Finding Creative Ways to Extend Career Development: Portland High Internships Go Virtual

More students than ever are participating in Portland High School’s internship program despite its alternate format

While the coronavirus pandemic caused many of Portland High’s regular partners to be unable to offer internships, some organizations got creative in offering safe internship opportunities for PHS students.

A record 20 PHS students are participating in virtual or socially distant internships this fall. Students are interning with organizations including Maine Audubon, The Portland Press Herald, Planned Parenthood, Cultivating Community, Maine Youth for Climate Justice, Little Chair Print Shop, multiple professional photographers, SMRT Architects and Engineers, Tetra Tech, and the New England Historical Society. More students and internship sites are matched daily.

The pandemic has sparked some creative partnerships, such as between Maine Audubon, PHS, and the Portland Press Herald photography team. Neddie Clews, a senior at PHS will be honing her photography skills to tell the stories of the various Audubon trails. Not only will she be mentored by Melissa Kim, the Director of Communications and Marketing for the Audubon; Michele McDonald, photo editor for the Portland Press Herald, and her team will provide guidance.

Clews reflects, “Being able to do this internship with Maine Audubon is allowing me to pursue some of my top interests while at the same time getting me great work experience, working as a trail photographer I get to have free range of the outdoors while improving my photography skills.”

“We’re always looking for ways to connect with young people, and that’s been challenging this year,” said Melissa Kim, Maine Audubon’s Director of Communications. “This project allows for collaboration, learning, creativity, and content, all within the confines of pandemic restrictions. Having Neddie explore and photograph trails at our sanctuaries, and help us create visual stories of each trail, will give us new ways to engage our supporters and provide reasons for people to come visit and connect with wildlife and habitat.”

If your organization is interested in hosting an intern, contact Andrea Levinsky, Extended Learning Opportunities Coordinator at