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Summer Break Brings Continued Learning Opportunities for Students

Westview High Senior Lands Internship with NASA

Diana Tran works at her laptopWestview High senior Diana Tran’s summer plans are out-of-this-world. She was selected for an internship with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).  
Tran’s curiosity about space and science began at an early age. She enjoys researching planets and solar systems by watching documentaries and reading books. She also participates in Westview High’s Civil Engineering Pathway. When she got the opportunity to apply for the STEM Enhancement in Earth Science (SEES) program, a collaboration between NASA and the University of Texas, she couldn’t resist.
“I knew it would be a great opportunity to learn more about aerospace and other fields,” said Tran. “This will give me more of a look into real-life fields of experiments, research and engineering.”
The program accepts a small percentage of applicants. Rachael Arens, Ed.D., Westview High’s curriculum specialist, encouraged Tran to apply.
“This opens doors for awareness that these programs exist,” said Dr. Arens. “She is going to have a network of NASA scientists and mentors who can help prepare her for her STEM journey.”

Tran will spend the summer collecting data and studying orbital space debris. At the end of July, she will present her findings at the virtual SEES Science Symposium.
Tran is involved in a Westview High mentor program. She meets with freshmen students once a week, tutors them and helps them socially, academically or behaviorally. Part of the NASA program focuses on students building their leadership skills. Tran will be able to apply what she learns and share with the students she mentors.

Cousins Carry Family Bond to the Classroom

Maria DelRosario Degante and Wendy DeganteWhen Maria DelRosario Degante asked her cousin Wendy Degante to apply as an intern for Omaha Public Schools summer program, Next Level Learning (NLL), she hoped to share the experience with someone close to her.
Now, the Bryan High juniors are supporting teachers in the classroom at Gateway Elementary as paid student interns. They even ended up in kindergarten classrooms right next door to each other.
“It’s always fun doing something when there’s someone you know who’s doing it too,” said Wendy. “We like to help each other out, and we get to share this experience.”
Both Maria and Wendy plan to pursue a career in education because they share a love for helping children. They are among 200 high school student interns supporting NLL at more than 30 schools districtwide.
“I love when they [students] get excited when they do something right,” said Maria. “This is important because we’re students helping students, and I’m using this as an opportunity to see if it’s what I want to do in the future.”

During NLL, interns act as extra hands in the classroom. They work with students on reading skills and strategies, help with lunch and recess, and support teachers and paraprofessionals in the classroom.
“It’s very helpful, especially in the primary grades,” said Stacy Kobsa, Gateway Elementary kindergarten teacher. “If they want to pursue a career in education, this gives them an idea of what’s going on and helps them decide whether to pursue it further.”
Kindergarten teacher Jordan Lyons says it’s amazing to see the interns connect with the younger students and hopes this program continues long into the future.
“The kids love working with Wendy and look forward to one-on-one time with her,” said Lyons. “This gives them [interns] an opportunity in the summer to make some money and do something for their district that’s super meaningful.”

June 2024

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