Comp-Sci students present internship projects to realtors


BP Photo by Tushar Dwivedi

PRESENTERS: From left, seniors Evan Rubel, Kiku Shaw, Sam Rubanowitz, and Gilad Spitzer sat onstage in front of over 120 people when they presented their projects from this summer.

At 2:15 p.m. on Sept. 27, when most students were rushing to their next class, four seniors could be seen leaving the parking lot in very formal attire.

Kiku Shaw, Evan Rubel, Sam Rubanowitz and Gilad Spitzer were set to present the projects they worked on last summer to over 120 California realtors at REimagine! Conference at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

INSTRUCTOR: SAS Computer Science teacher Dr. Josh Sharfman gave opening remarks at CAR’s Business Technology Forum.

The students had participated in a six-week-long paid summer internship at the California Association of Realtors (CAR), run by Dr. Josh Sharfman, who is the group’s Chief Technology and Innovation Officer and teaches SAS Computer Science at Shalhevet.

Dr. Sharfman has offered this internship to his students, all juniors and seniors, for the last three years. Four who were seniors last year presented at the conference’s Business Technology Forum.

The internship applied skills learned in the course to real-world dilemmas, and the interns presented their projects to people who actually might use them — directors and other leaders of CAR. Students and Dr. Sharfman said the reaction was enthusiastic.

“They went from having a very low expectation of what high school students could produce to being amazed,” Dr. Sharfman said.

Students said the realtors were grateful for their projects, which ranged from email cybersecurity to legal remediation. 

“Dr. Sharfman really promised us that we weren’t going to be doing busy work,” said Kiku Shaw. “He set aside projects for us to do that would really affect and change the way certain things are done at CAR.”

They said Dr. Sharfman worked with every student one-on-one.

“Dr. Sharfman was our support system,” said Evan. “He assigned us projects based on our interests and it was really amazing that he was able to personalize our journey and our growth because he had us as students the year prior.”

Nevertheless, they were jittery when it came time to present.

“I was really nervous,” said Kiku afterwards, “but the CAR employees and directors at the presentation were so welcoming and they were so nice to us, just as they were at the internship during the summer. We got up there and we really just wanted to show our achievements for ourselves and for Dr. Sharfman and show how much we appreciated working for them.”

Though the presentations were meaningful for the interns, the audience and Dr. Sharfman also learned much.

Dr. Sharfman was our support system. He assigned us projects based on our interests and it was really amazing that he was able to personalize our journey and our growth because he had us as students the year prior.

— Evan Rubel, 12th grade

“The single most remarkable outcome of the presentation was that people walked into the room with a preconceived bias of what high school students could accomplish in the internship program, and throughout the presentations, their biases were completely challenged and disassembled,” said Dr. Sharfman. 

But he did not promise to take interns to the conference again next year.

“I inform my decisions based on the needs and capabilities of the students and the needs of the association and organization,” Dr. Sharfman said. “I cannot predict those with certainty right now, so I can certainly say it absolutely be my desire and my hope to be able to do this again next year, but we will have to assess what the projects are, who the students are, and what the needs of the Business Technology Forum are at next year’s meeting.”