Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many summer programs for high school students were forced to cancel, including Dorson’s own partnership with the Student Diplomacy Corps. Remote learning and programming have ultimately tasked educators and institutions with changing their approach to student engagement, particularly over the summer months. Through the uncertainties and changes of COVID-19 emerged Dorson’s own Summer (Remote) Micro-internships Program. We launched this program to provide our students with opportunities to remain productive over the summer and help them avoid the summer slide.
At the end of this programming year, Dorson Scholars completed capstone projects in what was called the Dorson Design Challenge. This Challenge allowed our students to provide input for real-world projects the Foundation’s staff will tackle over the summer in preparation for the new program year. Those projects included designing a Dorson Scholars app, an enhanced virtual classroom, and a Dorson Scholars mentorship program, among others. Students will revisit the projects in their micro-internships, and support Dorson staff in bringing those projects to life starting the first week in July.
The Summer (Remote) Micro-internships Program is an extension of our Career Development course that encourages career exploration and helps Scholars develop critical professional competencies, such as public speaking and networking. Our Scholars will now get the opportunity to put those skills to practice by applying them to professional projects. For instance, our Scholars already had to put their resume writing skills to the test by submitting a resume with their application to the Micro-internships Program.
Furthermore, participating in a remote program, Scholars will need to exercise their professional communication skills to ensure they complete their assignments successfully and efficiently. For each assignment, Scholars will coordinate with a Project Advisor who will instruct them on the processes of their tasks. Scholars will write emails and direct messages in a professional manner to facilitate effective communication and understanding between advisor and student. At the end of the program, students will have deepened their collaborative skills in ways that transcend the classroom.
Beyond developing soft skills, Dorson Scholars will also gain industry-based and technical skills, as assigned projects will provide exposure to fields like app development, communications and content creation, social media, fundraising and finance. The Micro-internships Program exposes our students to the requirements of a professional workspace and allows them to work on multiple projects from different industries. Ultimately, the Program promotes exploration of varied career interests, increased self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses, and a clearer idea of what it takes to be a thriving professional.
Dorson has admitted eight students into the program that will last a period of six weeks. During this time, students will be assigned tasks that vary in timeline and skills requirement. For example, a student may spend a day doing research for a LinkedIn outreach campaign or a week helping our Data and Tech team set up a Google Classroom. For their work, Dorson Scholars will receive a small stipend on a bi-monthly basis. The program launches on June 29th with a mandatory orientation. Students will begin their internships on July 6th.
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