Point Loma

San Diego high school seniors create company, internship opportunities

The two High Tech High seniors were having trouble finding internships, so they decided to create their own company. Now, they are helping fellow students

NBC Universal, Inc.

They sat in the corner long enough for an interview, but the second the interview ended, Lorenzo Ametrano and Axel O’Brien went right back to work with their interns.

Ametrano and O’Brien are seniors in high school. Their interns are high school juniors.

“The work that is being done in this internship is extremely meaningful,” smiled Ametrano. “It's been our pet project that we've been working on every single lunch period, talking about it in our free time.”

The two High Tech High seniors created a game development incubator, and they hired six fellow students at their Point Loma-area school as their interns for the High Tech High Game Development Internship Program.

“It's a coding internship, and you can, like, design a game. Like, that's awesome,” shrugged junior Desi Burkhart. “I really like games. Why not help make one?”

“We want to give the juniors and seniors in our school a STEM-related internship that they wouldn't otherwise be able to get,” Ametrano said.

High Tech High requires upper classmen to find month-long internships. Last year, Ametrano and O’Brien could not find a software engineering firm that would accept high schoolers.

“I was just a little bit disappointed that I wasn't able to get anything,” sighed O’Brien.

The duo decided to fix that this year.

“We wanted to give the people in this room the opportunity that we didn't have, which is a STEM related internship,” explained Ametrano. “Music, art, writing: We want to combine all these disciplines together to build something great.”

They created their firm, based it at their school and sought support from the League of Amazing Programmers.

“We leapt at the chance because it's really in line with what we do as a school,” said Eric Busboom, executive director for the league.

Busboom said the nonprofit organization teaches coding to students throughout San Diego.

“We're very happy to help them along with that,” Busboom added.

“It's incredible. It's a massive confidence boost,” smiled Ametrano.

“It really felt great to have that vote of confidence,” said O’Brien,

Now, they’re developing a game called The Sahara Corporation.

“We're starting to make one large collaborative game, where everyone’s going to chip into it, and it's going to be this big, awesome project,” said O’Brien. “Makes me happy to be able to teach programing. Like this is what I love.”

O’Brien will take his love to Dartmouth after he graduates from High Tech High. Ametrano is headed to USC.

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