Gateway internships offer hands-on career preparation

PA Linda Bean mentors Gateway Intern Krista Garriepy at the AEIOU Occupational and Urgent Healthcare Center in Amherst. (Photo submitted)

HUNTINGTON – Ten Gateway seniors are out of the classroom—with eight leaving school early—to complete school-to-career internships throughout Western Massachusetts. Internships offer high school credit to seniors who give time and gain experience in various workplaces, ranging from construction to health care settings, and even the Northwest District Attorney’s office.
Krista Garriepy landed an internship at the AEIOU Occupational and Urgent Healthcare facility in Amherst, under the supervision of Physician Assistant Linda Bean. Garriepy is the first high school student to do an internship with AEIOU. She shadows Bean, and has learned to listen for heart and lung sounds, and assist with treating abscesses and lacerations. “Krista is an unusual student,” reported Bean. “She shows tremendous interest and focus. She is fearless…not at all intimidated in this setting.” Bean added that doing an internship provided an amazing opportunity for students to see if this is really what they want to do, before investing in their college education.
Garriepy’s favorite task thus far has been assisting with suturing, which may seem unusual until one realizes that Garriepy has already garnered hours of medical experience as a Certified First Responder, Certified Outdoor Emergency Care Technician and member of the National Ski Patrol. She is also certified in CPR and AED, and plans to take a Basic EMT course this spring in order to become credentialed when she turns 18 next summer.
Garriepy—whose career goal is to become a Physician’s Assistant—has found the internship valuable. “Absolutely. I’d do it again in a heartbeat,” Garriepy said.
For senior Ciara Fay, interning in the kitchen of Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton has enabled her to visit all of the different floors and wards of the hospital. “I always knew that I wanted to work in a hospital, but have narrowed my focus to the emergency room or critical care areas,” Fay reported. She said that her high school classes in forensics and chemistry provided a good foundation for her future studies in nursing, and she will take Anatomy & Physiology next semester. “My internship involves preparing all of the food trays,” she reported. “I deliver snacks and trays to late arrivals directly to patients. I’ve found that I like going to the ER best—it is always fast paced and always different.” Fay works six hours a week at the hospital.
Senior Stephanie Griffin is a dual enrollment student this year, taking academic courses at Holyoke Community College and completing an internship at the Northwestern District Attorney’s office in Northampton. Assistant District Attorney Linda Pisano has served at Stephanie’s mentor. Pisano heads up the Children’s Advocacy Center and typically takes one intern at a time in their unit. “It is VERY rare that we take on a high school student as an intern,” Pisano said. “But Stephanie came to us with a unique perspective.” Griffin, the daughter of a Massachusetts State Police Lieutenant, plans to go to college to become a medical examiner.
Pisano reported that Griffin’s internship duties include meeting with witnesses, assisting staff in preparing children for testimony, and attending cases in Hampshire Superior Court.
“She’s great. We had our reservations about a 17-year old in this role,” Pisano said. “She’s come in and taken everything with absolute grace.”
Other interns and sites this semester include Aliisa Cooper, Brooke Fairman, Madison Graham, Savannah Talbot and Alissa Williams at Littleville Elementary School; Justin Seney at Seney Contracting; and Jade Tarris in Gateway’s communications office.

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