Students take on summer jobs


To learn more about what community members did this summer, The Vanguard spoke with four Upper School students about their summer jobs.

Lab Rat

Instead of ocean breezes or ice cream, Sanya Goenka ’22 got whiffs of mouse lungs at her summer job. During her two-month paid internship at biotech company Moderna Therapeutics, Sanya researched Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD)—a rare, currently incurable lung disease that occurs in premature babies and causes fewer and thicker alveoli, air sacs that allow for gas exchange in the lungs.

“I am generally interested in biology and chemistry and I’ve always wanted to work in a lab,” Sanya said, “and recently Moderna has been doing amazing things, so having the opportunity to work there was incredible.”

Sanya learned about the opportunity through a connection to Moderna and went through an interview process before being placed in the rare disease lab.

Sanya said she spent her internship researching BPD and completing various procedures involving protein activity or expression in a lab.

“I had never worked in a lab before, so every single day I was learning something new,” she said, recalling a specific experience of learning about different types of pipettes and their uses.

As the only high schooler there, Sanya said, her older, more experienced colleagues were intimidating but inspiring, and she learned a lot from their expertise.

“I just had to get over the fear of asking stupid questions because everyone was way smarter than me,” she said. “On one of my last days there, I asked a question about a solution we had been using since the first day to confirm it was a lipid. That did not make me look great, but I am glad I asked in the end because I’d rather leave understanding what I was doing compared to being confused.”

By the end of the internship, Sanya said, she felt more knowledgeable and had made connections with people in the STEM field.

“Compared to [before the internship], my gap of knowledge and just basic science and biology feels so different,” she said. “I’m so sad that it is over.”

—Madera Longstreet-Lipson ’23

Camper to Counselor

Dodgeballs whiz through the air, counselors in Avengers costumes try to avoid them, eight-year-old, newly recruited Agents of Shield shout and scream while searching for infinity stones, and a camp director covered in purple face paint threatens to destroy the world as Thanos. This is just another workday for camp counselor Daniel Cudkowicz ’22 at Camp Beaver, a day camp at Beaver Country Day School for campers ages three to 13.

Every Friday has a theme, and counselors and campers dress and act accordingly. For Avengers Day, the camp had light shows, special effects, at least one fog machine, and a final battle, Daniel said.

“We get a lot of crazy stories from themed Fridays,” Daniel said. “We once created ‘hurricane Friday’ since it was supposed to pour, and everyone showed up in rain jackets and boots, but it turned out to be 80 degrees and sunny the entire day.”

Since he himself was a five-year-old new camper at Camp Beaver, Daniel said, he’s gained a sense of responsibility. On top of joining the campers for daily activities and morning pow-wows with the camp director and counselors, Daniel said, he’s always making sure his campers, the eight-and nine-year-old group, stay in his sight.

“I’m still having fun and playing, but my goal is no longer to win. It’s to make sure everyone is having a good time and staying safe.”

The camp runs for eight weeks and utilizes the whole Beaver Country Day campus for activities like gaga ball and rock climbing. Admitting that he can sometimes “act a lot like a nine-year-old” because of his time with campers, Daniel said his animated energy can go a long way at school, too.

“At school, people are constantly stressed out, but bringing that same lively energy to stressful situations can remove a lot of tension for many students.”

Daniel said his campers’ resilience inspires him.

“When a little kid falls, they’re upset for a couple minutes, but then they immediately bounce back and bring enthusiasm to the next activity,” he said. “I try to incorporate that into my daily life. When I mess up or get hurt, I can be upset, but at some point I need to move on and try again.”

With his first year as a counselor under his belt, along with seven combined years as a camper and counselor in training, Daniel said, he plans to work at Camp Beaver again next summer.

—Ford Legg ’23

Nurturing in Nature

After over a year of social distancing and self-isolation, Tess Holland ’23 her summer connecting with kids and helping them connect in the outdoors. As a counselor at The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History’s Kid Summer Day Program, an eight-week summer program dedicated to teaching elementary and middle school children about the local environment on Cape Cod, Tess said she valued the outdoor experience the program prioritized.

“The museum wanted to bring the children back outdoors because kids are now living in the age of technology where iPads are replacing outdoor exploring,” Tess said.

Following a year of remote learning, Tess said, wearing masks and socializing was difficult for the campers.

“There’s just a lack of social experience,” she said.

One of Tess’ main responsibilities involved creating a lesson plan each week for the children’s learning experience.

“I tried to have a different theme each day: birds one day, marine animals another,” she said. “It takes a while, but it’s fun to balance it out, try new activities, and see what the kids like.”

The program made use of the museum’s resources, including the Mud Kitchen, the Butterfly House, and the museum’s aquarium. Tess enjoyed watching the campers at the Butterfly House, she said.

“The butterflies land on the kids if they’re very still and calm. The kids get super excited, and you can just see it in their eyes,” Tess said.

Tess said her job brought her back to her own outdoor experiences as a child.

“I feel almost like I’m a camper sometimes,” she said. “It’s still fun to go on hikes with the kids, look at different animals, explore, and see the world through a five-year old’s eyes again.”

—David Min ’22

First Slice of Working Life

When Quentin Higgins ’25 interviewed in June to work at Stoked Pizza Company in Brookline, Massachusetts, he walked away from two phone calls and a 5-minute interview with not one job, but two.

Quentin was excited to take a job at Stoked Pizza, he said, and now works two four-hour shifts every day.

“I had been in there before, and it seemed like a nice environment.”

Every day, Quentin begins as a host for lunch, where he takes orders over the phone, hands over delivery and takeout orders, and seats people who are dining in. At around 4 p.m., Quentin either continues as a host or switches to his role as a back server, where he resets tables when customers leave the restaurant and packages delivery and takeout orders.

Quentin said he started to look for a job as soon as he turned 14, the legal age to work, in May.

“It’s something to do, and entering the workforce is pretty cool,” Quentin said. “You meet a lot of new people.”

For anyone planning on going to Stoked Pizza, Quentin said, the appetizers and pizzas come out quickly, and he recommended the chicken tenders, fries, and the sausage and onion pizza.

Stoked Pizza differs from the greasy slice that most pizza restaurants serve, Quentin said.

“We have some very extravagant, different kinds of pizzas,” he said. “It’s more than just a normal pizza shop.”

Quentin said he plans to continue working at Stoked Pizza through the school year on afternoons and weekends.

—Anjali Reddy ’23