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Internships prepare departing seniors for careers

Claire Anderson graduates from Grand Forks Red River High School this weekend, and she feels prepared for what lies ahead thanks to some real-world experience at Altru's Cancer Center.

Claire Anderson graduates from Grand Forks Red River High School this weekend, and she feels prepared for what lies ahead thanks to some real-world experience at Altru's Cancer Center.

Her internship is part of the Grand Forks Public Schools Career Education Program, which connects school and work through many learning experiences.

Career Education includes a career curriculum for grades six through 12, volunteer opportunities, education career planning conferences, job shadowing and internships. The district has partnerships with 13 businesses in the community, including Altru, Bergstrom Electric, Rydell GM Auto Center and Valley Memorial Homes. Altru is the only partner with interns this year.

"The hands-on experience has been great," Anderson said. "It's nice to have an after-school job with that kind of responsibility."

Anderson's duties include registering patients, entering lab orders, answering phones and sorting mail. It can be difficult, though, to see people who are sick each day.

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"It stays on my mind after I get home," she said.

But that's part of the experience, according to Nancy Klatt, manager at the cancer center and Anderson's supervisor. Klatt said the internships are beneficial for the business partners, too.

"Hopefully, these students will go into the medical field," she said. "They can really fill a valuable role here with that experience."

Anderson may not go into the medical field, but says it's still an option.

"It's just great training for how to act in a professional setting," she said.

Anderson will go to Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., in the fall. She has not decided on a major, but is interested in occupational therapy and business.

And she's not the only Red River senior raving about the effectiveness of the internships.

"It's really nice because you get your foot in the door," said Kayla Notbohm, who has interned in the Altru emergency room for one year.

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Notbohm's ER responsibilities include cleaning rooms and helping the nurses. The internship has confirmed her desire to be a nurse, she said.

"It let me know exactly what I'm getting myself into," she laughed.

Notbohm will attend the prenursing program at South Dakota State University, Brookings.

Casey Morton said her internship confirmed her career path. She has interned for one year at Altru's rehabilitation center performing office duties and chart work.

"The experience I'm getting is helpful for my future," she said. "I love it."

Morton will attend the University of Bemidji in the fall for prephysical therapy.

Jeff Olson interned in pediatrics at Altru for a year and says his goal is to be a physician, but he's not sure what kind.

"I think it's been a wonderful experience," he said. "It's been more than I thought it would be."

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Olson will attend UND in the fall for forensic science and hopes to go to medical school.

"I'm grateful high school students have gotten a chance to take part in this," Anderson said. "I would highly recommend that other students try it."

Gibson covers education. Reach her at (701) 787-6754; (800) 477-6572, ext. 754; or send e-mail to lgibson@gfherald.com .

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