Wilton student interns spread their wings
Some stayed near to home, some went far. Some dipped their toe in medicine, science, hospitality, education, real estate, recreation, retail, the law, and business.
Seniors at Wilton High School spend the last few weeks of their final term conducting internships out in the “real world” and these efforts were on display in the school cafeteria on June 12.
Tyler Daher didn’t think he’d be able to “adjust” anyone when he took up his internship at Formula Physical Therapy in Norwalk, but he did a lot more than he thought he would.
A former patient of the business, Tyler told The Bulletin “I’m looking to study physical therapy so I wanted to see if I liked it.”
He got hands-on experience “leading exercises one-on-one, taping, and doing some manual therapy with supervision,” he said.
“The first few days they flooded my mind with the physical therapy vocabulary I needed so I could lead exercises and answer questions,” he said. He also sat in on personal training sessions at Achieve Fitness, which is affiliated with the physical therapy office.
“I’m glad I did it,” he said. “I looked at it as an actual job. It’s a lot more fun than retail. You get to meet people and know them.”
While Tyler hasn’t come to a firm decision on his future career, he is still considering physical therapy but is also thinking about becoming a nurse practitioner or a physician’s assistant.
A sprinter on the Wilton High varsity track team, Tyler will run track at Gettysburg College in the fall.
Two students had neuroscience on their minds when they applied for their internships. Allisandra Passaniti went to the Rose F. Kennedy Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx while Alex Myers dove into the emergency department at Norwalk Hospital.
Allisandra thought she would be working with chemical reactions but what she wound up doing was learning how to construct computers at the neuroscience research lab.
“I learned how to code with Matlab and how to transfer old [computer] monitors to new ones,” she explained.
“I plan on studying neuroscience in college, so I wanted to get into the field I’m passionate about,” she said, explaining her choice. She’ll do that at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Constructing computers was not what Allisandra expected, but she embraced it. “It was exciting, totally different. I didn’t think I’d enjoy it but I really did. I saw a different side of the field. It wasn’t just chemical reactions. I saw how they collect data and analyze it for breakthroughs in medicine.”
Alex Myers had her hands full — literally — when she interned at Norwalk Hospital. She could be heard telling younger students at the internship expo that she “did suturing and stapled a man’s head.”
This is not all new to Alex, who since 2017 has ridden with the Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps as an emergency medical technician, but it gave her a much broader view of emergency medicine.
According to her display in the cafeteria, Alex observed ruptured ectopic pregnancies, a 6-cm head laceration that sliced to the skull, intubation and heroin overdoses.
Alex thought she might intern with the ambulance corps, but they connected her to Dr. Brian McGovern who agreed to let her be his assistant in the emergency department. She went all in, even working the night shift.
“When you’re on the ambulance, you’re one-on-one with the patient for an hour. In the ER, you’re circulating among patients but it’s less stressful because there are a lot more resources than in the field,” she said.
Alex definitely wants to do something in the medical field, but she’s not sure what. “I enjoyed working with people, so I might want to do something patient-oriented,” she said.
Right now she is set to attend Middlebury College as a neuroscience major on a pre-med track.
Beautifying the town
Four young women discovered that being a part of the Wilton Garden Club is not a matter of cute garden gloves and rose clippers. All A.P. Environmental Science students, they thought it would be interesting to spend their internships learning about the local ecology.
“I was surprised to find out the garden club does so much,” Hope Ullman said. “There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work” to maintaining Old Town Hall, the chess park, the Wilton Historical Society, Hurlbutt Street Schoolhouse, post office, Veterans Memorial Green and the many other spots the club keeps neat, tidy and attractive.
“I learned a lot about the importance of maintaining native species,” said Cate McCabe, who spent time ripping out invasive Japanese knotweed and replacing it with pussy willow.
“It was more work than I thought it would be. It’s hard to take out a big bush and transplant it,” she said.
Aggie Favilla said she was amazed “at the amount of work that goes into making the town beautiful.”
The girls worked with Pam Nobumoto of the garden club at a number of places in town including Wilton Commons, Trackside Teen Center, the schoolhouse and the historical society.
Alexis Kiss said working at the historical spots in town was her favorite part. “I want to keep them going, to preserve the historical spots in town,” she said.
The girls also worked at the club’s greenhouse, sterilizing pots and painting a long table. They also removed invasive plants along the Norwalk River Valley Trail.
The experience gave them new insights into gardening, which they “definitely” see in their future. One of the girls admitted to “bringing home some plants.”