Building Blocks for Careers

OWU students share internship experiences

20140227-InternshipPanelFinding a good job after college often is preceded by experiencing one or more internships that educate, motivate, and lead to securing that job. Several Ohio Wesleyan students recently shared their “tried and true” internship stories with the OWU community, to hopefully inspire students to explore their own internship possibilities.

Hosted by Ohio Wesleyan’s Office of Career Services, the internship panel and pizza lunch held in the Hamilton-Williams Campus Center’s Crider Lounge, took place from noon to 1 p.m. on February 18. The panel was designed for students to gain more information about the internship experience and to provide an opportunity to ask questions. Four OWU students from various departments shared their experiences and advice regarding applying, obtaining and participating in internships. Panel members included: Malcolm Clark ’14, Laurel Fuller ’14, Shelli Reeves ’16, Austin Viny ’14, and Leah Hively ‘14 as the moderator.

Clark, a politics and government major, interned at Singularity University, located in California’s Silicon Valley. Fuller, a biology and politics and government double major, interned in Washington, D.C at Beacon Consulting Group, Inc. Reeves, a Black World Studies and International Studies double major, discussed her two past internship locales, including the Smithsonian National Museum of African American Culture and at The Call & Post newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio. Finance economics major, Viny, interned at Chase Bank in Newark, Delaware. Hively, a career services intern, added thoughts about her internship experiences at  Goodman Media Inc. in New York.

Q&A Session

How did you find your internship?

Malcolm Clark: I spoke with a friend, and through various discussions and emails, I secured an interview.

Laurel Fuller: I approached one of my politics and government professors, who helped connect me with OWU alumni. My professor also helped with formatting my resume and cover letter. During the waiting process, my professor continually communicated with the internship sponsor and was an advocate for me.

Shelli Reeves: I contacted the museum and eventually got in touch with the education director for my internship with the Smithsonian. For my newspaper internship at The Call & Post, I actually walked into the business department there and inquired about internship opportunities.

Austin Viny: I initially applied to Chase, but it was after I connected with an OWU graduate that he handed my application to a decision maker in the company.

What were your housing accommodations during your internship?

MC: I stayed in a hotel with a roommate working at the same internship location.

LF: There wasn’t housing or a stipend provided, but I was able to stay with family and commute to my internship.

SR: I also stayed with family and commuted to my internship.

AV: I had to find housing with other interns. Unfortunately, I later discovered we ended up overpaying for rent.

What was the most beneficial part of your internship?

MC: The opportunities for professional development and ability to be an active participant.

LF: The fact that I was given freedom in terms of duties and [which] hearings to attend. Work also could be applied toward an independent study project.

SR: Interning at the Smithsonian allowed me the opportunity to see the specific inner workings of the museum. My experience at The Call & Post allowed for me to be published before I went to college.

AV: “I gained experience working for a real company that emphasized skills related to timeliness for assignments and being task-oriented.”

What were your expectations going into your internship? Were they met?

MC: Being truly by oneself and cut off from family. An important transition that was really “eye opening”.

LF: The job matched up well in terms of expectations but there was more independent work and alone time than I anticipated. Taking a bus to the metro for 45 minutes at 5 a.m. was not an appealing part of the internship!

SR: Due to the unconventional nature of my internship, I was unsure in terms of what to expect. However, I had opportunities to work closely with the educational director and on a variety of projects that other interns didn’t.

How did you prepare for your internship?

The students all reported there weren’t any measures taken. They did, however, share advice on what employers and companies looked for in intern applicants.

AV: Companies are looking for interns who are timely, enthusiastic, and able to complete tasks on time.

Leah Hively: My training was done once I arrived. I highly encourage asking questions, so employers don’t assume you know everything.

SR: There was a lot of paperwork to be filled out for the internship application beforehand, as well as obtaining a badge before my first day on the job.

LF: Be sure to ask your professors for advice because they are “a wealth of information.”

Career Services internship coordinator Melissa Bogner emphasized the importance of being open-minded when looking for an internship.

“Often students get caught up in thinking their internship has to mimic their “ideal” job,” she said.  “But internships are just one building block in gaining relevant experience and knowledge that helps build the foundation of their career.” Resilience is key to finding an internship.

“The most important aspects for students to remember in their internship search are patience, persistence, and professionalism,” said Amanda Stewart, a career counselor at OWU. “It takes time to search for, apply to, and interview for internships; the process is much longer and time-intensive than students anticipate, so patience and persistence are essential. Students should also apply for multiple internships to increase their chances of success.”

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