Priscilla Aguilar is making plans to work in the medical field someday. This summer, through an innovative pilot program, she gained a head start.
Aguilar, a senior at SM North, applied and was selected as one of 12 Signature Program students to be a part of the pilot year of Leadership Shawnee Mission: The Jewell Summit Leadership Academy.
The program was designed specifically to strengthen student leadership and employment skills. It was offered to students through a partnership between the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation, William Jewell College, and local business and nonprofit organizations.
Aguilar served in an internship with Shelby Rebeck, Shawnee Mission School District coordinator for Health Services and for the REACH Healthcare Foundation. With Rebeck, Aguilar worked to develop a training program for district nurses.
The SM North senior said she enjoyed working on the project so much, she found herself working on it in her free time just for fun. The results of their work are expected to be shared with district nurses this fall as Aguilar continues her studies in the district’s Medical Health Science Signature Program.
“This is actually a really cool project,” Aguilar said.
Rebeck said on the first day Aguilar arrived she had already completed research to prepare for her work.
“Priscilla’s been instrumental in developing the training portion of the program,” Rebeck said. “I enjoyed seeing her be so excited about learning and excited about what she was doing. It was truly beneficial to have an assistant. She was a hard worker and was able to accomplish anything she was assigned.”
Students were intentionally matched with internships that helped them explore their interests and future plans. Eduardo Negrete II, an Engineering Signature Program and Leadership Shawnee Mission student, is interested in becoming a civil engineer and spent time in the school district’s office of Sustainability.
“This experience has shifted my perspective on green infrastructure,” he said. “Leadership Shawnee Mission has been really valuable.”
Around the metro this summer, Leadership Shawnee Mission students like Aguilar and Negrete, took part in a 42-hour internship at a local nonprofit or business. These opportunities fulfill shared goals of the District and Foundation of providing innovative and challenging learning opportunities that help students prepare for college and career.
“We recognize that an essential part of a great education is preparing our students for the workforce or college,” Kimberly Hinkle, Shawnee Mission Education Foundation Executive Director said.
Aguilar, along with 11 selected Shawnee Mission students, also took part in a program led by facilitators from William Jewell College’s Tucker Leadership Lab. Through the lab, students worked to enhance leadership skills including financial literacy, conflict resolution, servant leadership, communication and collaboration, reading, leadership models and group work.
Aguilar said she was grateful to have been nominated and selected to be a part of the program.
“I’ve never really done anything like this before,” she said. “But, I’ve met a lot of different people and I’ve learned a lot about how communication is key in anything you do.”
Shawnee Mission Health, DEMDACO, Smith and Loveless, Youth Volunteer Corps, ACI Boland, Just Like You Films, TED Systems Inc., REACH Healthcare Foundation and Soft Warfare were among the partners who provided internships to Shawnee Mission students.
“We want to thank our business and community partners. We value these partnerships and know that we could not offer such a robust and prestigious program without their involvement,” Hinkle said. “Our goal is creating better leaders and through this program, we have done just that. I couldn’t be prouder.”