw how the doctors … took the time to empathize with everyone, asking them about their living situations, food insecurity, and issues with transportation, as well as truly dedicating time and energy to finding the best course of treatment.”
Dr. Johnson said this kind of understanding about one’s ability to make the world a better place within a chosen profession is a strong takeaway for many Rowland Hall interns. “I’ve watched students become fired up to address inequities in nursing care, or to follow in their mentors' footsteps to create a more representative democracy at the state level,” she said. “On the ground, they see the kinds of people the world needs, often in their mentors; they see the need for more such people; and they see how they can continue and further the kinds of projects they contribute to over one high school summer.”
Dr. Mairi Leining, chief executive officer of People’s Health Clinic and a Rowland Hall parent and trustee, said she’s touched by Diego’s takeaways from his summer at the clinic. “That’s the awareness that comes with working with the vulnerable population, and it speaks to how important it is to work for nonprofits addressing these needs,” she said. Dr. Leining also complimented Diego’s work, calling him an exceptional intern and praising his natural ability to connect with patients, to break down medical conversations for them, and to make them feel comfortable.
“He was responsible, dedicated to the patients and the importance of his role,” she shared. “He was able to adapt to challenging patient situations very quickly and with a maturity that I haven’t seen out of high school students in the past. It wasn’t just his Spanish skills, but his intuition in helping patients and discerning urgent from not urgent—usually you need a lot of clinical experience to know how to react to these situations.”
In turn, Diego is grateful for People’s Health Clinic’s patients and the many lessons they taught him this summer.
These mentors have inspired my future professional goals. What's more clear than ever to me is that I want to dedicate my life to doing something that helps people on the ground. I think this will be the key to a fulfilled life, and I look forward to finding out how I will help the world be a better place for everyone.—Diego Ize-Cedillo, class of 2024
“The patients taught me the value of shared humanity and of realizing that we might be different—we might not go to the same schools or interact often—but in the end, everyone is human and has this essential right to health care,” he said. “In a world so polarized, this experience showed me we need to realize that divisions and differences are superficial, and creating the world we want requires a recognized shared humanity—realizing that in the end we are all human and we all have undeniable human rights. In its simplest form: we need to be kind to each other now more than ever.”
Diego expressed his gratitude to all who made this valuable internship experience possible and said he hopes to return to the clinic as a volunteer after graduating in June. Whatever lies ahead, he shared, he knows he’ll carry the experience with him and it will shape his future.
“I want people to know how grateful I am to LBJ and all the mentors at the clinic for such a unique opportunity,” said Diego. “Please, know how grateful I am for my invaluable time at the clinic, and that I left with this sense that there are such good people in this world—people who are so kind and so selfless and dedicated to others. These mentors have inspired my future professional goals. What's more clear than ever to me is that I want to dedicate my life to doing something that helps people on the ground. I think this will be the key to a fulfilled life, and I look forward to finding out how I will help the world be a better place for everyone.”
Are you a Rowland Hall student or parent who’s interested in the Upper School internship program? Check out our internship web page to view available opportunities or reach out to Dr. Laura Johnson for help finding an internship that meets your interests.
We are also always looking for professionals who are willing to host Rowland Hall interns. Submit your internship opportunity.
As Utah House of Representatives Podcast Guest, Samantha Lehman Is Helping to Spread Awareness of Pandemic’s Effect on Students’ Mental Health
At the beginning of June, rising Rowland Hall senior Samantha Lehman began an internship for the Utah House of Representatives majority staff. She spent two weeks sitting in on appropriations and caucus meetings, communicating important information through social media, and researching everything from local procedures for foreign diplomats visiting Utah to water and transportation policy (did you know that 32,933,228,764 miles were driven on Utah roads in 2019? Neither did Samantha!).
While working at the capitol, Samantha was approached by Harry Hansen, communications manager and podcast host, who asked to interview her for the Utah House of Representatives Podcast about her experience attending high school during a pandemic. She said yes, and when Harry asked if there was anything specific she wanted to talk about, Samantha immediately answered, “Mental health.” Below, Samantha, a Rowland Hall mental health educator and this year’s student body president, reflects on why she chose to focus that discussion on the toll the pandemic is taking on students' mental well-being.
Mental Health and the Pandemic: A High Schooler’s Perspective
By Samantha Lehman, Class of 2022
The movies don’t lie when they say that high school is tough.
I, and many other students, found it hard to stay motivated and to care about things we were previously interested in. I felt alone, helpless, burned out, and like I was a failure for not being more engaged. It was as if Earth’s gravity had suddenly increased: everything looked the same, but it was harder to lift myself up.
Homework, studying, and the epic highs and lows of extracurriculars are enormously stressful, so a balance between friends and work can help make school manageable. However, the pandemic meant students were isolated in their rooms, unable to be around their friends, making school feel more strenuous and boring. Additionally, in-person class is hard to replicate on Zoom. There’s just not the same energy, and focusing is near impossible when a) you have been staring at a screen for hours at a time, and b) the world of the internet is at your fingertips (I’ll be fully transparent here: I definitely watched The Office instead of paying attention in class more than a couple of times). As the year went on, many students found it harder and harder to keep up with work and make themselves pay attention to what they were supposed to be learning, even if they were able to be in person at school some of the time. I, and many other students, found it hard to stay motivated and to care about things we were previously interested in. I felt alone, helpless, burned out, and like I was a failure for not being more engaged. It was as if Earth’s gravity had suddenly increased: everything looked the same, but it was harder to lift myself up.
Another problem with school during a pandemic is repetitive thoughts. When you’re stuck at home all day in front of a computer with nothing but your brain to keep you company, repetitive thoughts become a real problem. My brain kept telling me, “You should be doing better at school,” or, “You’re a horrible student and don’t deserve to be here,” and, “You’re a failure.” After hearing those things again and again, I started to believe them. Unfortunately, many of my classmates had this experience as well, and they struggled with school and their mental health as a result.
For some students, having their routine dramatically switched up by the pandemic was a huge challenge. For others, they enjoyed being online for school, perhaps because they are uncomfortable in many social situations, so going back in person towards the end of the year was a hard adjustment. Maybe a student lost a relative or a friend during or to the pandemic and didn’t get the community support they needed. Regardless of the reason, the pandemic impacted every student’s mental health in some way, and that may have long-lasting effects, even if this school year looks a little more normal.
I think it’s important to realize that mental health is not a reason a person isn’t strong. You can be strong and still struggle with your mental health.
I think it’s important to realize that struggling with mental health is not a reason a person isn’t strong. You can be strong and still struggle with your mental health. Take Simone Biles, for example. She has 31 Olympic and World Championship medals and pulled out of the Olympic team competition to prioritize her mental health. That’s strength if I’ve ever seen it. A person also doesn’t have to be diagnosed with something like anxiety, OCD, or depression to need to take time to prioritize their mental health. Brains are weird and life is hard.
As we continue to navigate the pandemic, the advice I’d give to parents and guardians is to remember it’s important to realize that kids need time to recharge and get their heads on straight to succeed. It’s OK for kids to feel tired and want to take breaks from work, and caregivers should encourage them to prioritize their mental health as well as support their kids in times of struggle. My parents support me by reminding me that they are there for me and by never judging or criticizing me for struggling with mental health.
Additionally, as students, we need to remember to support each other. There is never a bad time to tell a friend that they are doing great and that you are there for them. As a community, we need to continue to uplift each other and give each other the space to put mental health first.