Editor's Note: This story is part of a series focusing on Shawnee High School students who are preparing for future careers through internships as part of Individual Career Academic Plan (ICAP).
Shawnee High School senior Damon Malkowski spends everyday meeting with local business owners, organizing community events and learning the inner workings of city government through his internship at Shawnee Forward.
The 18-year-old said he chose his internship because he’s always had an interest in government whether it be local, state wide or national.
“I, when hearing about the internship program, wanted something that was legal or more political and they told me about Shawnee Forward,” Malkowski said. “I saw it as an opportunity to get a taste of what that political side of city government is.”
The senior said along with gaining experience, he is benefitting from his internship by learning more about local politics.
“I’ve learned about how (the city) tries to expand. How it tries to communicate with its citizens,” Malkowski said. “What its development strategy is…and how other chambers parallel it.”
Malkowski said he’s also discovered a better understanding of networking and how businesses connect to expand and grow.
For the senior, the best aspects of his internship are the people he’s met from the community.
“I’ve always been a people person but the people that you meet through this internship kind of shows you a wide variety of interactions,” Malkowski said
In addition to his internship at Shawnee Forward, Malkowski is involved in numerous activities and clubs at school.
“I’m involved in Mock Trial, Ethics Bowl, youth and government, theater, Thespians,” Malkowski said. “I’ve taken part in robotics. I’m very stretched out amongst all the clubs.”
While there is a lot on his plate, Malkowski said he enjoys being involved and his internship fits perfectly into his day.
According to Shawnee Forward Marketing and Events Director Jeremy Davidson, Malkowski has been doing well and succeeding at all his work.
“Damon excels relationally with our members. He performs his duties as assigned and he requires little direction in accomplishing things,” Davidson said. “We’ve had a really great experience this being our first ICAP experience.”
Davidson also said he appreciated the ICAP internship program because it’s building a strong future work force.
“I think this program has shown us the caliber of talent that we have in our high school and the opportunity that our businesses can have,” Davidson said.
Davidson said the internship is beneficial because Malkowski is making valuable business connections and figuring out what potential career he might want.
The 18-year-old said after graduation he will be attending Lion College in Arkansas pursuing international relations and foreign policy and hopes to graduate with a pre-law degree.
Malkowski said since he was younger he has had a passion for policy and working legally with other countries.
“I’ve always kind of drifted toward people and policy has also always fascinated me for some reason,” Malkowski said.