Princeton Intern Gaining an Education on Education at Eagle Rock School

Editor’s Note: Karina Aguilar Guerrero, who was born in Mexicali, Mexico, and raised in Southern California, is a Princeton University junior who is interning with us for the summer as part of Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS). This program, built on the notion that community service is essential to the welfare of society, has seen more than 800 Princeton Univ. undergraduates participate since its inception. With nearly a dozen or so of them having interned at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center since our founding in the early 1990s, we’re well aware of the impact this unique civic services experience has on the university’s future alumni. Below, Karina, who currently studies Public Policy and Education, tells us about her experiences at Eagle Rock to date.

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By Karina Aguilar Guerrero

Personally, education has always been one of my greatest passions. Growing up, I was always told that education was the great equalizer — a way out of poverty. However, last semester, I took a class on education reform and realized that there’s another side to that story.

There are many factors that affect what happens in the classroom, including life at home, economic situations, learning styles, a support system, school funding, types of teachers and teaching styles — the list goes on. I realized that in order for students to be successful, we have to talk about what happens in the classroom and what takes place outside the classroom.

Karina Aguilar Guerrero

Princeton Univ. undergrad Karina Aguilar Guerrero (3rd from left) with Eagle Rock School students from Pinon House.

When I heard about Eagle Rock’s mission and structure, I was immediately drawn to it. I thought it was incredible that Eagle Rock didn’t worry about Continue reading…

Princetonians at The Rock: A Tale of Two Eagle Rock Interns

We’ve had dozens of college students participating in internships here at Eagle Rock, and many of them consider that time of service a highlight in their educational lives.

One such person was Sarah Bertucci, our very first Princeton University student to perform a summer internship here at the Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center back in our very first year. Our most recent Princeton intern is Alexandria Robinson, whose Eagle Rock experience began in June and will conclude in late August.

We thought it would be fun to let these two Princeton alumni share their experiences in an alternating, back-to-back format. Both have favorable memories of their stay here, even though a 21-year gap separates their experience.

Let’s get started…

Sarah Bertucci: Back in the spring of 1994, I applied to Princeton’s Summer Service Program, a program that placed college students in summer service jobs, mostly in urban nonprofits. I wanted to learn new things, be part of a new community, and make a contribution.

Sarah-Bertucci-eagle-rock

I had never been interested in teaching, but by a stroke of good luck, I was placed at Eagle Rock during its first summer in operation. It sounded like a great opportunity to be part of a brand new school. On top of that, I’d never been out West or seen mountains up close. So, I accepted the position and began counting the days until my arrival at in Estes Park.

Alexandria Robinson: Similar to Sarah’s experience, my application to Eagle Rock fell under an umbrella program. Revamped with a new name — Princeton Internships in Civic Service — the program is designed to place students in service jobs based on different sectors, such as health, education, science and more. After receiving a ”callback email” and then scheduling and participating in an interview via Skype, I was offered a summer internship starting in June 2015.

Alexandria-Robinson-Eagle-Rock-Intern

I was excited, but nervous. I was given two days to make a decision. It was only January and I couldn’t fathom making a firm commitment for something that wouldn’t affect me until June. I knew I wanted to teach, but at that point, the bulk of my experience in education had been with much younger students than the high school age ones at Eagle Rock. What would it be like with older students? Will they like me? That’s when I realized that all of these questions were petty, and I knew the benefits of this internship far outweighed any anxieties I might have. I confidently said yes, and never looked back.

Sarah (1994): Michael and Cynthia Soguero picked me up at the airport. Michael was the instructional specialist for math and science, and he was my mentor teacher. On the way to the school we stopped to pick up a rocking chair for the Sogueros, who were expecting a new baby. That made me feel more like I was becoming a part of a larger family. I settled into one of the student wings in Ponderosa House — staff housing didn’t exist at that time. Only two houses had students (Pinon and Spruce), so staff members lived in some of the other houses. I quickly met some of the 30 or so students who were on campus at that time.

Alexandria (2015): When I arrived at Eagle Rock, I was at a loss for words. I knew that this place was probably going to be pretty nice, but when we first drove in, I couldn’t stop staring at the mountains. I couldn’t believe that people actually got to live and go to school here. I soon met both Dan Condon and Kelsey Baun from the Professional Development Center team, and was given a tour of the campus. I learned about the academic buildings and the residential life/house system, and it was immediately evident that a true community exists here.

After getting settled into Willow (the Fellow/summer intern housing), I quickly began to meet lots of people. I tried my best to remember every name I heard, but this day was tougher than most. I do remember Continue reading…