UNM-LA Community Internship Collaboration Celebrates Fourth Successful Semester

Student interns with Laura Loy of UNM-LA, far left, and Ken Holmes from Los Alamos HIgh School, far right. Photo by Nancy Coombs/UNM-LA

Intern Niamh Short worked as a marketing assistant with Library Program Specialist Katy Korkos. Photo by Nancy Coombs/UNM-LA


The Community Internship Collaboration (CIC) celebrated its fourth successful semester May 10 of matching UNM-Los Alamos (UNM-LA) and Los Alamos High School (LAHS) students with local business mentors.

Thirteen student participants gathered in the UNM-LA lecture hall to talk about their experiences with parents and other community members. With display boards presenting photographs, maps, graphs or other representations of their work as interns, the students enthusiastically talked about what they had done and what they learned from the experience.

Laura Loy attended the event as the CIC Coordinator for the last time, as she has accepted a new position. For her, this made the graduation bittersweet.

As the program coordinator, Loy met with the students weekly, teaching them different business skills from developing a resume to workplace etiquette. She has truly enjoyed watching the transformation that many of the students go through during the semester, Loy said.

“I really feel the CIC is becoming an integral part of the community,” Loy said.  “I frequently meet former interns and mentors and they always recall how much they enjoyed the experience, and how much they learned. I’ve seen the program grow and evolve. It has been a very fulfilling experience for me.”

Many of the mentors were at the graduation as well, and they were pleased to talk about working with the CIC.

Los Alamos County Library System Program Specialist Katy Korkos mentored Niamh Short. “Working with Niamh Short as my marketing intern for the library was a fabulous experience for me,” Korkos said. “I enjoyed working with such an intelligent and enthusiastic young person. She was a great help with the many events we put on at the library during the semester, and really took the library’s mission to heart.

“I think the real-world experience was valuable for Niamh as well, because she got to filter her ideas through the matrix of actual constraints, budgets and deadlines.”

Lauren Johnson interned with Dabney and Griffith Law Office. Johnson completed her Associate of Arts degree this semester and plans to continue study at Brigham Young University, with the ultimate goal of attending law school.

For Johnson, the opportunities she had during her internship helped her not only solidify her plans of becoming an attorney, but also helped her gain insight as to what type of law she wants to pursue.

Attorney Philip Dabney spoke very positively about mentoring Johnson.

“Lauren got to participate in some things first hand that lawyers do in real life,” he said.

Johnson sat through a civil trial in court at the beginning of her internship. Then she assisted in the preparation of trial papers for a family court matter, and sat in on that trial as well, observing the interactions between the judge, lawyers, witnesses and parties involved.

Dabney also encouraged Johnson to research and write about elder law and elder abuse. He and Atty. Reid Griffith are reviewing the papers now with plans on submitting them to the newspaper for publication later this summer. Their work together was so successful that Dabney and Griffith Law Office asked Johnson to continue working with them through the summer.

Ryan Guenther was paired with Kelly Stewart, marketing specialist with Los Alamos County Economic Development. Stewart was able to specifically tailor his internship to align with his interest in film.

“From an employer’s perspective, I was matched with a student who was eager to get real-world work experience by completing a work project that, due to lack of resources, would not get done otherwise: development of content for an app and website for the Los Alamos Film Office,” Stewart said.

“Perhaps more important than the end product, I made it a priority to provide a safe environment to test his communications, networking and project management skills at a professional conference, on conference calls, on a film set, and in the development of materials and processes for the project itself. In each case, my intern rose to the moment, showing initiative, innovation, accountability and the ability to engage.
“Although the CIC spring internship is officially over, my intern and I have made plans to continue working together on film-related projects. I think the CIC program is an essential part of Los Alamos’ workforce pipeline.”

CIC is a partnership of involving UNM-Los Alamos, Los Alamos High School, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Security, LLC, and the UNM-Los Alamos Small Business Development Center.

It was established to fill an employment gap in the community and expand partnerships between the Laboratory, small business owners and schools.

The program’s goals are to provide meaningful work experiences for students, meet area workforce needs, and to develop the future workforce for the local community, the region and the Laboratory.

UNM-Los Alamos is committed to continuing the CIC program next fall. To learn more about the program, visit http://losalamos.unm.edu/cic/.

Marketing Specialist Kelly Stewart, with Los Alamos County Economic Development, was able to invite intern Ryan Guenther to a film conference for an inside look at working with the film industry. Photo by Nancy Coombs/UNM-LA

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