Sam Houston HS graduate and SAP intern hired on at HISD

Jennifer Moreno had always been interested in computers. She even served as the secretary of Sam Houston MSTC High School’s computer hardware team, Skills USA. At the time, she hadn’t considered specializing in software.

HISD had just rolled out an SAP internship. Although specified as available only to seniors, Moreno was encouraged by her former teacher, Eduardo Cantu, and internship recruiter, Ty Matthews, to apply as a junior.

SAP, which stands for System Applications and Products, is a widely used software that covers all IT necessities including operating systems, databases and applications, and data protection. SAP is a cornerstone of nearly all operations within HISD and in other organizations and businesses in the private sector around the world.

HISD was the first K-12 school district to implement SAP operations within, thanks in part to the success of the SAP Student Internship Program.

The program launched in 2017 at three HISD campuses: Waltrip, Scarborough, and Sam Houston high schools. Moreno was part of the internship’s first group of recruits, and she participated even while studying at the University of Houston.

“When I went into college, nobody could believe that I had experience with SAP, even my professors,” said Moreno.

The SAP internship was developed to give students an opportunity to gain on-the-job experience working with SAP programs in different arenas, cycling interns through weeks in various HISD departments including Nutrition Services, Security, and Business Operations.

“I was able to intern with different departments throughout the district,” said Moreno. “They would take us on field trips … to learn about all the systems that HISD has within.”

Largely thanks to her time in the SAP internship program, Moreno has recently accepted a permanent position as a business systems analyst with HISD’s SAP Configuration Department. She gets to work directly with Matthews, her internship mentor.

“She is a person who loves to learn,” said Matthews. “No matter what we gave her, she was eager to figure it out and find out something new.”

Moreno always knew that a position with HISD was in her future.

“I developed and grew up within HISD, so it made sense,” she said. “I always knew that if I were offered a position [at HISD], I would accept it.”

Moreno was hired by HISD right out of undergrad. “I try to tell every college and high school student that I have a chance to talk to: Get into an internship,” she said. “If it’s not this one, get into one that’s working within what you want to do. It’s one thing to plan or just like the idea of majoring in something, but unless you’re exposed to it and you see their daily routines, what they do on a day-to-day basis, you won’t know if you’re on a good path.”

Every student in the internship program must apply to college as a condition of their participation. Altogether, 75 students have gone through the program, and all 75 have gone on to either higher education or military enlistment.

“This is not a pipe dream,” said Matthews. “It takes hard work, but we’re here to help you get to that point. You can do anything if you have people in your corner who are rooting for you.”