Five ambitious young women, all rising juniors in Marlborough High School’s (MHS) STEM program, undertook an internship this summer at Marlborough Hospital, to create a program to educate their peers on General Health Education. The internship was a result of Partnerships for a Skilled Workforce’s (PSW) collaboration with Marlborough High School. PSW has a STEM Career Specialist located at the high school who works to provide students career awareness, exploration and work experiences to help them understand the job market and define their career pathways. As a culminating event, students choose a work experience for a hands-on opportunity to explore a STEM career.

Spearheading the program on-site was Kimberly Votruba-Matook, Marlborough Hospital’s Marketing and Development Coordinator. The project objective was to understand the hospital’s role in community health education, and offer a potential idea the community might implement. Kim created an intense 7-day agenda allowing time for interviews, research and creative, guiding the students along the way and preparing them for their final presentation. Three upperclassmen from the prior year’s program returned to work as mentors, playing a valuable role encouraging the students to be bold in their thinking, and help them stay focused, managing their time.

MHS students present their research and recommendations to high school staff and invited guests

Together, Katie Joniaux, Natasha Santos, Brianna Walsh, Olivia Sauer, and Sarah Naim decided to create videos to educate their high school peers about general health topics: physical well-being, nutrition, and healthy mindset. There’s a short video planned for each subject, followed by a quiz with teen-friendly prizes like Fitbits, gift cards to Dick’s Sporting Goods and water bottles to provide incentive for participation.

Sitting through the student’s presentation to hospital management, I was amazed by the maturity and confidence the group displayed. The thought process in the development of their marketing campaign and materials was impressive. Equally impressed, Kim Votruba-Matook had this to say at the project’s wrap-up session, “I have great trust in my partnership with PSW. This is the third year we have undertaken a summer project with MHS, and I am always confident in the preparation the students receive from PSW and at the high school.  Every year I am impressed by their creativity, confidence and poise.”