When City Charter High School senior Jacob Osho showed up for his first workplace experience, an internship at the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, he made a fantastic first impression. “From the very first day (and I’m not exaggerating), I was impressed with Jacob’s professionalism,” reports Brittany Cheeks, Education Program Manager at the World Affairs Council. “He was on-time (if not early). He would always check in with me. No matter what I asked him to help me with, he was very responsive and eager to help. This was remarkable, especially at his high school age. He took this seriously. I could tell by the way he holds himself, the way he would dress to come into the internship every day.”
Thanks to the exposure of world issues at his World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh internship and his Honors History class at City High, Jacob already has his doctorate thesis topic: the effects of immigration (including dislocation, social, political, and economic conditions and experiences of immigrant communities) on gang formation and gang violence.
Joe Poskin, the Council’s office manager agrees. “We’ve had quite a few interns since I’ve been here and every day he would come in, say hello, shake my hand, ask how I was doing. . . and if I needed help with anything. It’s not that common for young people to have that skill.”
According to Jacob, “I was a part of the family. Their expectations of me? To come on time, do my best work – to always stay productive and helpful and always try to do my best.” This sounds great, but what does it really mean for a high school student?
Ms. Cheeks, his mentor, says, “He worked with us primarily in the education department where he helped us make changes to the GLC (Global Leadership Certificate) curriculum, both on-site and online.”
She had him create a Spanish lesson to implement with their on-site students. He also helped with their Global Travel Scholarship Orientation (a summer long study-abroad program for high school students). He did research on the economic ramifications of “space mining” for their next World Affairs Institute. So he was a busy intern. How did he keep up? “By prioritizing work,” Jacob reports. “I’d have different things to do for different people. So staying organized helped me get my work done on time.”
These are skills he learned the hard way. When he got to City High, “My biggest challenge was adjusting.” Jacob remembers. “It was nothing like middle school. I had to get used to going to different places, different classes . . . It was hard for me to adjust to just how much I had to do . . . and stay focused on what I’m supposed to be doing. I struggled with that. Now, I feel like I have it under control.”
Jacob also picked up other valuable skills at City High that have come in handy. “Actively reading was a key skill that I learned at City High. It really helped me. Especially when I was doing the research for the article on spacing mining. By taking side notes (like I learned in Cult. Lit. Class), I was able to remember more. It definitely helped me plan an outline of what I learned and write a report that was detailed.”
Cultural Literacy is implemented into the curriculum at City High in order to help prepare students for their current studies but also to help ensure their success at college.
So, now that Jacob’s 140-hour internship is complete, what does the future hold? He’s applying to several universities for a degree towards Cultural Anthropology & Research in Psychology. Thanks to the exposure of his internship to world issues and his Honors History class at City High, Jacob already has his doctorate thesis topic: the effects of immigration (including dislocation, social, political, and economic conditions and experiences of immigrant communities) on gang formation and gang violence.
Jacob plans to focus on the research side of international anthropology as a professor. And who knows, maybe someday he will help us all understand and deal with the struggling plight of immigrants, gang violence and other developing world issues.
These are notable goals for a high school senior who’s also working on earning a scholarship from The Pittsburgh Promise. More personally, Jacob’s goals are “. . .to try my hardest as soon as I get there, so I don’t have to dig myself out of a hole that I already created . . . to stay focused and get my work done on time. And try not to get sidetracked by different things. And at the end, I want to get my doctorate degree.”
“We studied gang violence in 11th grade in the context of immigration, exploring the context in which gangs can flourish,” Jacob reflects on his Honors History class. It made him passionate to pursue psychology and anthropology and even led him to his internship. It is yet another example of how City High opens the minds of students to fields they may never have considered.