Treasure Acevedo is a graduate of River City High School’s Science, Engineering and Design integrated college and career pathway, also called the Science, Engineering and Design Academy (class of 2017). She enrolled in the Science, Engineering and Design pathway her sophomore year of High School and remained with a cohort of students in her pathway through her senior year. Treasure’s English class worked on an RFP for a Solar Panel project and her math and physics projects were focused on applying theoretical concepts to engineering problems. She also completed classes in Intermediate Electronics Technology AC / DC circuitry. In addition to Treasure’s practical experience with electronics engineering, her pathway experience also gave her leadership experience, taught her how to interact professionally, as well as tips for how interact with a supervisor.
While her pathway experience gave her the knowledge she needed to be ready not just for a career in electrical engineering, but for many different engineering careers as well. In the Summer of her Junior year she “was looking for an internship aligned with my interest in engineering”, when she found an internship opportunity with the City of West Sacramento’s Traffic and Transportation division. “Honestly I was a little bit intimidated at first. It seemed like I was totally not experienced for any of this at all, but I’m going to try. [The position described] GIS, AutoCAD software and stuff like that. I had no idea what GIS is, I had heard of AutoCAD and used Sketchup and maybe that can kind of co-align”.
According to Treasure, going through her pathways classes not only prepared her for how to talk to potential employers, how to communicate your knowledge gained in the classroom, and out of school experiences. She applied for the internship and was able to secure a phone interview. Treasure recounts that “When I was originally interviewed for the internship over the phone I didn’t really feel like I had a lot of experience, but [I told the City] this is what I’ve done with my schoolwork and my projects through the academy”. While her in classroom experience didn’t teach her about traffic and transportation engineering specifically, the supervisors of the traffic and transportation division of the Public Works Department in West Sacramento were impressed by the work and skills that Treasure learned in her pathway and offered her an internship.
During her internship Treasure learned how the traffic and transportation division supported the goals of the Public Works Department and how the Public Works Department advanced the strategic priorities for the city. Through her experience with the digital badge platform LRNG, Treasure was able to see “exactly what I was getting into” including what activities were required in the internship and what timeline was required for her to complete her activities. She appreciated the fact that her digital badges provided real world examples of her skills and capacities and could allow her to stand out professionally even though she was young. She was able to upload the work products she completed during her internship, and earned a digital badge from the Traffic and Transportation division of public works showcasing her achievement.
Treasure’s view of her schoolwork completely changed after the first year of her internship. Treasure says that “After I finished my first year of my internship I thought that doing specific work my senior year of high school made so much more sense”. She was able to understand why she was learning specific classroom content, because she new how those skill sets and knowledge base was going to relate to the outside world. “It makes a lot more sense to me now” says Treasure. She realized that “you can take what we were learning in our academy and use them in the workplace”.
Treasure is now a Freshman at Sacramento State majoring in Civil Engineering. Treasure choose to major in Civil Engineering because of her pathway, but chose a specialization in transportation engineering because of my experience as an intern. Treasure says that “I can take some of the things that I’ve learned in school and apply them to my college experience, it’s actually helped my college quite a bit. The GIS software that I’ve learned I can use in one of my classes in my Junior year” Additionally, she used the AutoCAD knowledge that she gained back in the classroom. She passed the required entry level engineering class easily because of the practical work-based learning that she learned on the job at the City of West Sacramento.
On reflecting on her past experiences, Treasure has this advice for pathway students who are thinking about applying for an internship: “Go for it”About the Program
According to Andrew Wallace, CFO and COO at Wallace-Kuhl and Associates, the career ready internship program of the West Sacramento Home Run “is working out really well for us”. Andrew is one of the leaders behind Wallace-Kuhl and Associates, an award-winning geotechnical engineering firm that provides services ranging from forensic engineering and geologic services, construction materials testing and special inspection, to environmental site assessments and ecological consulting services. A host of integrated college and career pathway interns since 2016.
Andrew sees the value for his business through the work products that interns generate and the value that they contribute to Wallace Kuhl and Associates bottom line. According to Andrew, internships not only provide Wallace Kuhl the opportunity to have access to some of the most talented members of our future workforce, but also to provides youth with the means to make their in-classroom experiences come to life. Of the interns Andrew says that “we put them with our professionals and train them and teach them to be productive. And they learn the theories and things they’ve learned in school applies to the real world and they figure out how they fit into that world”.