While most kids took a break from learning over the summer, five Barber Middle School students seized the opportunity to intern with MAD-learn, a company that helps young people develop their own apps.
Only 14 students across the country were selected for the MAD-learn virtual internship — which helps students sharpen their skills and acquire new ones for future careers — and five of them represented Barber: Alix Bennett-McMyne, Ana Carroll, Buchi Emerah, Syeda Tanzim and Jalen Walker.
Based on their interests, the eighth-graders were assigned to mentors, senior MAD-team members who gave weekly tasks for the students to complete. The students reported directly to their mentors, who guided and helped them navigate through challenges.
“The majority of companies refrain from offering internships to middle school students, despite the evident proficiency displayed by these young individuals,” said Saundra Watts, a computer science and STEM teacher at Barber. “These students demonstrate a remarkable aptitude for acquiring genuine on-the-job soft skills, assuming responsibilities, resolving challenges and, notably, cultivating effective teamwork.
“Their collaboration with teams composed of adults is a source of genuine pride. Within my classroom, I am diligently imparting the significance of personal branding and the art of constructing compelling resumes. The opportunity provided by MAD-learn, enabling students to apply their acquired knowledge to tangible real-world undertakings, is genuinely valued and appreciated.”
Alix is grateful that the company opened the internship opportunity to middle school students and hopes the experience will help when applying for college.
“The MAD-learn internship gave me an amazing opportunity to discover what modern internships and workplaces are like, all while allowing me to further my interests in graphic design, writing and voice acting,” she said. “The most useful thing I learned was probably how to write professional, confident emails, which I previously struggled with.”
While Alix made posters, blogged and worked on a tutorial video, Syeda learned design tasks during her internship that she wants to continue in the future.
“I enjoyed the internship at MAD-learn because they personalized the tasks that were given to stuff that fit your interests,” Syeda said. “Also, it fits around your schedule so that you can work at your own pace without any pressure. I also like how friendly and supportive the whole team was to everyone.”
When the Barber students learned about the internship opportunity, they were eager to apply. They learned about resumes and how to create one and had to interview for the position.
Through the internship, the eighth-graders were able to experience working with a global team, which helped them learn how to build and maintain a network of relationships and mentors.
As part of her internship, Ana worked on music and lyrics for the first MAD-learn song.
“Working with MAD-learn was amazing,” she said. “I got to experience what it was like to work with a team worldwide and hear their thoughts, ideas and perspectives. This internship has allowed me to be creative and work hard over the summer.”
Besides the students who interned over the summer, Barber has three additional students, Aaliyah Anderson, Suany Rivera-Abrego and Sophia Smith, interning with the company this fall.