Students gain valuable work experience through Experiential Learning program

MHS junior Bhavya Sajja (left) works with Experiential Learning Director Deanna Hogenkamp.

Ava Yungbluth | The Chronicle 

Mason High School students are getting exposure to the real world through the Experiential Learning program. 

Marketing teacher Deanna Hogenkamp is the director of the program. She believes experiential learning opportunities will help students find out more about career paths while also helping them build their resume.  

Hogenkamp has helped connect students to internship style experiences in fields ranging from business to medicine. She finds these opportunities important because they can expose students more to the ‘real world’ outside of the school building. She said that “students don’t know what they don’t know,” and is making it her goal to expose as many students as possible to experiential learning opportunities before they graduate.

With the help of Hogenkamp, junior Bhavya Sajja landed an internship with the U.C. West Chester Hospital. She works at the hospital’s front desk answering patient telephone calls. In her role she gets to help patients while also seeing what it’s like to work in the health field. 

“Being in that hospital environment helps you form different connections, see how that work environment is and helps you see if you are suitable for it,” Sajja said. “I feel like that really helped me decide if I really did want to go into that field.”

Sajja has gained valuable experience in her role at the hospital. It’s also helped her gain knowledge that she cannot get in the traditional classroom setting. 

“You definitely learn new things every day you’re there,” Sajja said. “You can have this experience on your hands and that you know how to do and it’ll be super helpful in the future.”

Junior Drew Vaughan secured  an internship with financial advisor Terrance Backus. Vaughan created a website and handles social media marketing for Backus. Through this internship Vaughan has been able to apply skills he’s learned in school to an actual work environment. 

“It’s a really good gateway to see what you want to do when you grow up,” Vaughan said. “In high school, you kind of have a hard time branching out to figure out what you want to do, and experiential learning gives you an opportunity to see what’s going on in that [field]..”

Hogenkamp believes the Experiential Learning program can help students connect to career fields where they may have an interest. Participants can also find out that through the internship that they may have interests in other areas. Hogenkamp hopes to be able to give more students opportunities to experience real life work situations. For the students and the community businesses who are hosting Mason students, it’s a ‘win situation.  

“What’s really awesome is [that] our students are just being thrown out into the community,” Hogenkamp said. “Our community members are able to see how wonderful Mason students are.”

For students at Mason High School who are interested in pursuing an internship Hogenkamp frequently posts opportunities on the high school Schoology page or students can meet with her in the C2 pod at MHS.