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WL-WV School District enhances internship program and increases community partnerships

PMG PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL  - Athey Creek eighth grader Summer Raey helps clean at PAWSWest Linn-Wilsonville students now have a pathway that connects them to internships in the community.

From agricultural, computer and environmental sciences to graphic design, journalism and education, students now have more internship opportunities than ever before.

When Bob Carlson, former director of the WL-WV Center for Research in Environmental Sciences and Technologies (CREST) retired last school year, the school district hired people for three positions at CREST to ensure the leadership role left by Carlson was filled and that CREST received additional help coordinating school gardens and internship opportunities.

One of those positions was an internship coordinator, which was filled by Laura Nappi. Since November, Nappi started building relationships with nonprofit organizations and government agencies outside of CREST to provide a wide array of unpaid internships for students starting this summer.

"I think this is such an amazing program to add to the district because what a great opportunity it would be in high school to test drive some of these careers before you graduate to see if you like it," Nappi said. "You could read about it all day in a book but how could you know unless you're out there doing it?"

While the school district has offered internship experiences before, there has not been a structured program available to all students.

Nappi said the internship program — which is meant for incoming sophomores, juniors and seniors — was created with three goals in mind: to allow students to explore a potential career path, to gain work experience and earn 0.5 high school elective credits.

"They're building their resume while in high school," Nappi said.

When students apply for the internship program, Nappi said she tries her best to match students with their area of interest. But it is possible she might not find a good internship match for a student. For example, she had one student who was interested in the medical field but hadn't found a partnership with any hospitals yet.

Right now, students can intern at places like PAWS animal shelter in West Linn doing photography and marketing, the City of West Linn Parks and Recreation Department working as a social media intern, and at the Oregon City Farmers Market assisting the market director, among other opportunities.

PMG PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL  - Gladstone High School senior Kaylee Osban volunteers at PAWS, a nonprofit organization that will host WL-WV interns.CREST also has agricultural and botany technician internships and opportunities available in research and summer camps.

In order to receive high school credit from the internships, students need to complete 30 hours.

"It's seeming to pan out probably about five hours a week for six weeks in summer," Nappi said, adding that schedules are flexible and up to the organization or hosting partner.

For the summer internship season, Nappi had about 36 applicants, but many internship opportunities have two positions open so she doesn't anticipate turning anyone away unless they do not like their match.

For more information on current internship opportunities, visit If you are interested in hosting an intern, contact Nappi at 503- 673-7000 ext. 6348 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Reporter Clara Howell can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-479-2384.

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