Becton’s Internship Program Aids Students in Discovering their Career Paths

Alumni CIEP students smiling ready to enlighten current Becton students interested in CIEP!

Alumni CIEP students smiling ready to enlighten current Becton students interested in CIEP!

On Jan. 5, 2023, Becton held its first assembly for all the current Juniors to listen to an esteemed group of panelists who had the opportunity to experience Becton’s Career Exploration Internship Program during their time at Becton– also referred to as CEIP. The program’s objective is to motivate high school seniors to go beyond the formal education of the classroom and test drive a career through a quality internship in a field matched to their interests and abilities. Participating in this initiative will prepare students for the professional work environment and ultimately help pave the way for their future careers. Superintendent and Principal, Dr. Dario Sforza presented this idea to Gina Annitti, who is the Career Exploration Internship Program Coordinator– as well as a Teacher in the Career & Tech Ed Department here at Becton. 

In order to go forth in obtaining an internship, students must be accepted into the program by applying. The application process consists of a Google Form in which students are required to answer two essay questions and provide two teacher recommendations. Other requirements are that students must have a minimum GPA of 80%, enough credits entering senior year to forgo afternoon classes, no attendance or disciplinary issues, and most importantly transportation. Each student must have some form of transportation to and from the internship. 

There are many benefits to taking an internship. Some benefits include enhancing future employment opportunities, an increase in college acceptance, working with exceptional role models and forming long-lasting relationships, and developing appropriate workplace skills and job-specific skills. It is clear to see that this program has advantages that are able to help students get out into the workforce of their choice based on their fascination.  

This year, the Career Exploration Internship Program was able to arrange an assembly for all Juniors for their upcoming Senior Year. The assembly was comprised of a group of 5 panelists: Anna Dato, Samantha Zawadzki, Giancarlo Quesada, Kaitlyn Bolwell, and Josh Novello who would all get their opportunity to speak on their experiences of being an intern and how this program has shaped their professional lives. Hearing the varied encounters from alumni throughout their time as an intern was able to help them grasp a better understanding of what life as an intern looks like. Internship Coordinator Annitti explains, “I want the program to expand and want upcoming seniors to know about the option to apply to the Internship Program. It is important to give as many students as possible this opportunity to explore career interests. It is a one-of-a-kind experience that most high school students will not have so it is important for students to be aware of this opportunity and take advantage of it.”

Alumni Anna Dato, who worked as an intern from 2016-2017 shares her commitment to the Career Exploration Internship Program. Dato worked as a volunteer nurse intern at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood. When the opportunity came for applying for this program, Dato admittedly was thrilled to be one step closer to achieving her desired career path, “I knew going into sophomore year that I wanted to be in healthcare, most likely nursing. Therefore, during my senior year when the internship program was introduced to me, it was a no-brainer. I knew the program would give me real-life experience and give me insight into what my future career path could look like. I pursued nursing in college, attending Felician University. Currently, I am a Registered Nurse in Labor & Delivery at Hoboken University Medical Center.” 

Some responsibilities that Dato was able to pursue as an intern were shadowing many employees, with many different roles, not solely nursing. While assisting in basic patient care, she learned the ins and outs of a hospital and its day-to-day operations. During her time, Dato worked in Cardiac Rehabilitation, Bariatric Surgery, Postpartum, the laboratory, pharmacy, transport, Telemetry, Cardiac ICU, Neuro ICU, and a few others. She assisted anywhere she was needed. Dato believes that forgoing an opportunity such as this, was the gateway to getting her in as a Labor and Delivery Nurse, “My internship I believe opened the door to many opportunities for me. Not only was it a great conversation piece when networking, but it also helped me gain confidence in my career today. Nursing is a vulnerable occupation, considering you care for patients and your time with them is very intimate. My internship gave me the leg up when I was in nursing school because I already had experience in patient care by that point. I also believe it enhanced my passion for caring for people even more.” 

Panelists: Anna Dato, Samantha Zawadzki, Giancarlo Quesada, Kaitlyn Bolwell, Josh Novello, and Career Exploration Internship Program Coordinator Gina Annitti are ready to answer questions!

Alumni Samantha Zawadzki interned at Wellness One in East Rutherford as a Physical Therapy Assistant. Some tasks she was provided to do was getting the patients set up, explaining their exercises and giving patients the necessary equipment, filling out their exercise charts, and giving patients heat or ice after their session. Although, since interning as a Physical Therapy Assistant, Zawadzki has left the field but maintains an appreciation for all the professional relationships that she made, “I am not working in the same field as my internship, but it helped me in my current field. Besides physical therapy, I was interested in business. Since the internship program helped me figure out I did not want to pursue physical therapy, I decided to change my major to business. I’m currently majoring in business administration with a concentration in Real Estate and a minor in Finance.” Zawadzki encourages students to be optimistic, when adjusting to the new position as an intern, “A piece of advice I would give to someone starting an internship is to be open-minded! You are going to learn a lot of valuable information about your career and yourself during your internship. Also, it’s okay to not know what career path you want to pursue. The internship program can help you narrow down what you might want to do if the internship you chose isn’t for you. However, if you do like the internship you chose, it helps assure that you chose the right career.”

Panelists getting the final touches ready for upcoming Seniors to listen in.

Alumni Joshua Novello interned at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital Research Center in Hackensack and The Valley Hospital Emergency Department in Ridgewood in 2019. Josh’s daily duties ranged based on the cases and situations that were present. Novello interned as a research assistant at the Hackensack Center, occasionally Novello attended Tumor Board Conferences and patient care meetings and shadowed multiple doctors. In addition to all of this, while at The Valley Hospital Emergency Department, he took vitals, transported patients to their rooms, and assisted them when they were discharged. In a previous interview regarding his position at both hospitals, Novello stated, “I would highly recommend that any Becton student apply to the Career Exploration Internship Program during his/her senior year. After working hard and being a good student throughout my time in high school, it is a privilege to have the ability to gain real experience in the field I wanted to pursue.”

Annitti discusses why showcasing a wide variety of speakers is important, “I believe former interns can offer the best perspective since they were once in their shoes. They have the best insight and can offer great advice and share personal experiences. It was important to showcase different internships so students could hear about a variety of experiences. Two former interns completely changed career paths after the internship and the program helped them to make that decision. I wanted students to hear how the program could benefit them in that aspect as well.” 

The Career Exploration Internship Program offered here at Becton is a special opportunity that allows students to step into their futures, gain professional workplace dynamics, and gain insight from daily life and situations based on the career path that piques their interests.