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12 CTE juniors help launch intern program with Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin

12 CTE juniors help launch intern program with Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin
Christian Aleman-Rodriguez

A dozen rising juniors are setting the foundation for DVISD’s new internship program with Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin this summer.

These Career Technical Education (CTE) health science students are the first cohort of interns for the program through DVISD’s partnership with the hospital and Workforce Solutions. Through July, the interns are placed in various departments throughout the hospital and get real work experience in the field they’re studying in classes.

“This new partnership is paving the way for the district, our students, and local hospitals that are looking to create a pipeline of career-ready graduates who can be placed in the field immediately after graduation,” Superintendent Dr. Annette Tielle said. “Our student interns are motivated, educated, self-starters going into the internship program, thanks to their preparation in our world-class CTE health science program.”

Interns are working side-by-side with doctors, nurses, billing agents, and many others on a daily basis. They are also interacting with patients, putting their skills from the classroom into practice. A partnership of this kind for health science students is new to both the hospital and DVISD.

“It's really exciting, and it's a really good opportunity because they treat you as if you aren’t a teenager. They give you actual responsibilities, and they treat you like an adult,” said DVHS junior Lizbeth Martinez. “So it gives you the experience to see what it will be like when you're out of high school.”

Director of CTE Norris Sebastian said the internship grants students the opportunity to see how the healthcare system works in person after receiving two years of preparation through the health science CTE pathway, further solidifying their commitment and potentially helping them narrow their interests.

“The purpose of the whole project is to introduce our kids to the profession. Although they've been in classes for two years, many of them, if not all of them, probably have not been in a setting like that before,” he said. “At this point in their education, they may decide to pivot, they may want to focus on something else a little more strenuously, or they may say, ‘I definitely don't want to do this.’ So it can focus on their educational goals and solidify those better.”

While this partnership benefits DVHS students, Ascension Seton is also benefiting as they help solidify the school-to-job pipeline through the robust partnership. Once students become certified clinical medical assistants, usually at the end of the first semester of their senior year, Ascension Seton would be able to directly hire DVHS students, already with an idea of who they’re employing thanks to the program. 

“They could go to work at Ascension Seton part-time as soon as they become CCMAs and then start working full-time, or they may decide to start right after they graduate,” Sebastian said. “That's kind of the ultimate goal of the whole process.”

Lizbeth said getting an early start in the field is illuminating other opportunities she hadn’t considered and that she finds satisfaction in helping around the hospital.

“Like even when it's just simply stocking supplies, it looks like a little help, but it’s really helping them a lot because they might not have the time to focus that much on stocking, so you let them focus on caring for their patients,” she said.

“The hospital staff is all appreciative. They're like, ‘Wow, you're really a big help,’” said junior Ashley Camacho. “There are so many patients, and with us, we help out at least a bit.”

This being just the beginning of the partnership, the hospital and DVISD are looking to implement a robust program that exposes students to the CTE program and intern opportunities starting in middle school and continuing into high school.

Ascension Seton interns from DVHS pose for a photo with Dr. Tielle
Dr. Tielle talks with first cohort of Ascension Seton interns
Dr. Tielle talks with first cohort of Ascension Seton interns
Ascension Seton interns from DVHS stop by to chat with Dr. Tielle