SIHS Spotlight (Part 2 of 3): Getting our Official Internship Papers and Conducting Evaluations

Milena Streen (VP & CIO – Librarian) and Robert Barr (Director of Technology) from Saint Ignatius High School, one of our member schools, are joining us for a 3-part series on how they set up a student internship program and what they’ve learned from it. View Part 1 of the series here and stay tuned for Part 3 ("must-dos") next week!

One of our college hires, Christopher Isabella, was actually part of the CSU internship program already working on the college campus with an AV crew. Once we hired him, the paperwork started – paperwork always seems to be a given! When we applied for college credit for Chris, we really started our partnership with Cleveland State. We were scheduled for a site visit to verify the standards of employment, during which Robert shared a list of 40 training objectives we had set for the internship program. Soon we had become an official Cleveland State University Technology Internship Coop Program Business member! Setting up this official partnership helped ensure that the internship experience was more robust for all of our participants.

This year, Kyle Keller (the second intern in the program) was offered a full time position in the technology department as an Associate Engineer.  The two remaining technology interns (Christopher Isabella and Joe Battaglia) are now in their second year of work. We evaluate each Intern with a mix of our usual employee methods, self-evaluation, and extra training items (approximately 10) related to the college partnership. Our Internship program has different job descriptions for the first and second years to account for the progress we expect students to make; second-year interns should be working without supervision and training others on certain aspects of the school’s networks. We want to make sure they leave the program as trained technologists with some management experience!

So what are our interns able to do after their two years at Saint Ignatius? They are able to configure and replace switches, install and set up classroom technology equipment, hang projectors, install Apple TVs, create images, repair devices, manage our inventory, use Visio to document our network configurations, install computers and printers, work on servers, set up carts for iPads – Chromebooks – and laptops for faculty/students, train users, update labs, work on our security camera network, set up a VmWare virtual print server, and answer any help desk question/problem. After seeing our students’ successes, we decided to raise the bar a bit this year and ask them to complete the A+ Comptia certification.

Reflections from Christopher Isabella, Student Intern:

The IT internship program at Saint Ignatius High School has given me a unique opportunity to work in and apply the field of computer engineering to real situations. An example would be the exposure and hands on experience with computer networks. In my course on computer networks at Cleveland State University, the information that was covered was very basic and there was little hands on experience. At Saint Ignatius High School, I was able to learn a lot more about networks and how they work in a real world environment. Cisco technology is used to implement the network, and it was great to setup, program, and deploy this technology. Cisco items are not covered in depth in my college courses since it is expensive to buy the equipment for training and education. The internship program also allowed me to become a much better engineering student. Since I started at SIHS, I have received both the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society award and the Golden Key International Honor Society award. Currently I am a senior in the computer engineering program at Cleveland State University.