After a two-year hiatus, Launch Fishers brought back their Launch Fishers High School Fellowship this summer with the purpose to develop future entrepreneurs and business leaders. The internship is available for Hamilton Southeastern High School and Fishers High School students who want to learn more about entrepreneurship and gain real-world experience through Launch Fishers’ three-day bootcamp, where students sharpen their professional skills, and the 8-week internship with the student’s host company.  

This fall, we’re highlighting some of the students and host companies who participated in this year’s program. Stay tuned to learn more about the impact of this unique program and some of our city’s up-and-coming community innovators! 

supervisor and two interns

Host company: Hamilton Southeastern Education Foundation

Supervisor: Justin Hirnisey     

justin hirnisey

Tell us about the Hamilton Southeastern Education Foundation:  

The Hamilton Southeastern Education Foundation (HSEF) was formed in 2001 to benefit every student, every grade, every school within HSE Schools. HSEF is rooted in innovation and the mission to bring the next best practices in education home to local students and teachers. We are proud of the impact our strong schools have made on the greater Fishers community. Through numerous fund-raising activities and generosity of those in the community, the Foundation has awarded nearly $2 million in staff and student-led grants and scholarships since its inception. 

What inspired you to get involved with the program? 

This program has been impactful for a number of former students from both of our two high schools (Fishers and HSE) going back several years. We were excited to help re-launch a pilot program in the summer of 2002 with the team from Launch Fishers. For HSEF, this program helps support our students who are looking for pathways in the entrepreneurial space which all supports the vision of new HSE Schools Superintendent Dr. Yvonne Stokes. 

Tell us about the projects that the fellows worked on with your company. How did they impact your business? 

As an organization, we were thrilled to be able to host two interns, and recent graduates/alumni of HSE Schools, as we were looking for ways in which to increase our alumni engagement program through the Tigers Royals Alumni Network. They assisted us with developing an annual content calendar for alumni-oriented content, which included visiting with numerous stakeholders over the summer to conduct interviews. Our two interns also helped us plan for our first alumni advisory committee meeting over the summer, where we will use the informed feedback for planning throughout the next year. Lastly, they both were instrumental in our planning for our Before the Bell photo booth for all HSE Families which took place in July. 

What’s one piece of advice you would give students looking to pursue a career in your field? 

Internships provide valuable experience for the student, and new ideas for the company. I would suggest that all students work to connect with as many individuals as you can in your desired field, in an effort to find out what a ‘day in the life’ looks like and see if that is something that speaks to your values and passions. The best leaders in our community nonprofits have a passion for our community and live the mission of the organization. Our organization is all about supporting our students and staff across the district as partners in education. 

Why is this program important for the community? 

The Launch Fishers High School Fellowship program provides pathways for students interested in entrepreneurship and gaining real world experience. For the businesses that are involved, it is an opportunity to both teach and learn from some of the brightest young people in the Fishers community.

Fellow: Jackson Philhower

jackson philhower

What inspired you to join the Launch Fishers Fellowship Program? 

I heard about the Launch Fishers Fellowship from my school’s Academy of Finance and I joined to get an internship opportunity before I went off to college. 

What was your favorite part of the summer fellowship? 

My favorite part of the summer fellowship was getting to see how a non-profit operates and becoming friends with my fellow intern Bloem and our boss Justin. I also enjoyed meeting so many fellow students along with business leaders and entrepreneurs during the fellowship. 

How do you think the fellowship program will launch your future career? 

The fellowship program overall taught me that anyone can be an entrepreneur or innovator in any field. My takeaway is that whatever career path I end up going into, I will be able to find new and more efficient ways to operate, making me entrepreneurial. 

What’s one piece of advice you would give future Launch Fishers fellows? 

My advice to anyone considering doing the fellowship is to not be afraid to put yourself out there when speaking to the businesses or any of the guest lecturers, because you never know who you might connect with. 

What are your plans after graduation? 

After this summer I will be attending Indiana University Bloomington where I am studying Finance and Accounting. 

Fellow: Bloem Montalvo

bloem montalvo

What inspired you to join the Launch Fishers Fellowship Program? 

I wanted to be able to simulate what it would be like to work in a professional setting. I had previously worked in childcare and the food service industry so I didn’t know what it would be like to work in an office. Additionally, I knew interning would help me stand out in the future.  

What was your favorite part of the summer fellowship? 

My favorite part of was creating content for the Tigers and Royals Alumni Network. I interviewed HSE and FHS alumni and wrote articles about their life after high school. I had no experience interviewing people prior, so I gained a lot of helpful skills. 

How do you think the fellowship program will launch your future career? 

Like I said before, the fellowship program is going to make me stand out in the future. Not many people go into college with professional experience. Also, I have learned the value of my work. I am much more confident in my writing.  

What’s one piece of advice you would give future Launch Fishers fellows? 

I would advise them to network with people even though it is scary. You stand out so much more if you are friendly and make good connections with people around you. People appreciate those who take time to talk to them.  

What are your plans after graduation? 

I am attending the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. I will be majoring in Literary Studies. I hope to work in journalism or the publishing industry.