group building tower
Meredith Egan, NDP senior, who spent the summer at Carnegie Mellon University’s theatre tech workshop, works on a design/build project with other participants.

It’s back to school season in Baltimore, which means freshly sharpened pencils, crisp new notebooks, and gushing to friends and new teachers about all the fun you had over the summer. At Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson, those summertime stories go beyond the standard tales of poolside frolicking and family vacations.

Thanks to the school’s Summer Learning Experiences program, NDP’s students spend their summers exploring real world applications of the subjects that interest them most, including experiences as varied as mission trips to South America, immersion in backstage life via a university theater program, and observing pancreatic transplant surgery at a hospital in Washington, D.C.

“We are a college preparatory school, so our goal is to prepare students for success in college and beyond,” says NDP Director of Communications Cami Colarossi. “These internships and summer experiences give the girls a taste, early on, of how what they’re learning in school can be applicable in careers and in the job market. They’re a great way for students to pursue something that interests them and to take responsibility for their own learning.”

NDP sophomore Katelyn Walker isn’t sure exactly what she wants to do when she’s an adult, but the healthcare field interests her. Her experience this summer, when she spent two weeks shadowing healthcare professionals at the St. Clare Community Clinic, strengthened that interest.

St. Clare, a Lutherville clinic that provides primary health care to patients without insurance, taught her about both the technical and emotional side of the medical profession.

She learned about the nuts and bolts of the office, from how to read an EKG to the detailed workings of the electronic medical records system. But for Walker, the most powerful part of her time at St. Clare was working with the patients.

Walker admits that at the beginning of her internship, she was nervous. Most of the patients she saw spoke Spanish and overall, she wasn’t sure what to expect. But, she says, both the patients and the healthcare professionals were fantastic. She was especially inspired by a health coach who speaks two languages, in addition to English, and makes sure patients understand the ins and outs of their care.

“My favorite part was talking with the patients and seeing how happy they were to be there,” she says. “One day I shadowed a nurse practitioner and it was amazing to see how she interacted with the patients – laughing and joking. A lot of them had not been seen by a doctor before and they were so grateful.”

NDP’s mission is threefold, combining academic excellence, spiritual growth and the practice of justice. Summer Learning Experiences like Katelyn Walker’s help students fully embrace all three, all year long.

For more information about Notre Dame Preparatory School, please visit

Kit Waskom Pollard is a Baltimore Fishbowl contributing writer. She writes Hot Plate every Friday in the Baltimore Fishbowl.