I am ELP: Michael Ramirez-Figueroa, Envision Academy 11th Grade Intern

Hi I’m Michael, an 11th grade student from Envision Academy, born and raised here in the Bay Area. Interests that I have are the inner workings of cars and what goes into building/modifying them. I’m very interested in the Mechanical Engineering world and would love to pursue a career in it. I look forward to spending the week with the ELP team and learning from them in order to grow as both a person and finding out what makes things work.

I chose to go to Envision Academy in Oakland because I heard great things about the school from my older brother who also attended for the full 4 years. So far I’ve had a great experience at Envision Academy with the school being very inclusive, I never feel out of place.

Here are a few things that I am doing at school: A bridge project in my Physics class where me and a group of students work together to design a bridge that can hold up at least one brick. A satirical piece of writing in my English class where I am pointing out a problem of my choice in today’s world/society while incorporating ideas like irony into the text.

Right now I am looking at colleges which can help the dream of me wanting to become a Mechanical Engineer with a friend of mine contributing to it as well. We have a full list of colleges with each being color coded to indicate how likely we are to be accepted, with green being we are sure to get in and red being a longshot. I am currently looking at Georgia Tech and Stanford University as my top two choices for Mechanical Engineering classes.

What I want to take from this experience of working with the ELP team is how organized and calculated I can get with all my work, but also researching so I can continue to investigate more opportunities that I and others can benefit from. 

Week Recap:

Michael on Day 1 with ELPers, Courtney & Royce

My week here has been amazing. Being able to meet all these amazing people that helped me settle in and feel welcome was exciting. I got to learn what goes on behind the scenes here and also have my share in the conversations not being left out of meetings and being asked for my inputs on a variety of subjects. A skill I improved at was my communication and planning skills. By being able to participate in the meetings I got better at talking with people that are older but also come from different backgrounds than me. Having control over my schedule also gave me a better understanding on how to handle my time in order to get the work I need done but also make time for other things, whether that be meetings or interviews by my fellow peers. I would recommend that other schools also start to implement an internship week of sorts because the opportunities and just overall knowledge that gain from a work environment is different to that of a school one. The amount of connections you can gain would be very helpful for students so that they get a sense of what their future can hold for them and it would also help them narrow what it is they actually want to do.

Michael was also able to interview three other Envision Academy interns who were at the Envision Education Support Office in Oakland, CA.


Start of the week:

L to R: Cristian, Michael, Jesus

Cristian: “I chose this because David, my mentor, the senior directive of student services, made me interested in learning more about the school policies and how they work. I want to gain a different perspective of life, although there are many other opportunities, I want one that hears about students and how they feel when it comes to certain activities. I want to improve my communication skills, not just with students but with adults too. I want to become a structural engineer/architect. What interests me about Envision is its cultural theme and how inclusive they are with African American, hispanic, etc, and how they treat them and their months for example black history month, especially with how inclusive they can be. I’m a sports guy. I play a different variety of sports like baseball, soccer, football, etc. I played for the school soccer team this year. I was thinking of going to a college in Boston or Riverside, San Jose State university.”

Jesus: “I chose this internship because it was close to my home and the work seemed interesting to do throughout the week. I want to learn what are the steps that ELP does to work with the school and how the hiring process works here. I want to improve my communication skills. What interested me about Envision was how it was really close to my house and my siblings had already gone to Envision before. I want to pursue a career in real estate. I like to play soccer, baseball, and I’m interested in the process of making music. I also like to play different instruments like the guitar, accordion, and the drums. I was thinking of trying out Sonoma State, UC Santa Cruz, Cal State, and UC Davis.”

Interns with some of their Support Office Staff

Melanie: “I wanted to go into a medical field assisting but things didn’t work out, but Mr.Viera introduced me to Ms.Kat and the idea interested me because she works with HR and the higher ups, staff, and teachers so I wanted to look more into what goes on behind the scenes at Envision to make things work at the school. I want to learn more about the environment and Ms.Kat’s routine, and what goes on behind the scenes because I didn’t think that all this went on to make the school work. I thought it was just the Principal and the staff at the school. I want to improve my communication skills and hands on work with computers like google docs and sheets. What interests me about Envision is that it’s a small community so you’re able to know almost everybody and with how it is an art and technology school I had an interest in going here when I was coming out of middle school. I’m very interested in the medical field, more specifically the dental industry. I like to explore, hang with my friends, and create memories while also having fun. Some colleges I have on my mind are UC Santa Cruz, UC Santa Barbara, and Cal Poly.”

End of the week:

Cristian: “I learned a lot of communication skills, being able to interview teachers, students, and other staff, all of these being people I do and don’t know broadened my interviewing skills. I got to create more and better bonds with all these people. Other Jobs I did were to attend a lot of meetings. The fun part about that was being able to go out, visiting the office, and getting a lot of new views/perspectives on different topics. My experience here was good. I got to meet new people and learn more about them, their job titles, and all the work they do to make everything happen. I think it’s a good idea to add an internship week for other schools because it’s a valuable learning experience, getting them slowly out of their comfort zone white also giving them knowledge on career paths that they themselves might want to pursue after the week is done.”

L to R: Cristian, Michael, Jesus

Jesus: “My week here went well and I definitely learned about the process of how teachers are hired and what they look for in teachers. A skill I improved on was being able to stay focused on a piece of work since I’m very easy in getting distracted so this internship bettered my focus. I would recommend this internship to other Envision students because it’s an easy job but you gain so much knowledge and you learn a lot from being here. I would recommend other schools to also start doing an internship style week because of the amount of opportunities you gain. For example, I was able to get a letter of recommendation from my mentor here. You also get to actually experience what the working world is like and it’ll give an early opportunity for students to learn about it.”

Melanie: “My week was very flexible and very calm, the first day I got an understanding of what the rest of my week was going to look like. After that I spent my time doing my work and overlooking my mentor to get a better understanding of what she does. I’ve learned that the process of having new people is not just accepting the job on the spot there is so much behind it. It can take weeks looking at them and accepting new staff and what they actually look at for potential staff. I improved my understanding and listening better with one on one talks with my mentor, asking her questions, and also just paying attention better. Just comprehension skills overall. I do recommend for other schools to start an internship like week because of the new environment you can get into and the vast majority of opportunities you can get by just meeting new people. A lot of students might not get the most out of just going to school so it would be very great to also learn about other experiences at other workplaces, while also giving students new jobs to look at that they might be interested in pursuing in their future.”

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