Community Mentors Host Two Rivers High School Interns

  • As part of National Mentoring Month, we’re highlighting a variety of opportunities for volunteer mentors to help Snoqualmie Valley students. Below, we’re featuring two examples of Community Mentors who play an important role in the Big Picture learning model at Two Rivers School (TRS) representing the Snoqualmie Police Dept. and Northwest Railway Museum. 


    Community mentors are local professionals who sponsor a high school student intern, by providing meaningful work experience, two days a week, at their place of business, with support from a school advisor.  In turn, TRS students (grades 9-12) have a chance to explore career occupations that interest them, with hands-on learning and real work experience.


    Community Mentor: Snoqualmie Police Department


    Snoq Police Internship 1


    When Maddie Lowell was a sophomore (last year), she was matched with mentor Deanna Mihelich, administrative coordinator for the Snoqualmie Police Department. After completing required security awareness training, Lowell helped with checking evidence status, filing, and investigating a cold case by verifying a variety of resources involved in an unsolved crime. Her favorite activity, however, is going on ride-alongs.


    “At first, I was interested in the FBI or Forensic Science, so I welcomed this internship. But, after my first ride-along (accompanying a local officer on duty), I now know I want to be a police officer! It’s so nice to know that you’re helping the community,” said Lowell. 


    To continue exploring this career path, Lowell plans to take the Forensic Science class offered at Mount Si High School and Criminology offered at Bellevue College, and she is continuing with the internship as a junior this school year. After graduation, she’s considering joining the military or going to the police academy, so she can start as soon as possible. 


    “Maddie is the youngest intern we’ve worked with, as past interns have typically been 18 or older,” explained community mentor Mihelich. “She’s been great to work with and is willing to do anything. Watching her come in shy, then come out of her shell as her confidence grows, has been very rewarding.” 


    When asked what was most surprising about her internship, Lowell shared, “how impactful this experience has been for me. This has really changed my life. Now I know what I want to do!”


    Snoq Police Internship 2



    Community Mentor: Northwest Railway Museum


    NW Railway Museum Internship 1


    Aiden Weed, a recent graduate, was interested in learning more about railroad operations. To find a volunteer mentor, Two Rivers Internship Coordinator Chrissy Riley encouraged Weed to reach out to the Northwest Railway Museum. “We were thrilled when Doug Dickerson, a retired project manager in public safety who volunteers at the museum, agreed to be his community mentor. It was a fantastic match!”  


    Community mentor Dickerson explained, “Since Aiden was interested in all aspects of railroading, we’ve been able to involve him in several projects for his internship. For example, he is working in the shop on a 1901 Parlor Car coach, restoring its braking system.” Since parts are no longer available for such old models, they must design and re-construct any missing parts. For this, Aiden researched train air brake systems from that era, drew specification designs for a metal pipe support bracket needed, and learned how to work with welding tools to produce the piece needed.


    To learn about railroad operations, Aiden also trained and qualified as a Car Attendant and Switchman, and is working on his Diesel Fireman certification. He’s also interested in model railroading, so his mentor involved him in their model railroading efforts as well as historical preservation and collection identification functions. Besides helping in the shop, Aiden puts in extra time volunteering on weekends, helping run train rides through town.


    “I love trains,” explained Weed. “My favorite part of the internship is being able to work on trains in the workshop, and training as part of the crew.” Aiden is considering transportation career opportunities either on trains or ferry boats.


    NW Railway Museum Internship 2


    NW Railway Museum Internship 3


    Interested in learning more?

    If you represent a local business and are interested in becoming a community mentor, please contact Chrissy Riley at Learn more about Hosting a Two Rivers Intern


    If you’re a student (in grades 8-11) or parent/guardian who wants to learn more about whether Two Rivers’ Big Picture program may be a good match for next fall, click here to learn more from their recent Open House presentation, or visit the TRS website.