Local High School Students Reflect on MASS Hire Summer Internships at MCLA

This summer students from Drury High School and Hoosac Valley High School participated in internships across various departments at MCLA through MassHire Berkshire Workforce Board.

Jacinta Felix, a junior at Drury, returned to MCLA for a second time this summer working in the Division of Graduate and Continuing Education (DGCE) under the guidance of Dean Lynette Bond, and Joshua Mendel, associate dean of graduate and continuing education for partnerships and programs at MCLA. Last year Felix worked in the Office of Advancement.


“The staff really appreciated working with her. She was in early each day, made sure all her work was done, and was very professional,” Mendel said.

Last year Felix conducted financial research and learned about grant writing, while this year, in a new department, she assisted with marketing MCLA’s MBA program as well as learned the ins and outs of Microsoft Office.

“I had a great experience this past summer and last summer. I was held at a high level of respect in both the departments I worked for and was treated equally to the other employees. I was busy with many different projects and had a lot of fun learning and experiencing new things,” Felix said.

Felix is enrolled in the Early College at Drury-MCLA program which allows her to graduate high school with college credits in addition to her internship experiences. The Early College program is designed to introduce a college-going identity to North Adams Public Schools students, beginning in grade 7, by building academic, vocational, and self-advocacy skills so they will have the content mastery and self-confidence to be successful in college and beyond.

Mendel said the MASS Hire program has strengthened the College’s relationship with local high school students providing an opportunity for them to earn money throughout the summer while also being exposed to different industries and professions.

“The internships at MCLA are giving me a picture of what I am interested in doing for my future,” Felix said. “I like certain aspects of working in an office setting, but I also learned that I like to be hands-on and move around a lot when it comes to my job. The internship also taught me about some things I would not be interested in doing as a job for most of my life.”

Because Felix interned in two different departments at MCLA, she experienced more that allowed her to see higher education as a larger picture. She said she found herself in situations where she had to work with her team to pivot around a situation and problem-solve.

“During this summer's internship, I found it very interesting how much MCLA is constantly growing and developing and those working for the college are also constantly learning new things and growing with the college,” she said.

Reagan, a freshman at Hoosac Valley High School, spent her summer at MCLA’s Gallery 51, under the supervision of MOSAIC Assistant Director Nicholas Rigger. Her responsibilities included prepping the gallery space for exhibitions, painting walls, creating marketing materials, and much more.


Katie, a recent graduate of Hoosac Valley High School, worked as a biology lab intern at MCLA this summer under the supervision of Biology Professor Dr. Anne Billetz. She researched the bacterial differences (or similarities) between dogs’ cheeks and gums. Her passion for science led her to collect bacteria samples from 16 dogs of unique breeds and ages. This fall Katie is enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Amherst studying microbiology and German.


The North County Youth Works program provides low-moderate-income youth with essential employment experience, skill development and work readiness training. Locally funded, the BWB, Berkshire Career Center and North County Public School Districts have implemented Summer Youth Works Programming since 2015 serving over 90 North County youth (15 North County youth participated in summer 2023).