By Owen Cupp
As he welds the muffler onto a pipe, the torch he is holding heats up and sparks begin to fly as the muffler forges onto the pipe attached to the car. He must be careful, as if he makes one mistake, he could easily burn his arm.
Senior Ethan Bailey is one of 23 students who intern.
Ethan interns at A-1 Muffler. He got a job over the summer at the end of last school year and decided to continue working there.
“I worked all summer and they close at 5,” Ethan said. “I had to figure out a way to get to work and be able to work enough hours to make it worth staying there.”
Ethan has had to use skills no high schooler would think of using outside of high school.
“[Working at a muffler shop] takes a lot more geometry than I thought it would,” Ethan said. “If you are bending a pipe, you need to know the angle that you are going to bend it at and the different ways to fit it.”
Ethan has had a lot of experience with cars his whole life, but he was nervous on the first day. His job before working there was at a Pizza King, so switching jobs was a big change.
Working at a muffler shop can be dangerous as well.
“We work with torches, a lot of fire, heat, and welding,” Ethan said. “You can hurt yourself very easily. I was welding one time and I moved my hand and I burnt myself. It blistered up about half an inch.”
Another student intern is Danielle Weber, who is deciding between becoming a medical assistant or a radiologist.
Danielle currently interns at The Imaging Center for IU Health.
“I basically sit between the CT and the MRI’s,” Danielle said. “I can’t really do anything because I didn’t go through school and everything. I just job shadow them and watch them do what they need to do.”
Danielle also has to do a few tasks every day when she gets to the Imaging Center. She puts clipboards in the office, watches the CT and MR do scans, and sometimes goes to the X-ray and ultrasound.
She has learned that she does not want to pursue this career, as it takes a lot of brain power and dedication.
One spooky internship is held by Lilly Swingley, who works at Meeks Mortuary & Crematory in Muncie.
“I’ll walk in, hang up my coat, and I’ll go straight down to the basement where the embalming room is and ask my boss (Tony) if he needs anything,” Lilly says. “Some days I’ll have to go to a different room to process cremations or sometimes he will take me to the embalming room to help embalm a body.”
Lilly was nervous on her first day, as asking to help embalm a body is not something an average person would do.
“My first embalming was an autopsy, which means they were cut open on the chest with a Y-incision. That was the first one I’ve ever seen,” Lilly said. “Tony asked me ‘How good is your stomach?’ and then ushered me into the embalming room. I nearly gagged and I can no longer have anything mint because embalming fluid is kind of minty and I can’t stand it anymore.”
The teacher for internships is business teacher Mr. Andy Lewman. It is Mr. Lewman’s fifth year supervising student internships.
“Student interns basically go and job shadow people in possibly an area that they may want to pursue for a career,” Mr. Lewman said. “They observe them working and stuff of that sort. We’ve had students that go and work their jobs during the time of sixth and seventh period.”
Usually students secure their own internships, but some can have trouble finding places that specialize in what they want to do. If they have troubles, Mr. Lewman can help students find opportunities.
Mr. Lewman also has had other jobs before deciding to become a teacher.
“I have experience working in the accounting field and also in sales, so I have some business background to go along with my teaching background, which I hope allows me the opportunity to give students a good variety of things to learn associated with heading out into the workforce,” Mr. Lewman said.
If students are interested in becoming a student intern when they are a senior, they can talk to Mr. Lewman when they are an upperclassmen and find out the many internship opportunities available nearby.
Before students talk with Mr. Lewman, they should try to have an idea of what they would want to do.
“The other thing they can do is they can come and check with me and I will see what I can do to help direct them,” Mr. Lewman said. “I do have a handful of places that ask me on a fairly often basis, ‘Hey, are you going to have any interns that have an interest in something that we do?’ ”