Hoffman, Hill get the most out of Science Hill’s new internship program

Makenna Hoffman helps a student during her teaching internship. Hoffman’s grandparents are both educators, and she plans to pursue a degree in early childhood education at ETSU. Photo by Collin Brooks

By Danielle Morin

With both a principal for a grandfather and a teacher for a grandmother, Makenna Hoffman, a newly graduated Science Hill student, always knew that a career in the education system was in the cards for her future. So, when she heard about Science Hill’s new summer internship program, she did not hesitate to apply for a teaching role.

The program is one of Science Hill High School’s newest advancements in continuing education. Dr. Charles Corwin, Director of Career and Technical Education, oversees the program, which allows students in their senior year to spend time in fields they may be interested in pursuing after graduation.

Hoffman first heard about the opportunity in Dr. Wendy Whitmore’s class, Fundamentals of Education, where students are introduced to the education field and learn the basics of teaching. While the class allowed Hoffman to observe teachers in the classroom, she says she saw the program as a step beyond because she was able to actually interact and experience what teaching is like firsthand.

Hoffman was selected as one of many students who went on to complete the program soon after submitting her application. She says, for her, teaching is important because it allows her to connect with kids on a personal level, something she finds “very interesting.” Hoffman spent three and a half weeks with the second-grade class at Lake Ridge Elementary School, followed by one week at North Side Elementary School’s STEAM Camp, a program for those students who are particularly advanced in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics.

Hoffman said the program was, “a great opportunity to see behind the scenes of what a teacher truly does,” and further solidified her interest in education. She will be attending ETSU in the fall to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education.

Drea Hill works with students during a recent summer internship through the Johnson City School System. The new internship program is designed to expose seniors to careers they may be interested in pursuing after graduation. Photo by Collin Brooks

But Hoffman was not the only student to benefit from the new program. Drea Hill, another 2022 graduate from Science Hill, entered the teaching internship as well. Not to fulfill a desire of necessarily becoming a teacher, however, but for another reason altogether. With an interest in the field of Child Life Studies, Hill said, “Learning how to communicate with different age groups and different children is my main goal. And I just felt like the internship and working with them was really good for me to build that skill.”

For Hill, the opportunity came in Heather Connor’s Family Studies course, the last of a three-level class focused on lifespan development and family dynamics. Hill was also able to gain experience interacting with children through the Topper Tots, a daycare program at Science Hill for teachers’ and students’ children, where she spent part of her school day as a requirement for Connor’s class. Hill felt that the internship was the next step in furthering her experience in understanding and interacting with young children.

After being accepted into the program, Hill spent three weeks with South Side School’s fourth-grade class. She described the experience as “amazing,” saying, “I learned a lot about communicating with those children and creating bonds with them and finding ways to interact with them in different ways because each kid is so unique.” Following summer break, Hill will be attending Northeast State Community College to start her degree in Early Childhood Development.

Both Hoffman and Hill agreed that the program was a valuable part of their furthering education, with Hoffman adding that she hopes the program will continue to remain an open opportunity to all senior students in the future.


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