Experiences and real-world opportunities are powerful, and at St. Paul’s School for Girls (SPSG), faculty and staff ensure that students get both by the time they graduate. Through the school’s extensive connections and alumnae network, SPSG provides unparalleled learning through independent projects, professional internships, community service, and nonprofit partnerships. In both Middle and Upper School, students have access to opportunities to practice and explore. Why is this important? So SPSG graduates are more than ready and able for college and beyond.

Sure, we could give you a glimpse into this initiative from an administrator’s perspective… but instead, we decided to let the students tell you about their experiences in their own words.

Student Reflections: Real-World Learning at St. Paul’s School for Girls

Experiential Learning at St. Paul's School for Girls - (cool) progeny

Exploring Nursing Careers at GBMC

“Upon arriving at GBMC hospital, I was unable to contain my excitement. We entered the building and were met by a few nurses to then tour different parts of the hospital. From touring the building, and paying a special visit to the nursery unit, I immediately fell in love, and talking to the nurses affirmed my aspirations. From listening to stories of wound treatments, to a day in the life of a MICU nurse, I was able to broaden my horizons and keep my options open. I found it very insightful when they spoke about the future, explaining that we have the power to change our career paths, and we decide our destiny. I found it especially interesting how much they value military practitioners, which gave me a newfound confidence in that type of career path. Through this my SPSG education has been elevated, allowing me to explore new options, and create opportunities that will further my growth. Due to this experience, I will continue on this path and continue on with this in the future.”

Devan Conrad ‘19

Experiential Learning at St. Paul's School for Girls - (cool) progeny

Learning About Technology and Finance at Paypal

“This industry visit was amazing!  Hearing the women share their stories was really beneficial and it gave me some great insight on the tech field and the different sides of it. For me, the visit really affirmed my interest in the technology field and finance.  I took away a lot of great advice from all of the women, including to create your own “personal brand.”  I loved this advice because it made me think about making myself marketable to companies. I loved this trip because of my background from last year in AP Computer Science.  It was super cool to hear about how the women used their backgrounds in all different areas in order to be a successful PayPal employee.”

Sarah Doetsch ‘18

Experiential Learning at St. Paul's School for Girls - (cool) progeny

GenHERation Discovery Days

“Through GenHERation Discovery Days, I was able to explore eight different companies. I enjoyed the opportunity to go inside the companies’ headquarters; I have always enjoyed shows like House Hunters because of the ability to see inside different houses, so being able to see inside different companies was an amazing opportunity for me. It was exciting to glimpse the true personalities of each company; Buzzfeed and IBM were exactly as I envisioned them to be, however, Etsy was nothing at all like how I envisioned it to be. Not surprisingly, I learned that SPSG graduates are exactly the type of leaders that the eight companies I visited are willing to hire. I took a ton of notes, and I was pleasantly surprised to note that phrases out of SPSG’s mission statement such as “intellectual curiosity” and being a “lifelong learner” were repeated at every company I visited. The piece of advice that I found to be the most thought-provoking came from a woman on the IBM panel: ‘There’s never been a better time or a better country for a woman to make a difference.’

Real world experiences such as GenHERation’s Discovery Days enhance my SPSG education by providing me with opportunities that I could never have dreamed of and connections that will last me a lifetime. As someone who attended public school until high school, I am able to discern the stark contrast between the opportunities private schools like SPSG grant and the lack of opportunities provided by my previous school. Not only are SPSG’s students learning intellectual material in the classroom, we have the brilliant opportunity to learn lasting life material outside of the classroom; the lessons that real world experiences such as GenHERation teach us are lessons that we will take with us for life.”

Sidney Hobbs ‘18

Experiential Learning at St. Paul's School for Girls - (cool) progeny

Hands-On Advertising Interactions at Oath

“My experience visiting Oath was extremely beneficial and valuable. It affirmed my interest in advertising. I did not realize how many different aspects can go into one business and how many different parts go into just one advertisement. It was extremely interesting to learn about all the different ads that we see every day online and the reasons why one person sees an ad compared to why somebody else sees a completely different ad. As SPSG does not currently offer an advertising or marketing class, the opportunity to visit Oath was a good way to learn more about a potential career I could pursue in the future. This experience helped me for next year because it made me want to do my senior project either at Oath or another agency in the advertising industry. It also helped me to decide on my math course for senior year – AP Computer Science – because a theme throughout the presentations was how coding is a good tool to have when looking for a job and how valuable of a skill it can be. I would recommend this to others because I gained so much insight about a variety of different jobs. It was awesome how it was hands-on and interactive, rather than simply sitting and listening to lectures about the industry.”

Leighton Eber ‘19

Experiential Learning at St. Paul's School for Girls - (cool) progeny

Experiencing a Day on Capital Hill

“The industry visit [to Capitol Hill] was valuable because I really got an inside look as to what everyday life is like on the Hill. The industry visit gave life to what I have been trying to envision ever since I decided that I wanted to pursue politics in college. The day definitely affirmed my interest in politics, mostly because I saw so many successful and educated women, like the ones on Senator Jeff Flake’s staff, and it let me know that there is a place for women on the Hill to be successful. It was also great to hear their background stories, as it showed me that you don’t have to take the same path to end up on Capitol Hill. These real world experiences build upon my SPSG education because, more than anything, they give me perspective. They show that there is life beyond SPSG and remind me what I am working towards every day, but they also open my eyes to how prepared I feel, because of SPSG, to take the next steps in my education and eventually into the workforce.”

Morgan Hill ‘18


This article is part of our school partner profile series. To learn more about St. Paul’s School for Girls, visit their profile in our independent school directory. Student headshots by Laura Black. Experiential learning photos provided by St. Paul’s School for Girls.