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ATLANTA -- There's a push in Georgia education to get high school students to learn more about future career interests by doing internships.

This is particularly true for those leaning towards STEM careers in science, technology, education and math. Georgia high schools that want STEM certification are required to have some type of internship program for students.

"One of the requirements for STEM certification is that that high school students must do an internship or a capstone project," Gilda Lyon, Ed.D., Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM) Coordinator, Georgia Department of Education said. "Our industries are very good about opening their doors and allowing students to do internships."

UGA student Hannah Patrick interns at 11Alive News as an aspiring journalist, and says her own personal experience has proved that internships are a great way to help decide what career path to take.

Internships have always been a great learning tool and way to get your foot in the door. They are often designed for college students, but local rising senior Jon Giuliano of Westminster High School did not want to wait.

"Yesterday," Giuliano said of an orthopedic surgeon he shadows, "I saw him do surgery."

Giuliano decided to start early and get a sense of what he wants to do in his future career. Most internships require applications, but Jon's cover letter impressed Dr. Mark Hanna, who went ahead and brought him in.

"It never hurts to ask," Dr. Hanna said.

Jon was able to reach out to the doctor on his own, but in other cases, more schools in Georgia are helping their students find internships and opportunities.

"We want our students to hold hands and be working in the workforce so they can find out what it is they're passionate about," Lyon said. "We want kids to know what they love before they get out of high school, so when they go to college, they get in there and get out in."

Internships and job exposure are successful way to jump start a career, whether in college or earlier in high school.

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