Summer internships at HISD help students determine possible careers

HISD hired nearly two dozen interns for its 2018 Summer Leadership Program, exposing students to possible careers and skills employers demand in an increasingly technological workforce. The students were assigned to various administrative departments, including Informational Technology, College and Career Readiness, Communications, and Procurement.

At a luncheon celebrating the end of the six-week internships, Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan thanked the students for taking a chance on HISD and asked them to spread the word about their experience. When Dr. Lathan asked attendees how many interns we should have next year, everyone agreed that 50 was a number to strive toward. To learn more about the interns, read their biographies below.

Onyeka Agwuegbo

Onyeka Agwuegbo (Houston Independent School District)

Onyeka Agwuegbo

I attend the University of Texas at Dallas, where I am majoring in software engineering. My freshman year I was a part of UTD’s theater program, and I was in three productions. I joined the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) Projects, and my team won first prize for our augmented reality android app. The following semester, I joined the board of ACM Projects and mentored students working on their projects. My favorite subjects are programming and history. I received an Academic Excellence Scholarship from UTD that has been sponsoring my education. My hobbies include graphic design, listening to music, and tabletop gaming. I have been enraptured by animation ever since I discovered the melancholic worlds of Studio Ghibli films at the age of 7. A few of my favorite animated films include Akira, Kizumonogatari, Paprika, Redline, and Ghost in the Shell. During the internship program, I was editing videos about the recently redesigned Naviance platform, and it has been a great experience. Learning Adobe After Effects and building my skills in Adobe Premiere has been amazing, and I really appreciate this opportunity to work at HISD.


Manish Bhandari

Manish Bhandari (Houston Independent School District)

Manish Bhandari

I am currently a senior at Westside High School. I have a passion for mathematics and computer science. I am involved in various clubs and organizations, and I am the founder and president of Coding Club and the secretary of Robotics Club. I have won various awards in programming competitions in Texas. I enjoy programming mobile apps, playing video games, and cooking. I love creating videos, including skits and “vines” that everyone thinks are funny. As an intern in Informational Technology, I have used my passion for programming by participating in various projects. Working as an Intern gave me a real-world work experience where I was able to learn various skills that will help me in my future career and internships. Overall, I have had a phenomenal experience at HISD.


Jonathan Bond

Jonathan Bond (Houston Independent School District)

Jonathan Bond

I am in the chemical engineering program at the University of Houston, and I am a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). My favorite subjects are math and chemistry. I received a scholarship from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in 2015. I enjoy reading fan-made fiction, playing video games, and cooking. Part of my family lives in Montana, and I enjoy visiting them whenever I can. I worked in Instructional Technology helping to integrate technology into the classroom. We help maintain the PowerUp program, which provides students laptops to use 24/7. I was asked to create a course on the HUB that will teach students what their laptops are capable of, what they can be used it for, and the responsibilities of having it. Overall, my internship has been enlightening. I learned about my limitations and capabilities, how to manage my time, and what it’s like to work on a team. I got along well with my supervisors, and I was able to learn more than I expected during this internship. I will be putting it all to good use in the years to come.


Isabella Cortez

Isabella Cortez (Houston Independent School District)

Isabella Cortez

In high school, I participated in Spanish Club, Gaming Club, and Anime Club. I would occasionally volunteer to operate the concession stand at our after-school volleyball rallies. My favorite subject was math, and my least favorite was English, because calculus was much easier for me than writing an essay. My chemistry teacher gave me a “Chem-is-try” award because even though I struggled in her class, I always went to tutorials and tried my best. I like to bake, crochet, and garden. Desserts always taste better when they are fresh out of the oven, and I garnish them with herbs from my garden like pineapple sage and chocolate mint. I also crochet cute plushies and blankets. During my summer internship, I worked in Human Resources sorting personal records for HISD employees and calling substitute teachers to get their personal email addresses. The work never ends in HR, as people are always calling to get their service records, and there is a constant flow of people coming and going, all of which HR must track.


Jonathan Dorsey

Jonathan Dorsey (Houston Independent School District)

Jonathan Dorsey

I am a member of the Machine Learning and Data Science Club at UT Austin, which has weekly meetings to discuss new topics in data science, as well as trainings for those interested in learning about the subject. I also participate in intramural basketball. My favorite subjects are computer science and math and I am majoring in computer science. This past year, I received University Honors both semesters. In my spare time, I watch and play basketball. Despite not playing any organized football, I still enjoy watching and following the sport with friends. I program in my free time, and I am currently doing freelance web design. I have one brother who attended UT Austin and just graduated. During my internship at HISD, I have worked on a variety of engaging projects under Adrian Acosta in Instructional Technology. I have attended and assisted with professional development trainings regarding digital resources and the HUB, as well as the Professional Learning Series. At PLS, I ran a few transitional activities for administrators to participate in between sessions. The main two projects I have been working on with the other IT interns are developing a HUB course to acclimate students to PowerUp laptops and creating an Android reading log application for students to track reading progress.


Manuel Giron

Manuel Giron (Houston Independent School District)

Manuel Giron

In high school I was involved in Genesys Works as an intern. My favorite subjects are math and physics, and I received an award for being the most attentive student in class. My hobbies are dancing, soccer, and gaming. I have been dancing since I was 8 years old, and I am a three-time grand champion at Competencia Folklorica de Texas. During my HISD internship, I have been doing small tasks for the Bond office, such as helping gather geographical school information for current and potential bond programs, formatting an audit of workspaces for the district’s central office, and contacting companies to help with Business Operations.


Mark Jimenez

Mark Jimenez (Houston Independent School District)

Mark Jimenez

I am a college sophomore attending University of Houston-Downtown. I am involved in the university’s Minority Male Scholar Program, Student Faculty Mentorship Program, and i am a Supplemental Instructor Leader. I have a passion for history, which is my favorite subject. I made Dean’s List last year, and I have been recognized for having the third-highest GPA among the Minority Male Scholar cohort. Outside of school, I enjoy working on my truck, listening to music, and spending time with my family. As an intern, I worked in Information Technology under the Quality Assurance Team. I had the opportunity to plan, design, and execute a testing cycle for the district’s “Response to Intervention” system, while at the same time designing new and helpful instructional material that will aid in the training of future Quality Assurance Testers.


Teiondreia Kelley

Teiondreia Kelley (Houston Independent School District)

Teiondreia Kelley

I attend Southern University A&M College where I am involved in Jaguar Ambassadors, Southern University Gospel Choir, and the Student Government Association. I have been on the Dean’s list every semester. My hobbies are designing shoes, shopping, and traveling. I have traveled to Israel, Honduras, Belize, and Cozumel. Throughout this internship, I have worked alongside the HISD Police. I have learned how to analyze citations and enter them in the system, as well as about the dispatch department and investigations. My overall experience has been a great learning experience.


Cameron Lawrence

Cameron Lawrence (Houston Independent School District)

Cameron Lawrence

I recently graduated from Mickey Leland College Preparatory Academy for Young Men where I was the recipient of one of the HISD Superintendent & Board of Education Scholars Award. I served as class president of the Class of 2018 for four years. My experience as class president was the foundation for my goal of wanting to be a politician. In the fall I will be attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, majoring in political science and pre-law, and minoring in criminal justice. My sophomore year I plan to become involved in student government. I am excited about moving to a new city and new culture. I am applying to be part of the CIEE program to study aboard in Cape Town, South Africa, and Rome next summer as part of
Morehouse’s global government program. This internship has helped me decide on a college major and minor. I have had a great deal of hands-on experience and knowledge of the law field working with Legal Services. I am thankful for an astounding experience.


Deandra Martinez

Deandra Martinez (Houston Independent School District)

Deandra Martinez

In high school, I participated in UIL, Hudl, National Society of Black Engineers, and robotics. I enjoy science, reading, athletics, and going to the movies. My family is from both Mexico and Colombia, so it was hard to choose a team to root for when they played against each other in the FIFA World Cup. In Legal Services, we sat in on grievances, wrote real statements on HISDs behalf, put our research skills to the test, and met the wonderful people who keep HISD running.


Sonia Merrikh

Sonia Merrikh (Houston Independent School District)

Sonia Merrikh

I recently graduated from East Early College High School, and I will be attending the University of Houston to major in political science as part of my pre-law career path. In high school, I was active in a variety of extracurricular activities. I have a passion for debate and served as the president of the Debate Team the past four years. I served as team captain in Name That Book, event coordinator officer in Student Council, mentor in Falcon Ambassadors, secretary for the Humane Club, and I founded the Texas Envirothon program. I was also involved with National Honor Society. I received awards for being on the Dean’s List, I was recognized as a POSSE Finalist, I competed at the 2018 City Championships Worlds School Debate, and I placed in the 2018 Nationals Worlds School Debate Tournament. I was a recipient of the Optimist Foundation Scholarship, the HBU Presidential Scholarship, and UH Academic of Excellence Scholarship. During my summer internship with HISD, I worked writing and publishing blog posts on the HISD website, working as a technical director for a Board meeting, and creating a marketing campaign for HISD. This has been an exciting learning experience that has equipped me with the skills and resources I will need to be successful in college.


Edison Meza

Edison Meza (Houston Independent School District)

Edison Meza

I recently graduated from Carnegie Vanguard High School, and I will be attending the University of North Texas to major in broadcast journalism and minor in marketing. I was part of multiple clubs in high school, including International Thespian Society, Interact Club, Hispanic Honor Society, National Honor Society, and Fight Hunger Club. I was assistant stage manager, house manager, and stage manager for the International Thespian Society, vice president of Hispanic Honor Society, and founded and was president of the Fight Hunger Club. I received the Outstanding Stage Manger award, AP Scholar Award, and AP Capstone Certificate. I was part of the Student Heroes program at the Houston Food Bank and received the Houston Food Bank Student Hero Exceptional Service Award. This summer I have worked with the Media Relations team doing the HISD Daily Highlights. I have interviewed HISD staff and watched multiple interviews of faculty by media, giving me the opportunity to take notes on interview strategies and media training. I called media stations to confirm that they received our press releases or invited them to cover one of our many HISD events. During the HISD Board Meeting, I was able to sit in the control room and work with the cameras. The internship has been an amazing and unique experience, and I cannot wait to continue learning and growing as a journalist.


Jenny Munoz

Jenny Munoz (Houston Independent School District)

Jenny Munoz (Houston Independent School District)

I recently graduated from Furr High School, where I was involved in National Honor Society as president. I was awarded with a scholarship from Comcast Leaders and Achievers, as well as one given from HISD to attend the University of Houston. I am planning to major in journalism because English has been my favorite subject since I was in fourth grade and I love writing. Outside of school, I spend my time training in dance. Dance is my biggest passion, and I hope one day to have a career as a backup dancer. My other hobbies include makeup and fashion, and I spend hours doing makeup looks and putting outfits together. I also spend time writing about anything and everything. During my internship with HISD, I have been working in the press office. I have been sending out news highlights by 10 a.m. I have observed media interviews, which is very exciting because I see how a reporter communicates and connects with people. We have also been looking for marketing webinars or workshops for Communications because we mainly focus on public relations and are trying to include more marketing in our department.


Belindarita Obasi

Belindarita Obasi (Houston Independent School District)

Belindarita Obasi

I am a rising senior at Margaret Long Wisdom High School, where I serve as president of the Student Government Association and president of the Senior Committee. I am active on the debate team and UIL team, and I serve as an anchor on Wisdom TV News. My favorite subjects are science and English. I enjoy learning about the world and the workings of the human body. In my free time, I read novels, play tennis, and watch wildlife documentaries. As a young child, reading was an escape for me, which led me to volunteer at my local library. As an intern in Communications, I have observed the incredibly intricate process of video editing and applied my new-found knowledge to our class of 2018 graduation video, the latest edition of HISD’s “Weekly Wrap,” editing professional headshots for the HISD interns, and working as a technical director for the Board meeting. This summer experience broadened my view and overall understanding of communications.


Aviance Obie

Aviance Obie (Houston Independent School District)

Aviance Obie

My favorite subject is economics, and I received a grant from Wellesley College. My hobbies are thrifting, going to art museums, and eating. I am passionate about education and bridging the achievement gap. I want to go into education policy to help improve the way we approach college access and self-efficacy among low-performing students. This internship has given me direction as to where to start my journey into policy.


Hugo Reyes

Hugo Reyes (Houston Independent School District)

Hugo Reyes

I founded the GSA club at North Houston Early College High School, where I was also a member of the Book Club and Creative Writing Club. My favorite subject is English. I despise math but working with Procurement has changed my outlook on numbers. My favorite hobbies include reading, traveling, and socializing. I plan to become a teacher, and my senior research project was based upon the effects of class size on elementary school student learning. I plan to attend Texas State University this fall to major in interdisciplinary studies and minor in international studies.


Phuoc Tran

Phuoc Tran (Houston Independent School District)

Phuoc Tran

I just completed my first year in college at the University of Houston, where I majored in art and computer science. My hobbies are playing games, digital drawing, and exercising. I am motivated to pursue my own projects whenever possible. During my internship in Information Technology, I worked on a primer targeted toward teachers and have gained new experience interacting with coworkers and giving presentations in meetings.


Cora Wen

Cora Wen (Houston Independent School District)

Cora Wen

I am vice president of my school’s Rotary Interact Club, where activities range from creating volunteer opportunities for members to creating an International Festival and raising money for organizations outside of the U.S. to benefit those in need. Last year we raised money to help repair an HISD elementary school library that was damaged by Hurricane Harvey. I am a member of the Asian-American Association at my school and part of the Junior State of America. My favorite subject is math. I won a Gold Key and was am American Voices Nominee in Scholastic Writing. My hobbies are writing, talking to people, listening to music, and traveling. This summer I have been working on several projects at HISD, and I have learned much about Procurement and how they help HISD.


Ashlyn Williams

Ashlyn Williams (Houston Independent School District)

Ashlyn Williams

I recently graduated from HSPVA as a dance major, and I will be attending Southern Methodist as a business major and dance minor. Dance has been my passion since I was 3, and in high school I was active in the dance department. I served as stage manager my sophomore year and went on to perform with the HSPVA Concert Dancers my junior and senior year. I was Student Council vice president and a member of National Honor Society, French Club, and Literacy Club. Another of my passions is philanthropy, and I served as vice president of Philanthropy for the National Charity League Chapter for two years. I have received many awards, including outstanding performance in modern dance, outstanding performance in Spanish 2, outstanding performance in dance photography, and Houston’s Top 20 Artists Under 20. This summer I worked in College and Career Readiness under William Solomon. My favorite project I was taking pictures for a marketing campaign. I always knew I wanted to do something in the business field, but this project helped me realize my passion for marketing. The experience has given me real-world experience and helped me find my career path.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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