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Rockwood Student Spends the Summer Working in Orthopedics through PIE Project Interface

Lafayette student Michael Lang works at a computer station as part of his Signature Orthopedics internship.

Lafayette High senior Michael Lang served as an intern and shadowed doctors at Signature Orthopedics this summer.

Lang is participating in the Rockwood Partners in Education (PIE)​ program known as Project Interface. It’s a unique opportunity for qualified Rockwood students to gain experience in a career they are considering studying in college.

Signature Orthopedics has more than 35 orthopedic and pain management physicians in the St. Louis area. The practice treats a variety of bone, joint and musculoskeletal illnesses and injuries.

“I know the Project Interface students have to qualify for the program,” said Signature Orthopedics office manager Shannon Byrne. “They are very driven. The internship experience gets better every year as staff members learn from the students how they can improve upon past years.”

“One unique experience that Signature Orthopedics provided for me is that they exposed me to all aspects of the practice, including the business side of it,” Lang said.

Lang said that included seeing what employees do when they answer appointment calls, take patient telephone calls and work on finances.

“My favorite experience was watching a surgery that involved removal of a cyst from someone’s finger,” he said. “It’s been a very positive experience and has given me an appreciation of this as a potential career.”

Lang said he was able to utilize some of the knowledge he gained in high school. 

“After a whole month of shadowing at Signature Orthopedics, I’m even more certain this is what I want to study,” he said.

Rockwood PIE Coordinator Emanuel Young said, “After their experiences in Project Interface, I’ve heard students say, ‘I absolutely know that this is what I want to do for a career path, and this experience has confirmed it.’ I’ve also heard students say just the opposite. Both are very valuable perspectives.”

In Project Interface, students are encouraged to log what they do and the number of hours they put in. They are also encouraged to interview people in a variety of positions at the business partner.

-- by Raina Kabra, Rockwood Communications student intern​