For some Liberty Bell High School students, internships with local nonprofits and businesses are a way to get hands-on practice in a field that interests them. Junior Joslyn Rispone has had that experience — quite literally. In her second week of interning at the Trimline & Co. hair salon in Twisp, Joslyn found herself responsible for coloring her internship mentor’s hair.
Most women would be in a panic at the thought of an untrained 16-year-old coloring their hair, but not Trimline & Co. owner Devin Barnhart. “If I don’t like it I can just fix it,” she told Joslyn, who says she was “super stressed” about the responsibility. This attitude — give the student a pair of scissors, some hair dye and the opportunity to practice — has resulted in Joslyn’s internship experience being exactly what internships are supposed to be: intensely educational in an authentic setting and, as Joslyn says, “super-fun.”
“I am loving the internship,” says Joslyn, who has been interested in cosmetology for a long time. “There are only seven weeks left and I can’t believe how fast it’s going. I’m learning so much. It makes me even more excited to pursue a career in cosmetology in the future.”
Joslyn, who is also a standout athlete on the volleyball, track and basketball teams, says she has been surprised by some of the ways that her traditional schooling has integrated into her internship. “Fractions, for example,” she says. “When we were learning fractions I thought ‘When am I ever going to need fractions?’”
She got the answer the first time she colored someone’s hair. “The measurements are very precise,” she says, adding that chemistry is also involved.
A self-proclaimed introvert, Joslyn says that she is also enjoying getting to know people. “I wasn’t really a people person until I started working there,” she says. “I’m also learning that there are certain topics you don’t touch in a hair salon. Devin told me that the first day. She said, ‘You don’t talk about politics, religion, or what you did last night.’”
Joslyn spends two hours every Tuesday and Wednesday at the salon, helping with haircuts, foils and other hair treatments. Hair, she was delighted to learn, is a fairly forgiving medium, and customers are surprisingly willing to let her style their hair.
Joslyn is enjoying working with hair so much that she has convinced her 14-year-old sister to let her do something radical with her hair in the near future. She has also cut her mom’s hair. And now she often finds herself turning her sights inward, and upward, toward more material to practice on — such as her own hair. A natural blond, Joslyn is currently a redhead, thanks to her own increasingly expert handiwork.
As part of Liberty Bell’s internship process, Joslyn will cap her hair-styling experience at the Trimline salon with a final written project. But she sees this report not as an end, but as another step in the path toward attending cosmetology school, which she hopes to do after graduating high school in June 2022. Until then, she’ll tote around the tools of her trade and continue to seize opportunities to help others feel great about how they look.