Alumni (Volume 2: Fall 2012)

Life after High School: Opportunities for Work and Travel

Connor Reed – Class of 2012

Connor Read – Opening Day
City Year New York

I am taking a gap year to serve as a corps member in City Year: an education focused non-profit organization that works in high-need schools to provide targeted student intervention and instructional support.

Why do I serve? I serve because I believe education is the first step towards the pursuit of happiness. I serve for the students who feel abandoned, unappreciated, and talentless–to show that even if they feel that not one other person in this world believes in them–I do, and I always will. I serve to help students excel in their areas of strength, build upon their areas of weakness, and to help them discover their brilliant, unique identities.

Check out my blog: Forever Ubuntu– An “Idealist’s Journey”

 “If you would like more information about my service and/or are interested in pursuing a gap year with City Year or another NGO, feel free to email me at He is very open to questions!”

Lydia Shannon – Class of 2012

Lydia Shannon (far left) at Casper

It doesn’t matter what area of knowledge you peruse after high school or what university or college you end up at, you can always find opportunities to do things and go places you never thought you would. Chances to work in and travel to new and interesting locations really start to open up after the first couple years of attending a university or college. If you are willing to work hard in those first two years, you will find the payoff is that these opportunities become easier and easier to obtain.

This past summer I was accepted into a paid internship for physics and engineering students in Waco, Texas, after applying for the program in the spring. I spent two months at Baylor University working as an employee for the Center for Astrophysics, Space Physics and Engineering Research (CASPER). I participated in a research project to explore and refine methods for detecting exoplanet transits at the Paul and Jane Meyer Observatory in Coryell County, Texas. An exoplanet is any planet that orbits a star outside our solar system. The transit of such an object occurs when it passes in front of its host star in such a way that the passage is visible from Earth. I was able to collect data from these transits as they occurred and even control the telescope at the observatory. At the end of the program I presented my findings in a presentation and wrote a paper summarizing what I had done and making suggestions for future research in that area. This opportunity to work on such an interesting project with professionals from the university was a very important experience to me that greatly improved my knowledge and my credentials.

I have yet another opportunity this coming academic year to have an experience that most universities and colleges strongly encourage for their students. I will be spending the year abroad in Hamburg, Germany, studying at the Universität Hamburg. This is a part of a junior-year study abroad program hosted by my college. I will be living in an apartment with other German and foreign students and all my classes will be taught in German. By the end of this experience I will have learned a sufficient amount of German and I will have experienced an exciting new culture and way of life. I will also have time to travel to other countries during the year and see some incredible places. Study abroad programs are offered at many universities and colleges and students can also apply to go abroad for a year or a semester independent of their university or college. I believe it is an opportunity every student should take advantage of.

These are two examples of the kinds of opportunities available for students after high school. You don’t have to go into physics to get a great internship either. All academic pursuits have their own experiences to offer students who are willing to work hard for them.  Study abroad programs and other opportunities for travel are also offered at every university and college. As a student, you will have plenty of chances open up to you for incredible and invaluable experiences in work and travel.

Alex Temple – Class of 2005

As part of his work for Hollywood Scoring, Alex was on a team that collaboratively composed the opening fanfare music for chorus and orchestra to the League of Legends World Championship.


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