EDITOR’S NOTE: Diego Cicero is a High Tech High Media Arts student currently participating in a month-long internship at Birch Aquarium at Scripps. The program is designed to foster personal growth and help students acquire workplace skills in a real-world environment. Diego is assisting with the aquarium’s education programs and blogging about his experiences.
By Diego Cicero, High Tech High intern
My high school, High Tech High Media Arts, has given all of the junior students opportunities to be an intern at a location of their choosing. This benefits not only the organizations but also the students, getting a feel for the day-to-day tasks of a job or career. It also opens up doors for us in the future if we choose to return to the organization. I have been interning at Birch Aquarium for two weeks in the education department. My wonderful mentor Audrey Evans has shown me the “ins and outs” of the building.
For me, being amongst people who love their jobs gives this place the best work environment I have experienced thus far. The education staff is passionately dedicated to teaching classes at their utmost performance level. The volunteers and employees help to keep Birch Aquarium a well-oiled machine.
I have observed and participated in classroom programs Earth Rocks, Sandy Shores, Tide-Pool Treasures, and several Explore Its/Think Tanks. Sandy Shores is a lesson on how sand is made. Kids see how sand looks under a microscope and touch a handful of animals in tubs. Earth Rocks is a lesson on tectonic plates. Tide-Pool Treasures is a class on the habitat and life of tide-pool animals. In this one the children touch sea stars, sea urchins, hermit crabs, and wavy top snails. Though they have main objectives and goals, the activities I have observed don’t have set scripts that the instructors need to follow, which means the audience gets more of a personal touch.
The children love hearing information on the residential sea life. The adults as well have more meaningful conversations about the aquatic life with the Birch Aquarium staff. The personal highlights of my days here are when I get to be around the various sea creatures. Getting the chance to have a hands-on experience that most others don’t get with these animals is one of a kind.
In my time here so far I have gotten to observe several classroom activities, get a behind-the-scenes look at the aquarium, meet the faces that work for this amazing institution, and most of all take in the beauty of this wonderful place I call home. High Tech High has set me up with this wonderful opportunity and for that I am very grateful. My time here has been fantastic to say the least.