What Is BSM’s EPIC Program?



Students who are apart of the CARES internship attended the Minnesota Association of Children’s Mental Health’s conference on infants and early childhood.

Work experience in high school can make a difference once you graduate. It can also help to provide you with a more focused goal of where you want to be in life. This is why Dr. Stephen Pohlen created the EPIC program (Explore, Partner, Inspire, Create). EPIC is a program in which high school students are able to jumpstart their futures now and are given opportunities to dive even deeper into their personal interests.

The mission of EPIC is to promote a somewhat unconventional way of learning outside of the classroom. As of now, many high school students, including seniors, don’t exactly know where their life will take them, but with EPIC the things that students are passionate about can emerge and help guide the rest of their high school careers. “One of the things that’s hard for students to visualize is what education means to them… what my dream is, is that students get a chance to experience what’s out there so that they know what they’re passionate about, what they might want to pursue, what classes might actually mean something to them,” Pohlen said.

The EPIC program is unique in the sense that it’s not just one program. There are many different branches and fields of work within EPIC. Some of these include: CARES, admissions, marketing/communications, architecture and more. A full list can be seen on the program’s website.

One of the most popular programs is CARES (Carolyn’s Advocates Reaching Every Student). CARES focuses on fields involving helping others whether that be through counseling, special education, social work, etc. “[Dr. Pohlen] brings in people who work in different areas such as occupational therapy or physical therapy or there’s people who specialize with kids with autism and special needs…and they talk about what they do with us and we just have a conversation about it,” Junior Erica Lee said.

I’ll reach out to either alumni or parents that I know have something that they could offer, and I meet with them to discuss what would be a good experience for students,

— Dr. Stephen Pohlen

Though CARES is one of the more well-known parts of EPIC, there are many other internships or learning opportunities that fuel intersecting interests. Dr. Pohlen explained that EPIC does not remain unchanged and that he strives to add more opportunities to fit the desires of the BSM student body. Many of these opportunities come from parents or alumni who might know of or have good learning experiences for current high school students. “I’ll reach out to either alumni or parents that I know have something that they could offer, and I meet with them to discuss what would be a good experience for students,” Pohlen said.

One of the internships that is offered through this program puts students in none other than the BSM admissions office along with the Director of Senior High Admissions, Betsy Van Cleve. In this internship, students get the opportunity to welcome new families to the BSM community through tours, welcome packages, letters and more. The admissions internship provides students with knowledge of the workplace from a business perspective. “Most often you can find admissions interns touring prospective families around the school… stuffing the packages that get sent out to all of the accepted students for the next year…we get as much experience out there as we can,” senior Samantha Steensland said.

Another internship that takes place within the walls of BSM is the Marketing and Communications internship. The BSM marketing interns are the ones who are constantly updating BSM’s social media pages. Students taking part in this internship are in charge of getting the word out about BSM. They focus very heavily on advertising. “We do a lot of things like the graphics on the BSM Instagram, and we also write articles and do the teacher features. It’s kind of a lot of different things,” Junior intern Elle Sinning said.

Though joining EPIC has many benefits, the big reason that Dr. Pohlen would use to encourage students to join is the overall personal learning experience. “I think it’s fun and really, really, really exciting to get out into the professional world and see what’s going on and I also think it’s an eye opener…it really exposes students to things that they just had no idea about,” Pohlen said.