High school seniors take advantage of internship program | SteamboatToday.com

High school seniors take advantage of internship program

Mike McCollum

— Sitting behind a large desk littered with spreadsheets, eyes glued to a seemingly endless array of numbers while pounding away at a calculator, Steamboat Springs High School senior Molly Weiss looks like a seasoned accountant.

An 18-year-old intern at the Ingalls & Ingalls Co. accounting firm in Steamboat Springs, Weiss spends up to five hours a week crunching numbers for her semester-long College and Career Prep class. Students design their own internship and secure an adult sponsor with experience in a field of the student’s choice.

“I’m interested in business, and especially accounting, so this will help me with my future and in college,” Weiss said. “I’ve always been interested in numbers, and I’ve been a big fan of math, so this is the direction I want to go in.”

Weiss said she first became interested in business during a high school accounting class last year. For class credit and to get a leg up on her future college classmates, Weiss contacted the accounting firm and acquired an internship. She also got a mentor.

“It’s hands on. She wanted to see what a CPA does, so we tried to give her some experience in all aspects of accounting, whether it’s audit tax or bookkeeping,” said Bart Ingalls, Weiss’ internship mentor. “It will give her a feel whether she is actually interested in accounting, which I hope she is. : She is a sharp girl.”

Weiss said that in addition to being able to balance a checkbook and split a bill at a restaurant, she also has taken on responsibilities at the firm that extend past the typical office and bookkeeping work.

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“They are trying to get me involved in all kinds of aspects of accounting,” she said. “I’ve gone to clients’ offices, did the beginning work on audits, I’ve looked over client files and I’ve learned QuickBook programs.”

Although the internship class requires 50 hours, which Weiss said she will complete in two months, she plans on continuing her duties until she leaves for college.

“I want to do it through the whole year because the tax season – the really busy season – is next year,” she said.

Law & Organizing

Liza Darlington’s internship at the Hammond Law Office in Steamboat may not resemble an episode of “Law & Order” or “Matlock,” but she said the experience has been a valuable look into the world of law.

“And that world is a lot of filing,” said Darlington as she shredded a stack of papers. “I’m just testing law out, seeing how it is … but I think this is an excellent opportunity for anything I do to have this experience in an office and taking direction.”

When the 17-year-old senior showed up for work Friday afternoon, she was presented with a stack of at least 50 client files that needed to be organized, recorded and filed.

But not all of Darlington’s time has been spent thumbing through paper. Her mentor, Chris Hammond, has taken her to trial with him.

“I mostly just watched the trial,” she said. “In business law class we did mock trials, and it was so cool to really see one.”

‘Mom’ to the rescue

Crisp Friday afternoons in the fall are synonymous with high school football. Teenage boys smashing into each other on the gridiron is an activity that obviously causes some scrapes, sprains and muscle pulls.

That’s when Carly Earp and Jenny Allen come to the rescue.

The high school seniors intern as athletic trainers for Steamboat’s fall sports teams two or three days a week. On Wednesday, Earp and Allen prepped the football, cheerleading and girls volleyball teams for practice.

“The boys all call me ‘mom’ because I’m always on them about taking care of themselves,” Earp said as she chatted with players and methodically taped ankles.

“But taking care of the girls is much easier because they don’t smell so bad,” she said.

The two 17-year-olds are on the sidelines for games, taking care of players and soaking in the scene from a different perspective than most of their classmates. Earp also travels with the team as the only athletic trainer on the road, an experience she says was initially intimidating.

“I pack up the training table, which feels like it’s about 100 pounds, and pack up our travel materials,” she said. “I talk to the trainers at the other schools, set up the table and start wrapping ankles.”

Her internship mentor, Ariana Whitney, a certified physical trainer, said the girls don’t merely shadow her; the internship is hard work.

“When you just follow people around, you don’t really learn anything,” Whitney said. “They can handle the work. They are good girls and good workers.”

Earp, who also plays club soccer, said she is unsure whether she’ll continue work as an athletic trainer in college, or if she will pursue a career in the medical field. But Earp described the lessons learned this fall as vital life skills.

“I’ve already put some of them to use, whether it’s nutrition or some first aid,” she said.

For more

For the past three weeks, the Steamboat Pilot & Today has celebrated Steamboat Springs High School students who are getting a head start on their futures by completing professional internships in the community.

– Oct. 7: Taking a shot at coaching youth hockey

– Oct. 14: Firsthand experience at Yampa Valley Medical Center

– Today: Around Steamboat, students are learning a variety of professions