How Allderdice Seniors Spent Their Summer

Frick Park, where one senior participated in an internship over the summer.

Frick Park, where one senior participated in an internship over the summer.

By now, summer vacation feels like a lifetime ago, even though school has only been in session for a month. For seniors, this was their last summer as an Allderdice student, and many of them spent their time doing incredible things. A few seniors shared their experiences this summer and what it meant to them to participate in some unique opportunities.


Ursula Brown spent the summer in Uganda, working for the organization Conservation Through Public Health, which promotes biodiversity and wildlife protection by creating a healthy coexistence between animals and humans. She worked on administrative tasks, as well as analyzing gorilla fecal samples for parasites, and helping with public health campaigns in Ugandan communities. When asked what she enjoyed about the experience, Ursula said that “it was really cool because the [social and cultural] environment in Uganda is so different than here…everyone is so friendly, they really want to help you. If you break down on the side of the road, everyone will come and help you, and they won’t expect anything in return.” 


In another, more local, nature-related program, Malcolm Kurtz worked with Pittsburgh Parks this summer. He participated in the Young Naturalists internship. He described his work as “stewardship in the park- trail management and managing invasive species”. The group also spent time in the Laurel Highlands “bird banding”, putting a band around a bird’s leg to keep track of it. In addition to doing work in the field, they also learned about environmental science from professionals, and had some great bonding experiences. “I’ve always been very interested in the environment,” Malcolm said. “I love the parks, and I wanted to meet other people who were also interested in the same thing.”


Through a family friend, Amanda Yu found an internship with Women in Bio, a nonprofit organization that supports women in STEM careers. “Since the internship was in marketing, which is in my field of career interest, I thought it’d be a good experience.” Amanda said she learned a lot about how social media coordinators and marketing workers promote their businesses, and got to do some graphic design as well. “It was definitely important to me, it was my first real job that wasn’t in service, so I was really excited, and I learned so much that I hope to use later in life.”


Another way to spend the summer is returning to a place you already know, like Ben Berger, who was a counselor at Camp Deer Creek, a family-owned Pennsylvania camp that is nearly a century old. Ben was a camper at Deer Creek for several years before working there himself this summer. “I went to the camp for a while…and it was always fun, so I thought it would be a good idea to go back and get paid for it.” He worked with the 6 year olds, making sure they “didn’t get hurt and had fun at camp.” Although he said he enjoyed the summer and made good friends, Ben also said the job came with some nostalgia, seeing younger kids that reminded him of himself when he started at Deer Creek.


When it comes to summer, there are all kinds of activities to participate in, and everyone has a different goal. Some high schoolers want to make money, some just want to have fun, and some want to prepare for college life. Hearing the stories of what seniors learned and did this past summer can be helpful and inspiring for other Allderdice students, who might want to explore their own options in the future.