Inter-n-twining passion and education with student externships

Mayson Weingart

For many students, high school is an opportunity to explore different subjects that help them discover what career they want to pursue. Some, however, become aware of their passions earlier on and choose to continue them through internships, which are either paid or voluntary, and give students hands-on opportunities. To increase student involvement in these specific opportunities, the Tamalpais Union High School District (TUHSD) hired Internship Coordinator Greg Davison back in 2013. Located in room 109 every Monday, he strives to teach students practical life skills and helps them prepare for their futures. 

Embracing his love for traveling, Internship Coordinator Greg Davison spends time with his wife in Guatemala, setting an example of following passions for curious students. (Photo courtesy of Greg Davison)

“[My students and I ] try to work on what we call work readiness. This is when you practice your capabilities by doing things like making your first resume, or practicing mock interviews with me that will prepare you for either business or college,” Davison said. 

Davison loves working at TUHSD because it allows him to work with students and watch them succeed. He encourages everyone to follow what they are truly passionate about, rather than what looks good for college. To spread this idea, Davison builds friendly relationships with his students to show them that he is always there to help.

“I can typically talk to students on more of a peer level, versus an academic level, which is pretty cool because it helps me understand their ambitions. I love working for students, and I think the future is really bright for them. I want them to know that everything will work out in the end,” Davison said. 

Embracing this advice, two current upperclassmen have committed their free time to expanding their medical knowledge and gaining more observational and hands-on experience. 


Nick Scruton 

With a love for medicine and assistance for others, senior Nick Scruton dove deeper into his passion, experiencing what the medical field is truly like as he became an extern at Sutter Health Community Hospital in Novato. Here, Scruton expanded his capabilities by dedicating much of his time and energy to helping out the nurses in the Emergency Room (ER). After applying to serve as a volunteer and completing the interview process, Scruton achieved his goal through shadowing professionals in the ER. 

“Usually when I [arrive at the ER] I do stock control. I make sure the crash carts are stocked with medicine, emergency supplies and equipment for blood tests. After that, I usually shadow one of the nurses and help them clean rooms and change seat sanitizers and do paperwork,” Scruton said. 

Through this opportunity, Scruton has also had the chance to experience some of the urgent situations the hospital encounters daily. Due to this, his problem solving skills have improved, allowing him to handle high stress situations more successfully.

Spending time with nurses in the hospital during a long shift, senior Nick Scruton works 8-hour shifts on weekends. (Photo courtesy of Nick Scruton)

“So far, I’ve seen a lot of lacerations. For example, a patient rode his bike into a barbed wire fence and ended up with lacerations all over his face and arms, so I got to observe the nurses suture him up,” Scruton said. “I’ve [also] seen a lot of infectious diseases, but not a lot of major traumas since we’re not considered a stroke center.” 

While handling these cases, Scruton believes it is important to understand the terminology the staff is using. In order to succeed, he dedicates time to learning scientific vocabulary that helps him fully comprehend different situations. 

“I’ve studied a lot of basic knowledge in my own time so that I could really benefit from the externship. For example, I learned what troponin is, which is a very common enzyme your heart produces when it’s in stress. It acts like a heart attack indicator. This way, when I’m in the ER, I can learn and hear and understand what the staff is talking about. Then I can actually ask informed questions and expand my background knowledge,” Scruton said. 

At the start of his externship, Scruton agreed to stay with the hospital for a year as an extern. By putting in this significant time commitment, he has been able to narrow down the path he wants to follow in his career. 

“When I originally started [the externship] I had no idea what I wanted to do because I didn’t know how anything worked. Through the externship, I’ve been able to realize that I want to become a doctor, even over nursing, which has been really helpful,” Scruton said.


Avery Kaster 

Junior Avery Kaster has also furthered her passion by participating in an externship, giving her the chance to work in the dental industry. Kaster always dreamed of becoming an orthodontist, a desire that intensified when she interviewed a local oral surgeon for a Physiology project in 2022. At the end of the interview, the surgeon offered Kaster an opportunity to observe dental surgeries and shadow the workers in their office.

Dreaming of becoming an orthodontist, junior Avery Kaster took Physiology as a sophomore to advance her knowledge of medicine. (Photo courtesy of Avery Kaster)

“The first [surgery] that I observed was rough for me. It was a wisdom teeth removal, and when I looked I could see all the way down to the patient’s jawbone which was really scary and shocking,” Kaster said. 

Despite Kaster’s initial uncomfortable situations, the more she experienced the daily work done during her externship, the more relaxed she became. 

“For me, by the end of the first surgery, I already felt so much more calm. The [externship] is teaching me so much about preoperative and postoperative procedures, and is really increasing my background knowledge about medicine,” Kaster said. 

Through this exposure to the medical field, Kaster has gained an accurate perception of her desired profession and has found a place open to her questions and curiosity. 

 As more students become involved in activities focused on their futures, Davison will be there to offer support, emphasizing that you have to truly love something to succeed at it. 

“I’m always here to help ignite students’ passions,” Davison said. “If you’re not sure what you’re passionate about yet, that is 100% okay and I am here to help. As long as you are sincere and curious, you will succeed.”