Last week students had the opportunity to listen to fellow students talk about their internships and give advice about landing one at the annual Student Internship Panel offered by Career Services.
The panel featured four students who had all participated in different internships last summer.
The students were seniors Celeste Taylor and Tim Carney, junior Chris Brooks and sophomore Rachel Vinciguerra.
Taylor interned with the United States Senate in the office of Senator Sherrod Brown.
For her internship, she was responsible for answering phones, reading and sorting mail and occasionally went to Senate briefings.
She advised students interested in a future on Capitol Hill to pursue an internship because of the highly competitive nature of the field.
“If you want to get a job on Capitol Hill or with the government, you should get an internship because this field is highly competitive and networking matters,” Taylor said.
Carney was a research intern with City Voter, a small startup company which runs best of polls for local media outlets.
His advice to students is that the intern’s attitude is what determines whether or not the internship is worthwhile.
“Just because your job title says ‘intern’ doesn’t mean that that is all you are,” Carney said. “An eager attitude can make your internship a fruitful experience.”
Brooks was a student research assistant with the OSU Wexner Medical Center where he analyzed data for an ongoing project and made sure everything was in order for safety checks.
He said that his internship will be useful as a resumé builder when he applies for medical school.
“My internship puts me ahead of other medical school applicants who don’t have research experience that they can put on their resumé,” Brooks said. “I also got to be a co-author on a paper, which is something that not everyone can say they’ve done.”
Vinciguerra was a production intern and work study coordinator with Summer Stages Dance.
There she laid dance floor, plotted lights and managed the artists.
She said that she got a great experience out of the internship and was offered her job back.
However, she said her internship showed her that this is not the job she wants to do in the future.
“I thought I wanted to pursue arts management, and the internship was enjoyable, but it showed me that this is not what I want to do,” Vinciguerra said. “I don’t regret taking it though.”
The panelists all agreed that networking is vital to obtaining an internship, and a crowd member asked how students can develop a network.
Taylor said standing out from the crowd can help with getting into the network.
“If you have no connections, do something else that stands out,” Taylor said. “Send a thank you note and show that you are more than just a sheet of paper.”
Carney agreed with Taylor and said often small companies are a good alternative to internships for students without connections.
“Small companies need help and don’t want to go through the effort of posting an internship,” Carney said. “Email their HR or CRO and find out if they are hiring. It’s a matter of stepping outside of your comfort zone.”
Another crowd question focused on whether freshmen have any hope of getting an internship.
Brooks said for science internships, age is a factor, but volunteer work is always an option.
“In the sciences it’s harder when you are younger because you don’t have the courses they want you to have,” Brooks said.
“I would recommend volunteering because you can get almost the same experience and networking as you would with an internship.”
Carney said that age is only a factor for certain fields, and it is more about the student’s work ethic.
“The smaller the company, the less harsh they are on resumé experience,” Carney said. “It’s not how old you are, it’s how hard you will work.”
Nancy Westfield, the assistant director of OWU Career Services, said her advice to students is to apply to multiple internships and to talk to people to create a network.
“I would advise students to apply to as many internships as they have time to apply for and to talk to as many people as possible,” Westfield said. “The value of an internship cannot be overstated because it helps students to develop confidence which makes them much more marketable.”