Sage Hill Students Explore Aerospace Industry as Boeing Summer Interns

By Daniel Langhorne
Five Sage Hill students who completed the Sage Hill Internship Program (SHIP) in 2022-2023 took their career exploration to new heights by joining the Boeing High School Internship Program for eight weeks this summer in Huntington Beach and Seal Beach.

Priya Bhakta '24, Annabel Chung '24, Scott Hu '24, Anna Lin '24, and Marcus Yoo '24 were immersed in the aerospace industry along with 60 other Orange County high school students.

Entering the Sage Hill Internship Program (SHIP) as a sophomore, Annabel was immediately fascinated by the opportunity to intern at Boeing during the summer before her senior year. She credits her middle school teachers for igniting her interest in Chemistry. She’s continued to pursue this passion by enrolling in Accelerated Chemistry with science teacher Kerry Langdale and AP Chemistry with science department chair Anie Robinson.

“I think people tend to like what they're good at, and I've had pretty good grades in Chemistry. I also really enjoy hands-on learning. I always feel energized by Chemistry with the labs and then also the math aspect of it with the post-lab work,” Annabel said.

Annabel and Priya partnered with an intern team learning about chemical technologies under the guidance of Boeing chemist Eric Eichinger, who also manages the high school internship program in Huntington Beach. The duo was assigned to study new solvents designed to clean parts on commercial and military aircraft.

“Getting to intern under someone who I could potentially be like in the future, I think that's something super cool. I think it's amazing the trust that they put in us to work on these kinds of confidential and impactful projects,” Annabel said.

The feedback Eichinger has heard from fellow Boeing program leads and mentors shows the latest Sage Hill intern cohort was very well prepared to learn this summer.

“It's a great talent pipeline for Boeing. Most of the people I hire in my chemistry lab are from this program,” Eichinger said. 

Anna co-led a team of interns tasked with collecting feedback on a regular basis during the program to gauge their cohort’s excitement for what they learned. This feedback was critical in helping mentors modify their program to thoroughly engage their interns, Eichinger said.

Anna’s team also hosted weekly lunch-time conferences titled “Interns Teaching Interns,” where the interns presented to the cohort about their skills, hobbies, and interesting topics that ranged from gardening, electronic music and other realms.

“It was really easy for the team to work together since we all have similar goals and we all wanted to make the experience really enjoyable,” she said.

Scott was assigned to mentors from Phantom Works, an advanced research, development and prototyping division at Boeing. His team of high school students learned the fundamentals of three-dimensional sketches, computer-aided design for 3D printing and using equations to analyze structural durability.

“When I was flying around visiting different countries, I would always fly on Boeing’s aircraft, so being able to work there as a high school student was obviously something quite enticing,” Scott said.

He describes the internship as “totally different from school.”

“You’re going into the office, you have a key badge, you're timing in and out, and recording your hours too. It's like a real job,” Scott said. “You also get to make connections with interns from different schools because you’ll have similar interests.”

Unlike the majority of summer interns assigned to teams focused on space and defense, Marcus got first-hand experience working in Boeing’s commercial aircraft division where he crunched data to analyze takeoff speeds and fuel mileage.

“We tell them on day one that we want this to be the best summer of their life. That's the goal for every single student,” Eichinger said. “Personally, I like meeting the students. Each of these students are amazing individuals and that’s the value for me. I get to see a little glimpse into what these students are going through in one of the most interesting periods of their life.”

To be considered for internships at Boeing and other Orange County employers, Sage Hill students are required to complete the Sage Hill Internship Program (SHIP) Prep curriculum, which includes career related workshops and panels, resume reviews, and mock interview, so they have the tools and skills necessary to confidently talk about themselves as well as their passions, goals and achievements. In 2022-2023, SHIP offered 70 internship positions and 177 shadow day opportunities to those who completed the program.

“I am immensely proud of our Sage Hill students who spent their summer exploring the aerospace industry and making significant contributions to Boeing’s success through their projects,” SHIP Coordinator Verginie Touloumian said. “This internship allowed them to gain real-life experience and enabled them to understand their career trajectory, as they begin to apply to colleges and universities.”

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Sage Hill School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. The School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship programs, and athletic and other School administered programs.