EDI Committee hosts inaugural paid summer internship for high school students

Our interns from left: Alaylah Bingley, Simarjot Mann, Matt Blakefield, Paras Gautam, Emmet Meenk and Oscar Zarate.

Our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee’s ‘Build a Pipeline’ subcommittee hosted six high school students for an inaugural summer internship for underrepresented minority students in medicine from August 8 through September 2.  

More than 60 faculty, staff, residents and fellows participated in giving lectures, hosting workshops, providing shadowing experiences and soft skills development as part of this internship, which was led by Pipeline Co-Chairs Hubert Vesselle, M.D., Ph.D, and Safia Cheeney, M.D. The internship was hosted in collaboration with the Department of Radiation Oncology, and students spent equal time in both departments over the course of four weeks. 

Matt Blakefield practicing CPR in a course let by Education Coordinator Petra Lamon.

In the radiology department, interns learned about radiation safety, shadowed with CT, MRI, ultrasound and Nuclear Medicine technologists, and participated in Medical Physics, Breast Imaging and Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality/3D printing workshops while learning about all the different career opportunities in a radiology department. For each radiology subdiscipline the interns learned about the physics of each imaging modality and saw examples of scans with interpretation sessions led by faculty, residents and fellows. Students were also exposed to a few examples of interventional radiology procedures.

As part of the internship, students were required to complete journal entries about their experience, interview faculty, staff and trainees to initiate mentorship relationships, and prepare a final presentation which they presented to the group on the last day. 

Intern Alaylah Bingley wearing scrubs and a lead vest.

By the end of internship, our interns expressed interest in becoming technologists, physicians, nurse practitioners, bioengineers or medical physicists, and physician assistants. To quote our intern Oscar, participating in the internship “was the best decision [he] made all year.”  

Interns Simarjot Mann and Alaylah Bingley practice ultrasound.

It was a gratifying experience not only for our interns (for many, this was their first “job”), but also for our team of 60+ who gave their time and effort to plan, coordinate, and polish their lectures, design workshops and host shadowing experiences for our students. Feedback received from the students underscores how appreciative they are of having been given such an opportunity and that they look forward to more activities with our department.

The interns, who were between 16-17 years old, were selected via an interview process. Most attended the Pipeline’s two-day Weekend Immersion Program in April and came from TAF@Saghalie High School in Federal Way — a partnership Dr. Vesselle has been growing since 2021. 

Share this story: