Project LEARN Interns Gain Work Experience Through C2C Program – Lowell Sun

LOWELL — Over the summer, nearly 100 Lowell High School students were able to gain hands-on experience in a number of areas through internships through Project LEARN’s Commencement 2 Careers program.

Through partnerships with businesses, community organizations and UMass Lowell, the 74 students were able to work on projects ranging from social media marketing to plastics engineering.

“Honestly, it was my first real work experience, so it’s been really cool to gain that experience and learn how to collaborate with others,” said junior Sophia Mirabal.

Now in its second year, Commencement 2 Careers (C2C) is an innovative virtual internship program that engages Lowell High students and recent graduates in real-world work experiences.

“We piloted C2C last year to meet the high need for internships amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said LZ Nunn, Executive Director of the LEARN Project.

Each week, students participate in workshops to develop their communication and presentation skills, build their CVs and help start their professional networks. Participating students also receive a $500 stipend at the end of their internship.

Internships can range from teaching middle school students life skills with Elevate New England, to shadowing plastic engineering research teams at UMass Lowell. Seven C2C trainees had the opportunity to visit the university’s plastic engineering laboratory.

“I was surprised to learn that almost anything can be recycled into something useful,” said senior Chandy Sar. “Now that I know more about the cool projects going on at UMass Lowell, I would definitely consider going to college here.”

“The time I spent with this program has contributed immensely to my professional growth, and I am very grateful to have the opportunity to learn skills that translate to the real world,” said Vaidehi Patel, Senior .

In addition to helping Lowell students in their educational journeys by providing on-the-job training, local businesses and non-profit organizations also benefit from the unique perspectives brought by hosting C2C student interns.

“It’s been so rewarding to see the growth of students throughout the summer,” said Jordan Elliott, director of development and programs for Project LEARN. “I am delighted to see their incredible progress. When that spark ignites at a professional development workshop, you know they’re going to produce an amazing project and presentation. »

Rachel Polizotti, co-founder of Rise Social Relations, said it was “an amazing experience” to host two interns on the program, and her organization will be participating again next summer.

“Our interns attended networking events co-hosted with the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce and local businesses, as well as the grand opening and grand opening of Lala Books in downtown Lowell,” said said Polizotti. “They look forward to embarking on our wacky and exciting schedules and events with a smile on their face.”

Maria D. Ervin