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Local high school students shadow UWF senior leadership team

University of West Florida | news@uwf.edu

Local high school students shadow UWF senior leadership team

Three local high school students had the unique opportunity to learn what it takes to run a University. Michaela Megginson, Timothy Mrachek and Jillian Todd worked one-on-one with UWF’s senior leadership team, including President Martha Saunders, as well as faculty and staff during the four-week UWF Presidential Internship program.

“We started the Presidential Internship program last year with one student and expanded this year to three,” said President Saunders. “I think we have learned as much from the interns as they did from us. They have a fresh perspective that we welcome.”

The students rotated through different departments, including the UWF’s Division of Research and Strategic Innovation, the Division of Academic Affairs, the Division of University Advancement and the President’s Office to gain an understanding of the business aspects of higher education, including how high-level University decisions are made.

As the child of a UWF staff member, Mrachek said he’s grown up with firsthand knowledge of UWF and its campus. But participating in the UWF Presidential Internship Program provided him the opportunity to see it in a fresh way, he said.

“I was interested in this opportunity because it gave me insight into a college university like I have never seen before,” he said. “I have watched UWF grow over my entire life and I got to see it in a new way.”

Each student also had the opportunity to focus on their area of academic interest for a week.
During this phase of the internship, they learned more about their chosen field of study and were able to meet and talk with professors and students in that academic area.

Megginson, a recent homeschool graduate who will attend UWF this fall, said her dream career is teaching English overseas. Having the opportunity to shadow the professors at the International Center on campus fueled her ambition and served as the highlight of her experience, she said.

“I had the chance to spend the week at the International Center, where classes for students from all over the world were being held to improve their English,” she said. “Talking with the teachers one-on-one and gleaning knowledge from them truly made my aspiration of becoming an English teacher overseas attainable and set a clear path of how I can achieve it.”

For Todd, a senior at Trinitas Christian School, the chance to see the inner workings of the UWF nursing program proved to be invaluable in preparing her for her future career.

“The portion I spent with nursing was my favorite,” she said. “The time I spent with the professors and students reinforced my desire and excitement to go into the nursing field. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge about the program itself, and even got to participate in it. I had hands-on experience in a mental health simulation lab and absolutely loved it. This has shown me what an amazing nursing program UWF offers.”

For more information about the Office of the President, visit uwf.edu/president.

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