Students at American Heritage have endless opportunities to discover their passions. In the case of these three seniors, the internships they have participated in through their respective pre-professional programs have taught them invaluable lessons and brought irreplaceable memories.
Pre-Med: Senior Lee Friedman
Since Friedman was born, his parents have encouraged him to become a doctor instead of lawyers like them. Upon breaking his wrist in eighth grade while playing football, Friedman grew fascinated with the x-ray images of his broken bones. This pushed him towards considering a profession in medicine, thinking it might be the right choice for him. Fortunately, he decided to attend American Heritage freshman year, which presented him with the opportunity to join the pre-med track.
Friedman has taken various pre-med classes, including Medical Terminology, Embryology, Anatomy & Physiology, Pathology, Forensics and Organic Chemistry. Besides these classes, he took AP Biology and AP Chemistry, which are also associated with the program. The medical internship exposes students to a day in the life of a real doctor, as they have the opportunity to look in on live surgeries, witness meetings with patients and engage in live patient care.
Friedman’s favorite aspect of the pre-med internship is first hand interaction with patients. “I think it is extremely important to build a strong rapport with your patients as a doctor, and I can learn so much about how to deal with patients through internships,” Friedman said. Friedman has the opportunity to watch doctors tailor to their patients in each unique situation or case.
“The internships bring everything I have learned in the classroom to life,” Friedman said. “For example, Dr. John Chang taught me how to tie surgical knots. That is something you have to know to become a surgeon, but we have not even touched on it in a classroom.”
Pre-Law: Senior Madison Paez
Paez has dreamed of becoming a lawyer since she was about eight years old. Because she did not know which type of law she wanted to practice, she joined the Pre-Law program upon enrolling in the school freshman year. Since then, she has taken Business Law, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Constitutional Law, Torts, Family Law and Homicide Law, hoping to form a well-lit path to her future career as a lawyer.
Paez’s favorite part about the internship program is her opportunity to meet passionate people who work in the legal system. “It is very rare that we come across people who love what they do and do what they love, but I have yet to meet a person who does not during internship,” Paez said.
Paez admires the fact that everyone is fighting for a difference cause, advocating for a different group and working in the legal profession for a different reason. Internship has allowed her to realize how unifying law is, as it brings together people of all different backgrounds and purposes with the same passion.
“I think it is extremely important for high school students to follow a track and participate in an internship,” Paez said. “It is important for us to get involved in the things we think we like. Whether we realize that we want to pursue that particular field, or that it is really not for us, it is better to go through that transition as a high school student than it is a college, or even graduate student.”
The internship has also allowed her to apply what she learns in the classroom to the real world. While in school law students write briefs, take IRAC exams, deliver opening and closing statements and get questioned by judges during oral argument, none of those things can parallel to sitting in a conference room with an attorney and analyzing a real case, or watching a real murder trial at the Broward County Courthouse. Paez’s experiences during internship have exposed her to what her everyday life would be like as an attorney, which she could not learn from a textbook.
Pre-Engineering: Senior Anurag Akkiraju
Akkiraju has always been interested in how things work and how things do what they do. He found joining the Pre-Engineering program at Heritage to be the most efficient way to further his interests and figure it out.
Akkiraju began taking Pre-Engineering Classes in his freshman year. Theses classes include ‘Introduction in Engineering Design,’ ‘Principles of Engineering,’ ‘Digital Electronics,’ and the final year capstone class, ‘Engineering Design and Development.’
“My favorite part of internship, other than missing school, is working hands-on with my friends and the new experiences every time,” Akkiraju said. He believes that the opportunity for high school students to follow a track that culminates in an internship is special because it exposes the students to many different subsets of the field in general and will prepare them immensely for college.
“I have an unusually large amount of experience working hands-on, thanks to robotics, compared to most people, so I haven’t personally learned much that I already didn’t know, but I surely wouldn’t have learned to take apart and put together car transmissions if it weren’t for my internship at Seal Aftermarkets,” Akkiraju said.