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TUSD tech interns gain hands-on experience
TUSD tech interns
Turlock Unified School Districts new technology student interns Harbeer Panesar and Chris Gemperle set up computers at Roselawn High School. - photo by ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal

Chris Gemperle was just three years old when his parents gave him his first computer, and since then, the Turlock High School senior has had a passion for technology. So, when the Turlock Unified School District announced a search for two summer interns who would work with the Technology Services Department, he jumped at the chance. Now, along with fellow THS senior Harbeer Panesar, Gemperle is spending the triple-digit weather supporting the department while gaining valuable, hands-on experience.

According to Director of Technology and Innovation Jay Brem, the technology department decided to hire interns in an effort to support the District’s endeavors to provide students with Career Technical Education, as well as 21st Century skill development. This is the first time the department has established an intern program, he said.

“Hopefully this will be a first step in a more long-term program in which we can provide experiences and opportunities to more students,” said Brem. “This is new to our department, and we plan to learn from the interns as much, if not more, than they learn from us.”

From June 12 to July 7, both Gemperle and Panesar will work four hours a day alongside department technicians, helping with tasks to get each school site ready for the approaching school year. The perspective of current TUSD students is appreciated in each task, whether it be enrolling Chromebooks, building Chromecarts, refreshing computer labs or inventorying new assets.

“…Having students provide us feedback about their experiences using TUSD technology will be helpful,” said Brem. “The ultimate goal of all of our work is to help students succeed, and hearing their perspective can only benefit us.”

The internship provides entry-level experience in a technology department, and since some of the department’s work cannot be completed by students due to safety reasons, the focus of the program is to expose Gemperle and Panesar to tasks and projects they may be involved with in their future careers.

Summer is one of the busiest times in the technology department, added Brem, and is when most of the District’s major device refresh work is done, such as the processing of 1,200 new Chromebooks that the District recently purchased.

At Roselawn High School on Monday, Gemperle and Panesar unboxed the school’s new computers and set them up, enrolling each device in the District’s imaging system and activating both the Windows operating system and Microsoft Office on each computer.

“Our economy depends on students completing their education with some kind of skill training, and people with a combination of academic success and technical skills have a better chance of employment and developing careers,” said Brem. “Internships allow students to have a hands-on experience in a real-world environment.”

Both Gemperle and Panesar hope to have careers related to technology one day, they said. Until then, they will continue receive real world experience thanks to TUSD.