Connecting Classrooms with Careers and Communities

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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 professional 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.

Student at internship in university lab.

Nick Fontaine ’17 learned skills as a senior in AP Biology that, a few months later, helped him research the ebola virus as an intern with the Kay Lab in the University of Utah's Department of Biochemistry.

Sarv Raafati ’18 interns with Dr. Emil Cheng learning at Utah Spine Medicine conducting MRIs and interpreting the results.

Claire Hyde ’19 interns in a vet's office monitoring pets while they were under anesthesia.

Claire Hyde ’19 interns at Avenues Pet Clinic, monitoring pets while they are under anesthesia.

Anna Hull poses in front of the elevators leading to the offices of McNeill Von Maack where she was a case law intern.

Anna Hull poses in front of the elevators leading to the offices of McNeill Von Maack, where she was a case law intern.

Sydney Young ’19 interns as a gastroenterologist for St. Mark's Hospital and Dr. Holly Clark.

Available Internships

Below you will find a list of internship opportunities available to Rowland Hall students. Click on the internship title to learn more that internship and apply. If you have an interest that falls outside of the options on this list, contact Dr. Johnson for help looking for other opportunities.


Student with biomechanics sensors

This internship in the Biomechanics Laboratory at the Orthopedic Specialty Hospital is ideal for a student interested in kinesiology or a related medical/clinical field; specifically, students interested in the mechanics of human movement, injury assessment, and recovery should apply. The Human Performance Lab tests orthopedic patients to help assess their recovery using a three-dimensional motion capture system, in-ground force plates, and an instrumented treadmill designed to evaluate the forces and torques being generated at each of the joints of the body during dynamic movements such as walking and running.

Birds, Ecology, and Conservation at the University of Utah

Kyle Kittelberger is studying the migration and movement of birds both here in Utah and also in Turkey, focusing on how these movements are changing over time and what factors are impacting migrating birds. To do this, he bands birds in the field and collects information from them such as weight, measurements, and age. As a result, there is a lot of bird banding data that need to be proofed and checked for any errors, as this data will be used in analyses that will result in future published scientific papers. He accepts interns (year-round) to help him with this data proofing; additionally, when spring arrives, interns can join and help Kyle with banding of birds in the field in Red Butte Canyon.


Austin Green runs a large-mammal community science conservation project in the Wasatch using trail cameras. He accepts interns (year-round) to help him with fieldwork, setting up and maintaining cameras in the Wasatch, coordinating community scientists, and attending community science events. If you continue your internship with Mr. Green into the school year, you’ll have the opportunity to help him manage a database of camera trap photographs by entering and verifying species classifications.  You might also present to audiences at the Hogle Zoo, the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium, the Natural History Museum of Utah, and other events to help recruit and train volunteers.

Student in lab

Dr. Drakos is a professor of cardiology and the director of cardiovascular research at the division of cardiology at the University of Utah School of Medicine. As his intern, you will alternate between two rotations: one clinical rotation at the U of U hospital and a second research rotation at CVRTI. At the hospital, you will observe the clinical cardiology team taking care of patients in the ICU and the inpatient wards and outpatient clinics. At the lab/CVRTI, your level of engagement will determine how involved you become in medical research.

Large Carnivore Ecology at the University of Utah

David Blount is studying large carnivores in Eastern Turkey. His focus is understanding how bears, wolves, and lynx coexist in an area with very limited food resources. To do this, he uses GPS collars and camera traps while in Turkey. Once back in Utah, he uses his photos to train google AI to identify species in the camera traps. As his intern, you will help train the google AI by sorting camera trap photos on Wildlife Insights.

Law at McNeill Von Maack

An intern at McNeill Von Maack will be exposed to the complex commercial litigation and civil trial practices. While the specific activities will depend on the stage of the firm’s matters, an intern is likely to witness and help prepare for depositions, hearings, mediations, and trials.

The Sharing Place

The Sharing Place is a not-for-profit that supports children and families who have lost a parent or caregiver. They are looking for an intern for the summer who will provide some graphic design and layout for promotional and fundraising documents. You will also do some work in data entry and database management and possibly plan events they host for children ages 3 to 18. They will adapt projects to your interests to whatever degree possible.

Utah Department of Cultural & Community Engagement

The Department of Cultural & Community Engagement encompasses seven divisions: State History, State Library, Arts & Museums, Indian Affairs, Multicultural Affairs, UServe (the state's commission on volunteerism, which includes all of Utah's Americorps programs), and the STEM Action Center. They are looking for interns at every division, as well as at the department level, and interested interns will be directed to the division that best fits their interests and skills. 

Our Community Partners

Below is a sampling of community partners—many of whom provide opportunities over multiple years—that make our internship program possible.

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

Independent Private Beginning School Principal - Emma Wellman - Salt Lake City, Utah

Dr. Laura Johnson
Twelfth-Grade English and Publications Teacher, Internship Program Leadget to know Laura
Contact Laura

Stories About Internships

Student Samantha Lehman at the Utah state capitol.

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.

Student Voices

Jonah Holbrook '16 presenting at a conference.

Editor's note: this piece is republished from Rowland Hall's 2019–2020 Annual Report story "The Rowland Hall Internship Program: Connecting Classroom Learning to Careers and Community."

For Jonah Holbrook ’16, a Rowland Hall internship was more than a summer experience—it was the first step on his career path.

After taking Advanced Placement Biology as a junior, Jonah was reconsidering plans to study mechanical engineering in college. When he saw Rowland Hall's internship program advertising an opportunity at Michael S. Kay’s biochemistry lab at the University of Utah, he jumped at the chance to explore the field, and spent that summer assisting a PhD student researching a viable inhibitor for Ebola virus strains.

Jonah Holbrook '16 at the 2020 Pittsburgh Conference for Analytical Chemistry.

Jonah has come a long way from assisting researchers at the Kay lab. In early 2020, he presented his own research on point-of-care microfluidic diagnostics at Pittcon, an annual conference and expo organized by the Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy. Photo courtesy Jonah Holbrook.

The following summer, Dr. Kay recommended Jonah for a second internship at Navigen Pharmaceuticals, where, thanks to his Kay lab experience, Jonah transitioned from intern to assistant research scientist working on a lead inhibitor for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). He also took part in a weekly club where employees discussed conditions that may benefit from Navigen technology—Jonah researched how it could potentially inhibit a circulating peptide related to migraine headaches.

Reflecting on his Kay lab internship, Jonah said, “It helped me find my passion in terms of my career.”

In fall 2016, during his freshman year at Cal Poly, Jonah joined the Medical Design Club, which enables students to develop, research, design, and manufacture technology that improves quality of life. Jonah received permission from Navigen to pitch his migraine drug idea, and received funding. This experience led to the opportunity to run for club president (a position he held his sophomore through senior years), where he advised peers on a variety of projects, from an alternative EpiPen to a neurostimulator. It also helped him realize a desire to attend medical school, a goal he worked toward at Cal Poly alongside conducting his own research and returning to Navigen every summer to work on the RSV drug.

Reflecting on his Kay lab internship, Jonah said, “It helped me find my passion in terms of my career.” And he’s well on his way. After graduating with his bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering in May 2020, Jonah began working as a medical assistant to a vascular surgeon. He plans on starting medical school in fall 2021.

Top photo: Jonah with former Head of School Alan Sparrow at his 2016 graduation.