San Miguel High School interns form win-win partnership with TMC

Tucson Medical Center is giving four San Miguel High School students invaluable experience in the medical field as part of a program that’s as unique as the school’s philosophy.   San Miguel is located in Tucson’s economically depressed south side where half of adult residents do not have a high school education.  Forty-two percent of San Miguel neighbors earn less than $25,000 a year.  The high school serves families of limited financial means to give students a private Catholic and Lasallian college and career preparatory education.  All students are required to participate in the school’s corporate internship program, which helps them chip away at their $9,000 a year tuition.   

“Students are able to earn almost 60 percent of their tuition by going to work at professional businesses across Tucson,” said Mari John, Director of San Miguel’s Corporate Internship Program.  TMC was thrilled at the chance to help these students reach their full potential.  “We thought it was a great way to support our community while also being able to give medical and clerical experience to deserving kids,” said Jennifer de Laix, TMC Compensation & Analytics Manager. 

In addition to taking a full college preparatory course load, the students, who are all interested in pursuing careers in the medical field, work one day a week either in Human Resources, or the Finance Department.  For their Friday rotation, they take turns working in another department. 

Marissa De La Torre

In August, they spent time in Food and Nutrition Services.  The experience was a real eye-opener for sophomore Marissa De La Torre.  “I was surprised at how much planning goes into everything.  They have to take each patient’s diet, allergies, and specific needs into consideration.  It’s a lot more work than I thought it was going to be.”  De La Torre aspires to become an anesthesiologist someday. 

In September, students got to see how pharmacists mix and distribute medication in the inpatient pharmacy.  This month, they’re spending time in hospice and learning how TMC provides palliative care.  “The students really gain a lot of different skill sets that they never thought they’d be capable of doing as high school students,” said John.

Abraham Foulkes

San Miguel junior Abraham Foulkes has no doubt he wants to go to med school.  He says his internship is helping him figure out exactly what kind of medicine he wants to practice.  “It’s really nice to be in an atmosphere where I can gain medical experience.  It’s a great opportunity to be here, and I’m proud to work at TMC,” he said. 

Alejandra Castillo

Freshman Alejandra Castillo says her time here will help her discover what area of the medical field she’s passionate about.  “Seeing what happens in real life in many different areas of the hospital will help me figure out where I’m going to focus my efforts.”    

Delicia Garcia

Fellow freshman Delicia Garcia wants to be an oral surgeon.  While there is not currently a corporate internship available with an oral surgeon’s office, she is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be in the medical field, and hopes to work at TMC for the next three years.

The program is beneficial on many fronts.  Not only are these students getting hands-on experience, which is helping fund their education, but TMC benefits because of the clerical support these students provide. 

“I want to thank TMC and everyone who supports our students at the workplace because they really do look up to these people.  They’re other adults who act as mentors, encouraging these students to pursue higher education, and turn their dreams into reality,” said John. 

San Miguel has an impressive graduation record, with 98 percent of students getting their diploma.  Of those students, 100 percent are accepted into two and four year colleges and universities.

The students will work at TMC through the end of May.  To learn more about San Miguel’s corporate internship program, click here.

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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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