Senior Work Internships

The Senior Work initiative is an internship program that is required for all seniors.

Why is Senior Work an essential component of the learning experience at Calhoun?

At Calhoun we believe that teaching and learning begin with the needs, interests, questions and diverse life experiences of the individual student, who works to create meaning of self, community and the world. Students learn by doing; by constructing knowledge, collaborating in the real work of the school community and the world beyond the school, and by engaging as citizens to promote social justice and democracy. To this end, each year at Calhoun features curriculum designed to empower and prepare students for their future lives as citizens in a changing, challenging world. The senior project gives students the opportunity to practice the skills and self confidence they have acquired.

How is the Senior Work initiative implemented?

Students spend a part of their third mod (Jan/Feb) reflecting on their interests and meeting with Senior Work advisors to identify a short list of possible internships. Seniors are required to develop working resumes that will serve as tools to introduce them to potential site supervisors. Advisors on the senior work team work closely with seniors to polish these documents. Students, Senior Work advisors and faculty work together to mine school and community networks to identify internships for our students. Students will often be required to participate in interviews and preliminary vetting of internship sites. Site partners are encouraged to create meaningful and stimulating opportunities that ask the seniors to grow new capacities and talents.

While on internships, seniors are required to check in with Senior Work advisors for a once-a-week required session at Calhoun. During these sessions, students explore critical questions stemming from the historical to the changing nature of work in our society. On completion of the internship, seniors share their learning with current students, faculty, parents, site supervisors, alumni and other members of the Calhoun community via an afternoon exhibition.

Testimonials from Mentors

"We have enjoyed having a variety of Calhoun students mentor with us for the past 15 years. These in-depth mentorships allow senior students to have daily interactions with our staff of doctors, nurses and patients on the floor. They attend outpatient offices, watch surgical procedures in operating rooms and additionally, handle scientific research and observe an academic teaching environment. The Calhoun students we have mentored are interested, very motivated and end up with a rich, vibrant learning experience. As a mentor, it is valued teaching moments like these that are inspiring, knowing that these internships can motivate a student to do well in college, strive for desired goals and find fulfilled meaningfulness in their future career paths."--Dr Steven Wolf, Director of Pediatric Epilepsy, Mt Sinai School of Medicine


"Our Calhoun senior intern in 2015 was eager but not over-eager, smart but knew to show us instead of telling us; it was a pleasure to have her work with our small team. We threw her into many tasks with little to no preparation, and she managed to accomplish each assignment effectively and with aplomb. She was not our first intern from Calhoun-- we had had a terrific experience the year before and learned that hosting an intern takes preparation. We had two staff meetings prior to her start and made lists of little projects that had been back-burnered for far too long. Adding a fresh perspective and intelligence to our usual methodology was a most worthwhile experience for us as well as for our intern. We will do it again!"--Terry Gruber, Gruber Photographers


"Our Calhoun senior intern was bright, polite, eager to do well, game to try anything and altogether a pleasure to have with us. We threw him into a lot of different situations with very little preparation and he managed them very effectively. We sent him to meetings with our firm’s name on his badge, fully confident that he would represent us well; we were well rewarded. Hosting an intern does take some specific effort. However, it can be an enlightening process to explain what one does to someone new; we found it a useful way to re-examine things we took for granted. Add to that our intern’s fresh intelligence, and good questions that he wasn’t afraid to ask; it was a most worthwhile experience for us as well. We will do it again!" --Sarah Holmes, Gilder Gagnon Howe & Co. LLC

The Value of Internships