An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Quinton H. '19

Last winter my mom asked me what I wanted to do for a job the upcoming summer. I hadn’t really thought that far ahead yet, so I started thinking about my possibilities. I knew I could get a job at a pizzeria or a golf course like a lot of my friends, but I wanted to work someplace where I could gain valuable work experience that aligned with my future career interests. I don’t exactly know what I want to do when I’m older, but I know for sure it will be in the field of nonprofit work. 

One day when I was volunteering, the organization told me they were going to have a Teens in Public Service (TIPS) intern that summer and I should look into applying for TIPS. After some research, I realized that being a TIPS intern would be the perfect fit for me. TIPS is a Seattle organization that places high school students with a paid internship at one of their many partner nonprofit organizations. This organization really intrigued me, so I applied, interviewed, and eventually was selected to be a summer intern. After reviewing my interests, TIPS placed me at The International Living Future Institute, which is the leading certified and standard-setter in green buildings and products. I spent my summer working at The Bullitt Center in Seattle, one of the world’s greenest buildings. The Bullitt Center is one of a hundred buildings that has reached the environmental standards of my organization.

Right when school ended in June I began my internship. When I arrived, I was completely caught off guard by the six-story office building with a massive solar panel as its roof. On my first day, I was really nervous as I had never worked in a fancy office space before. I was given my own personal working laptop and a massive desk right in the center of the office space. I worked a 9-5 shift, 5 days a week for about 5 weeks. The first week I mostly familiarized myself with the organization and its very ambitious environmental goals. After that I spent the rest of the summer researching for future standards and helping the organization switch databases in order for the company to run more efficiently. 

I completed 160 hours in August, which was required by TIPS, and I look forward to becoming a Living Future Ambassador and helping out there more in the future. My internship taught me how to work an office job and what the expectations are, which is invaluable for the rest of my life. I also learned how to incorporate my new environmental knowledge with my humanitarian interests, such as using non-toxic building materials and maximizing energy efficiency of buildings. Most importantly, I learned what it takes to work and run a large non-profit organization, which is my career goal.