Internship yields part-time job and long-term path

As a junior at Buffalo Grove High School, Shruti Mukhopadhyay was thinking about her future- in college and beyond. She was interested in pursuing an engineering degree, maybe specializing in chemical and materials engineering. But, she said, "I wanted to gauge how a job would be, what the daily life of an engineer would be like and what the work looked like. I wanted some hands-on experience."

Shruti applied to the internship program coordinated by the District 214 Center for Career Discovery.

The Center for Career Discovery matches interested juniors and seniors like Shruti with opportunities for 60-hour traditional internships, and 30-hour micro-internships. Internships are available in a wide variety of fields, with placements within District 214 and at local partner organizations. Students are not paid, but receive credit on their transcripts.

The team placed Shruti at Acme Industries, a metal fabricating and manufacturing company based in Elk Grove Village that produces parts for other companies.

Shruti said her summer 2023 internship answered her questions - and more.

Her work involved handling and organizing environmental information. Acme needs to detail the chemicals in each part it produces, to help its clients comply with safety and environmental regulations - particularly in the European Union, where it ships many of its products. Shruti worked on a database of the chemicals in the shop and its products.

"A lot of the work I did was related to environmental policies. That showed me a side of the industry that I think I really want to go into," she said. "Now I'm looking at environmental studies and materials engineering."

She also said her engineering mentors and colleagues at Acme took time to share their experiences, helping her understand the distinctions between college programs and specific majors. Now a senior at BGHS, she says she plans on applying to some of the leading engineering schools in the Midwest, including Purdue University and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

When she completed her internship hours, Acme offered her a part-time job for the rest of the summer - and has invited her back when she has time in her schedule.

"The internship experience really carved out a new path for me," Shruti said.

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