JHS School-To-Work Intern Sets the Pace for Living History Farms Events

When Johnston High School senior Emily Nyren got a big task at her school-to-work internship, she hit the ground running.

So much so that on May 5, Nyren will direct the first-ever Living History Farms Kids Trail Run 5K and 1-mile fun run for kids 12 and under.

Her events management internship through Living History Farms (LHF) is possible through the Johnston High School School-to-Work program, which pairs JHS students with area employers to gain real, hands-on work experience before they enter college. And while LHF has had other high school interns in years previous, they’ve never seen one with the skill set Nyren brought to the job.

Emily Nyren (left) and JHS School-To-Work coordinator Kristy Volesky (right) look at Emily's final evaluation from her events management internship with Living History Farms.

Emily Nyren (left) and JHS School-To-Work coordinator Kristy Volesky (right) look at Emily’s final evaluation from her events management internship with Living History Farms.

“Emily possessed a passion for Living History Farms programs and an aptitude for learning and trying new things,” said Dan Jones, LHF education director and internship coordinator. “Her skills in communication, organization, and desire to work hard were key in her internship success. For staff members, bringing someone in with so much enthusiasm and a new perspective on things is energizing.”

In addition to working with Jones, Nyren spent many of her intern hours working alongside Evan Hoyt, LHF Community Events Manager. Hoyt mentored Nyren and also served as her daily supervisor.

The Kids Trail Run is a brand new event for LHF. The events team had kicked around the idea, but lacked time to fully organize it. When they were presented with an opportunity to bring Emily on board, it was a natural fit.

“Event management is rewarding field for me,” Nyren said. “I enjoy working hard, figuring out all the details, and then seeing the work on display. It’s something new every time. Having the internship with Living History Farms gave me opportunities to work on everything from race research to volunteer coordination, kids’ activities planning, and securing race partners.”

Nyren worked on race logistics from November through May; the run will take place on Saturday, May 5. Throughout those months, she also had a hand in planning a Christmas event, coordinating facility rentals, and developing a volunteer profile for event needs.

“With every new event or responsibility, I’ve been amazed at how many different people or areas of Living History Farms are involved,” Nyren said. “Meeting so many new people and working with them in different capacities is not the kind of thing you can learn in a classroom. It’s called upon my skills in research, organization, time management, communication and helped me develop confidence in running meetings and ultimately, the Kids Trail Run.”

While Nyren enters the homestretch of her internship, Jones already considers this experience a victory for all.

“I have a huge sense of pride and accomplishment in Emily’s work and all that she’s done in her time here,” he said. “We’ve seen her grow and for anyone working with students, that’s always what you hope for – that’s why you do it.”

JHS business teacher and School-To-Work coordinator Kristy Volesky said this year’s group of STW students aimed high in their professional goals and are walking away with rich learning experiences.

“When we can pair a talented, motivated student with an employer who is willing to teach and guide them in a profession, it’s a win for both,” Volesky said. “I’m very proud of the work Emily has done this year and can’t wait to see her learning in action at the Kids Trail Run.”

Registration for the LHF Kids Trail Run is open through May 3 and the day of the race, May 5. Run courses include a 5K race or 1 mile Fun Run and are perfect for both competitive and non-competitive runners, ages 12 and under of all ability levels.  Adult chaperones can choose to run with their children, but the chaperones will not be timed or receive t-shirts/swag. Learn more and register here.