Local high school student, Samantha Heck, recently interned with Kootenai Health’s IT department.
Her successful internship inspired David Cheang, network engineer, to begin developing an in-depth intern training program that is tailored to the talents and abilities of the individual intern. The goal is to enrich student’s academic and career paths, offering intensive training to those who are capable of receiving it.
“When we were debating on whether or not to bring an intern on board, we wanted to have a specific project for them to work on and not just ‘hang around’ and watch or follow one of us around,” Scott Hoskins, telecommunications supervisor, said. “We decided that our intern could help us with changing all of the patient room telephone numbers, which included LOTS of work installing hardware and cabling in the main building.”
While interning with the Kootenai Health network team, Samantha learned how to:
- Install Cisco switches and gateways, which included physically removing the equipment from the box and bolting it in place in the data rack, running power and data cabling, and making the necessary cross-connects to access the network
- Access Cisco Unified Call Manager (CUCM), Kootenai’s telephone system, to make additions and changes
- Run cabling from the Cisco gateways and attached the new telephone numbers to the patient rooms
A few months after Samantha’s internship, David received the following email from her:
On Saturday, I had an interview for my MIT application. One of the questions I had to answer was about a technical project I’d worked on. I was talking about what I’d done at Kootenai Health and then all the sudden he was asking me about the specifics of the routers and the programs I’d used and what the software was like. Apparently, he’d tried to set up a VOIP phone system a few years ago and it hadn’t gone over well. He interrupted the interview to make me go show puTTY to him. It was very odd, but at least it was a memorable interview. I cannot say that I ever quite expected to be trying to very carefully explain routers to a man with a bachelor’s degree in physics from MIT and a doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford and who did not seem thrilled that I knew more about something than him, but at least I had a good technical project to talk about. It was quite the experience, thanks to Kootenai Health.
David said, “I had a MIT interview back in Houston – and I had nothing as cool as what Samantha was able to demonstrate. For college students, it would be potential employers; but I’m just as happy to help with college entrance as well for motivated high school folks.”
“There is nothing more rewarding than being able to help these kids,” Steve Garske, Kootenai Health CIO, said. “Samantha is setting the bar very high; she is the best we could have asked for. I can’t wait to get the next intern in.”
Samantha has an unweighted, 4.0 GPA and is top in her class of 300 at Post Falls High School. She was named a National Merit Scholar semi-finalist. She serves as the president of her school’s DECA chapter, and is also the head manager of her school’s student store.
Samantha’s goal is to study computer science in college. She says that she was once set on a path working in software development, but her experiences at Kootenai Health have made her consider a path as a network engineer.
Kootenai Health currently has three open IT Internship positions. To apply for an IT Internship, please visit the Kootenai Health career page, and select the “Technical/Professional” job category.