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A Breakthrough Internship: Teaching Writing, Learning Lots


At the end of her junior year Makayla Franks ’19 was at a crossroads thinking about her future: Would she rather make a career in education or in corporate America? Her summer internship spent teaching writing has helped her gain perspective on what comes next.

Franks, who majors in anthropology and creative writing, worked at the Breakthrough Collaborative’s program in Pittsburgh in an internship supported by Hamilton’s Career Center. The collaborative, a national program, helps students from schools with limited resources prepare for success in high school and college. For eight weeks, Franks worked with rising ninth graders, primarily teaching them how to write argumentative essays.

about Makayla Franks '19

Major: Creative Writing and Anthropology

Hometown: Baltimore

High School: Roland Park Country School

Read about other student internships

“And from there, I basically had all the power to figure out how I was going to do this, so we talked about ways to find good quotes, we talked about formatting, we talked about grammar,” she explains. And she helped the younger students find their own voices in their writing. They were amazing, Franks says. As for her lessons learned, for one, Franks acquired skill in thinking on the fly to solve problems in a way that would work for students, her colleagues, and herself.

By the end of the internship, she’d concluded that she needs more time to decide whether she wants to dedicate herself to education as a career, but she still sees it happening on the distant horizon. “Right now what I'm thinking is I will head into the more corporate side of America, test those waters out for a year or two, see what’s that about, and then evaluate the two experiences,” she says.

After graduation, Franks is leaning toward working in social media in public relations or human relations for a company such as Nike, Buzzfeed, or Adidas. Eventually, she may get a doctorate and teach at the college level. That’s the plan, but she’s open to unexpected possibilities. “Because I could go out there, and the experience could be something completely different but something as equally amazing as this (internship) has been,” she says.

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