Independent Study & Internship Program
Fostering a love of knowledge and instilling self-confidence are important parts of our mission, and since 1970*, our Independent Study and Internship Program (ISIP) has helped us do just that.
Spencer Winsor**, GSA's first guidance counselor, started what was then a month-long program to give students a chance to explore their interests, but also to expose students to new experiences. Libbey Gulliver '71, Spencer's daughter, said that many students in rural Maine at that time had never visited a college campus, seen a factory, or even been to Bangor.
Many students explore careers.
After “testing the waters” in a field of interest, some choose to further their educations and embark on careers in those fields. But even for those who say, “maybe architecture isn’t for me,” the project is worthwhile.
Others “go deep” into personal interests.
In recent years, those interests have included automobile restoration, diving, glass blowing, musical instrument construction, go-kart building, metal fabrication, working at a nonprofit, learning about fitness, and learning to sing.
Most projects draw from our local communities.
About two-thirds of projects take place within an hour’s drive of GSA. That means two-thirds of our student participants make real and valuable connections to experts who live and work here. Every student who chooses a career in their ISIP field will have contacts in that field even before they leave GSA. What’s more, nearly one in five of those local experts is a GSA alum!
And give back to our communities, too.
GSA’s School Nurse Nikki Jaffray chose medicine as her second ISIP topic in 2004, and that choice led her to her career. Harlie Burke did her internship with Nikki, and now Harlie works at Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital.
*The program ran in 1969, but just for seniors. The first year it operated for both juniors and seniors was 1970.
**The Spencer H. Winsor Student Enrichment Fund, endowed by Winsor's children in his memory, provides financial support to student who otherwise might not be able to pay for a visit to a college campus, gas money to attend an interview, or another similiar, small but necessary expense.A full description of ISIP is given to students in the fall and is published on our Google GSA Students site, which students can access when logged into their school Google accounts. Participation in ISIP requires parental consent and academic eligibility.