Reedy High School Media

Preparing for the Future

ISM students recount their experiences in the program

Taylor Blackburn

Taylor Blackburn

Andrew Iniguez, Sr. Reporter

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As the second semester flies by, freshmen and sophomores, maybe even juniors, are in that void of endless possibilities of what life holds after high school. Luckily, there is a class that can help students get a glimpse of reality before it happens, making that void slightly smaller.

ISM, or Independent Study Mentorship, is a weighted 5.5 GPA elective course offered to all Frisco ISD schools. In this class, students choose a career path to pursue and find adults who have excelled in that specific career path.

ISM is a classroom without walls because the real world is where most of the learning happens.” Evan Speice, ISM adviser said. “Students get to work with professionals in a career field that the students think that they might want to pursue. We have world-renowned doctors, lawyers, professors, scientists, filmmakers, business professionals….all volunteering their time to help a student learn about a chosen career.”

On the Jan 17, the 54 students had their Winter Research Showcase at the Ford Center. At the event, individuals displayed and discussed everything they have learned about their career path during the first semester.

“Two things primarily stood out to me; first was the ISM students’ confidence and poise as they were talking about their ISM experiences so far.” Speice said. “The second was the great support that we received from the Reedy community. Having so many people support the ISM students and program made the students feel very supported and excited that so many people wanted to talk to them about their projects and experiences.”

In ISM, students can choose a variety of different career paths that they desire. There’s nothing they’re not allowed to pursue. Take senior Sanaa Abdullah, who chose journalism, specifically an editor, as her career. Every other weekend she mentors under the editor of Dallas Morning News.

“The part I look forward to the most would definitely be the mentorship because you get so much experience,” Abdullah said. “Getting to go to Dallas every other week and meeting the other staff is amazing. They’re really welcoming, and they even know me by name now.”

Junior Erin Brill is studying psychology research, working hard with Collin College professor Tracy Meyer. For her original work, Brill made a personality study for students at the school, seeing how friendships and peers affect what type of grades and competition students will get.

“ISM has definitely made me a lot more confident in myself,” Brill said. “I feel less worried going into the future because I know that I am capable of doing projects and assignments relating to psychology. I feel more comfortable now that I know how to interview and work in a professional setting.”

Senior Akansha Rao studies cardiothoracic surgery, and the Frisco City of Commerce was so impressed with the work she presented at the Winter Showcase, they decided to interview her for a news segment on why parents should move their kids into the district.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking because when I saw the big camera-person, the tripod and everything, it was scary,” Rao said. “They had me wear this little microphone thing and there were almost 20 people around me filming. It was a one on one interview, and you had to think on the spot. It was a new experience and an honor to be interviewed.”

Students who are interested in joining ISM in the future need to fill out an application that will open up in counseling office during the spring semester. The application process also includes a personal interview to see if the applicants are ready to handle such a challenging course.

“My advice is that whatever you say or do, make sure you’re writing about what you’re passionate about,” Abdullah said. “Make sure that the person viewing the application can feel that passion and why you love doing what you love to do.”

As winter ends and spring begins, new applications open up. The course is filling up, and still has plenty of room for new applicants. ISM members encourage students to join.

“ISM is such a good program,” Rao said. “There’s no limits to what you can do. This is just an outlet for your boundaries. I’m in my second year of this program; it’s rigorous, it’s challenging, but I absolutely love it. It’s my favorite class, hands down.”

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Preparing for the Future