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Students attend WorkX program, share takeaways

Eden Leavey
Kaila Brooks (’24), Amrita D’Souza (’23), Olivia Ford (’24) and Nick Ghantous (’23) consider their internship experiences. The WorkX program took place over the summer and allowed students to navigate a professional work environment.

Open to Grade 10-12 students, the WorkX summer program provides opportunities for students to gain work experience and speak with professionals in their fields of interest. Applications for WorkX are read by employers, and thereafter students are contacted by the WorkX committee about the employer’s decision.

After receiving their internships in the spring, four students reflect on their WorkX experiences.

University College London Bartlett School of Architecture

In a five-day WorkX program hosted by the Dean of the Bartlett School of Architecture Christoph Lindner at University College London, Olivia Ford (’24) said she investigated the structure and impact of buildings with a focus on the environment.

Ford said her favorite component of the program was how each day’s schedule differed so drastically. Prominent activities included research assignments, staff lunches, the Bartlett Summer Show 2022 and a program closing ceremony.

Ford said the lunch meetings with Bartlett staff members were a highlight of the experience as she was able to hear from university students about both architecture and their take on UCL.

“We got to hear what their ideas were for the upcoming school years,” Ford said. “They also told me about how much they loved UCL, which was honestly great just thinking about college applications, about where I want to go.”


Consequently, Ford said attending the WorkX placement opened her eyes to the possibility of attending a British university.

Ford also said she was able to interact with Bartlett students at the summer show, an architecture exhibition, by discussing the reasoning behind each of the buildings displayed. She said opportunities to interact with experienced individuals helped her to develop a stronger sense of self-confidence while communicating within the workplace.

Sometimes it can be a bit daunting, but I think throwing yourself into new environments with totally different people is part of the process.

— Olivia Ford ('24)

“It helps build social skills, you get more comfortable talking to new people,” Ford said. “Especially because it was a completely new environment, sometimes it can be a bit daunting, but I think throwing yourself into new environments with totally different people is part of the process.”

Habitat for Humanity Great Britain

Logging on via Zoom each morning, Kaila Brooks (’24) said she attended a two-week virtual internship program with the Habitat for Humanity Great Britain organization.

Brooks said she spent the first week working on social media and blogs for the website, and the second week researching supply chains and possible collaborations with other companies.

Brooks said she found the program to be incredibly rewarding as a whole.

“It was really cool to see they’re actually making a difference in a lot of people’s lives,” Brooks said. “I’m contributing to that, and I think it was good to work for a nonprofit because that’s kind of the stuff I’m interested in.”

Furthermore, Brooks said she was assigned a checklist of tasks to complete each week, which was supplemented with a daily check-in meeting online for about 15 minutes to plan her schedule and ask clarifying questions. She said she worked between five and six hours every day to accomplish her tasks.

Brooks said the biggest challenge she faced was “being proactive” when she faced confusion surrounding instructions. Following the internship, she said she learned what a vital skill of self-advocacy is in the workplace.

If someone is looking for that work experience and learn a bit about something they might be interested in pursuing for their future, I think it’s definitely a good experience.

— Kaila Brooks ('24)

Brooks said she would recommend WorkX because it gives students a taste of what a professional work environment is like.

“If someone is looking for that work experience and looking to see what the work environment is like and learn a bit about something they might be interested in pursuing for their future, I think it’s definitely a good experience,” Brooks said.

Hektoen Institute of Medicine

Nick Ghantous (’23) said he spent a month working with a physician named Dr. Franklin on an article about “the physical benefits of the prayers in Islam” for the Hektoen International online journal.

Similar to Brooks, Ghantous also attended his WorkX virtually. Spanning Aug. 8-19, Ghantous said he met with Dr. Franklin every three days to discuss the progress made researching and writing his article.

Ghantous said due to the online set-up of the internship, he was able to complete his assigned work at times that worked best for his schedule.

“The flexibility that the institute offered made it so much more enjoyable,” Ghantous said. “I was able to dive into the research on my own time, which made it way more fulfilling.”

Looking back, Ghantous said WorkX opened his eyes to the possibility of combining his academic interests with personal passions.

“It helped me look into how science is used in the research world,” Ghantous said. “It is encouraging me to pursue a career or a [college major in] science, biology, chemistry, whatever it may be, because stepping into the real world with such topics can be fun and engaging.”

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP | Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Amrita D’Souza (’23) said she attended two WorkX programs at law firms this summer.

While interning at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, D’Souza said she mostly attended to “administrative tasks” such as proofreading, editing and researching. She said one stand-out activity was being able to sit in on internal meetings with professional lawyers and take notes.

However, D’Souza said she found the experience underwhelming at times due to the lack of work.

“It was a little bit challenging because a lot of people worked from home and there was nobody else with me,” D’Souza said. “It was really kind of awkward because I would just be sitting there for sometimes a couple of hours and not really have much to do.”

Communicating in a corporate environment felt a little bit different.

— Amrita D'Souza ('23)

Alternatively, D’Souza said there was a group of interns at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.  D’Souza said she found this WorkX placement to be much more structured, incorporating presentations, meetings, assignments and one-on-one time with a mentor into the schedule.

D’Souza said one takeaway she has from the summer is how to “communicate in a different context” as she noticed the shift in professionalism from a classroom to a law firm.

“Sometimes we’d have to break up tasks between ourselves, that felt a bit more like school,” D’Souza said. “But generally, communicating in a corporate environment felt a little bit different.”

Ultimately, D’Souza said the internships assured her that pursuing law was the path she wanted to take.

“I always knew I wanted to study law while in university before I did the WorkX,” D’Souza said. “It just solidified that and also gave me more of a day-to-day sense of what an actual career would look like.”

WorkX quote collection by Eden Leavey

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About the Contributor
Eden Leavey, Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Print
Eden Leavey (’24) is the Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Print of The Standard. Leavey’s passion for storytelling prompted her to join The Standard in Grade 9. Beyond journalism, she looks to tell stories through creative writing and photography as well as dance and movement. Separate from The Standard, Leavey leads the Sustainability Council and the Feminist Literature Book Club.

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