Our seniors are stellar interns!

Each year, Green Meadow Waldorf School 12th graders do a three-week internship in April, allowing them to experience a workplace firsthand. They keep a daily journal about their thoughts and impressions, and the school receives official feedback from the student's on-site internship coordinator. We are so proud of the responses we received about the Class of 2018 that we just have to share them. Students' names are omitted to respect their privacy. 

From Gonxhe Magellara, Commissary Manager Production at Momofuku Milk Bar: "[The student] was able to jump on any station, with full confidence and leadership skills...It was also helpful that she is bilingual, able to communicate in both English and Spanish...She was awesome to the team and super-reliable...If she were [looking for] a cook position, she would most certainly be hired!" 

From Cody Wells, Creator at C3Brix: "[The student's] knowledge/creativity/personality made him a perfect fit...there was no doubt he would exceed expectations. To have [him] here these three weeks was nothing short of a breath of fresh air. Can I have him back or can we clone him?" 

From Professor Amy Adamczyk at John Jay College of Criminal Justice: "[The student] had to think and work strategically to diagnose the many problems that arose [during the project] and work with other research team members to figure out a path forward...[She] is thoughtful, easy to work with, and highly intelligent. I wish all my students were as skilled and dedicated as she was."

From Debbi Fleckenstein, Producer at Elmwood Community Playhouse: "[The student] does not shy away from learning anything we have thrown at him...I wish we had three more like him. His initiative was shown in volunteering to do anything that he sees we're looking around for someone to do." 

From David Scharf, Owner at David L. Scharf Construction: "It's very rare to find someone who has so little construction experience yet is so good with his hands. He has a talent for this work (and I offered him a job this summer)."

From Lisa Devo, Owner, Soap & Paper Factory: "We love [her]! I can't wait to see where she is in 10 years. She gives me hope in our youth."

From Joseph Orchard, Senior Editor at Repertoire International de Litterature Musicale: "[The student] understood the project instantly.. [His] intelligence, independence, and motivation to complete the project were all immensely impressive." 


Summer Blog Series: Highlights from The Bulletin (#9)

Our Summer blog series continues through early September, as we share some of our favorite articles published this past year in The Bulletin. Enjoy! 

Student Spotlight:  A Brief Story of My Summer Internship

By Sam Wheeler, current Twelfth Grader

During the summer of 2016, between Tenth and Eleventh grades, I returned to my home city, Beijing, to attend an engineering internship. The internship took place at Tsinghua University, where my grandfather is a professor emeritus; he specialized in artificial intelligence and taught there for 40 years before he retired.  I was lucky to have the opportunity to join the post-graduate robotics department for a whole month where my grandfather’s students, the robotics professors, were teaching.

First, I would like to give a background of Tsinghua University itself: Tsinghua University was established in 1911 using funds donated by the US and is a comprehensive research university with 20 schools and 54 departments covering disciplines in art, economics, education, engineering, history, management, medicine, law, literature, philosophy, and sciences. Its strong research and training offerings consistently place Tsinghua University as one of the top academic institutions in China, alongside Peking University.  Of course, this leads to the belief in many Chinese people's minds that these two universities are the only two worth graduating from in China, in the same way that they consider Harvard and Yale to be the “only” two schools in the US. 

Situated in northwestern Beijing, Tsinghua University’s campus has been named one of the most beautiful in the world. The campus, which was established on the site of a former royal garden, contains beautiful buildings that are over a century old, with Stalin-esque monstrosities modeled after Soviet era architecture, and beautiful modern buildings designed by incredible architects. It is safe to say that Tsinghua University is an incredibly unique university.

For my internship, my first task was to write an essay on the future of robotics, particularly the domestication of robots. I was asked to consider the current technology in the field and its availability, as well as the practicality of domestic robots and its possible impact on society in general. After a week of intensive research on the matter, I presented my report to the professor in charge, and he took it in for review. I was given two more tasks for the remainder of my internship, which were to assist the post-graduates with any experiments they needed help with, and to teach myself during the time in between.

Over the next few weeks, I would help with the experiments of the two main focuses in the department. One of the focuses was an autonomous bike designed for delivery through busy situations, like the streets of a big city. Not only that, the bike needed the durability to travel moderate distances with a heavy payload. I was told that a completely autonomous real time detection system needed incredibly complex code, and it required a great deal of adjustments. I assisted with these adjustments, and learned the improvisational capacity of post-graduates were almost limitless. Instead of properly setting up obstacles, they would place a bag of soccer balls, or even just run around the bike themselves to test the code.

The other focus of the department was designing a humanoid robot capable of playing sports. This meant that the robot would need agility, speed, and most importantly, balance. It took a massive compilation of code to get the robot to walk without falling over, and with this group, I assisted with guiding the robot while they tested its balance on a soccer field. By the end of the internship I had assisted in multiple experiments and gained a deeper knowledge of engineering and robotics. During the intermittent times between the experiments, I taught myself three new coding languages: JavaScript, HTML and CSS.

When my professor returned my report, he said that it was a very useful insight on the future of robotics and that he would possibly use it in an investment pitch to potential donors for the robotics department.

During my time there, I discovered that as a post-graduate, it is entirely up to them to build their projects and to create a reasonable schedule. Of course, the professor will be there intermittently to be a guide, but the bulk of responsibility lies on the post-graduate to create the project, mark the deadlines, and to create a schedule so that the result is high quality. This extends to daily schedules as well; if confident in their own abilities, they can change their working hours to suit them, and in doing so gain the ability to self-manage more appropriately.

Why Waldorf? (Part 5 in a series)

In this series, we have been introducing you every week to a teacher, parent, or student who shares something about why they love Green Meadow and Waldorf Education. Today we hear from Emily Lauer, a twelfth grader who has been at Green Meadow since Kindergarten. She is currently on her senior internship (as is the entire Class of 2017).

Click on the title of this post to see a photo of Emily Lauer's morning view of the Brooklyn Bridge.

I am lucky enough to have two internships in NYC! One is working at Walter Pictures, a video production company. The other at the Allouche Art Gallery. So far I have had a wonderful time at both. Walter Pictures is mostly responsible for making music videos and I was lucky enough to be able to shoot with them in the first week of my internship. At the art gallery, I have been able to take part in many different aspects of the business, including helping put together a gallery opening.

I could go on and on about what I've been up to but I’ll save that for another time. The real question is how on earth has my Waldorf Education prepared me to go out into the world, start working, and have some clue about what I'm doing?

Two things come to mind:

Waldorf teaching really develops a well-rounded person, someone who is ready for anything and has both the skills and the brains to do it all. That is part of it.

I also believe that the social interactions that we practice in school, such as the way that we treat each other and how much importance we place on respect for our teachers, emanates through our work and is cherished in any work space.

I think anyone who has been through a Waldorf Education will have no trouble finding and fitting into any career or job that they choose.