Seniors intern with alumni professionals


Courtesy of Meeah Bradford

Senior Meeah Bradford enjoys lunch with her internship sponsor, Dr. Don Schaffer.

Natalie Boquist and Natasha Janssens

Few high school students spend their summers immersed in venture capitalism or pediatrics. With the School’s alumni internship program, however, seniors Wenqing He and Meeah Bradford explored these industries under the guidance of alumni professionals.

The St. John’s Student Internship Program, launched in 2012, is overseen by the Alumni Board’s Networking Committee. This committee, along with program coordinator Shannon Fulton, recruits alumni and parents of alumni to act as sponsors for the program.

During the internship application process, students selected their top three industries and wrote essays about their interest and experience in those industries. 

“I ranked finance first because it’s something I see in my future, and I think I’d fit into finance well,” Wenqing said. “I’m a pretty good problem solver and I want to know the industry better so that I can get a better idea of what I want to do in my future.” 

Not every student who applied for an internship was offered one. There were 44 more applicants than in years past (124 instead of 80), and some sponsors were not able to participate in the program because of COVID. Of the 124 students who applied to the program, only 99 received internships with one of 54 sponsors. 

Students who did not receive an internship opportunity were instead able to participate in mentor opportunities with alumni. Fulton said that other students could meet with alumni to discuss the field they work in and the journey of how the alum got to where they are. 

Because of her interest in venture capitalism, Wenqing worked with Rushmore Resource Partners, a company in the oil and gas industry. Her daily routine included attending meetings with CEO Michael Pipkin (‘01). She learned about financial modeling as well as energy and geopolitical issues.

“I’m extremely grateful that this internship allowed me to experience the work setting in corporate life,” Wenqing said. “It wasn’t just about doing repetitive or reading papers and books like some internships are, and I really appreciated that.”

Bradford’s internship with Don Schaffer (‘69), a children’s physician at Pediatrics of Greater Houston, was similarly hands-on. Bradford’s day with Schaffer started around 9:30 a.m. with wellness checks, vaccinations and visits for minor illnesses. After lunch, Bradford would continue to do room-to-room visits until 6 p.m.

Bradford’s experience working in pediatric care made her realize how much she wanted to go into the medical field.

“I’m super grateful to St. John’s for giving us this opportunity,” she said.