Ask the average Ohio Wesleyan student what the Bishop Externship Program is and the answer might be a blank stare.
The student hearing about the program for the first time might not know anything about the program, except that it is a reoccurring subject line found in his or her Bishop email account.
The school website describes an externship program as “a short (1-5 days) practical experience which allows OWU students to explore a potential career path, gain valuable job experience and engage with OWU alumni working in various career fields and industries.”
The Bishop Externship program offers students a unique job shadowing opportunity by exploring possible career interests, in a program that takes place over spring break by connecting the students with alumni located in various parts of the country.
Origins of the program
According to senior Martin Clark, Marketing and Public Relations Intern for the Offices of Career Services, “An Externship provides an opportunity to be exposed to a work environment without long term commitment.
“You don’t dig quite as deeply into a career as with an internship, you just get your foot in the door to see if you’d be interested in it.”
Clark said economics majors might benefit more from the program because of the number of alumni work in economic related fields.
“Ultimately we’re limited in what we can offer by what alumni get involved in the program,” he said. “There is no program without the alumni.”
To widen that pool of experiences, Clark said the Internship Coordinator, Melissa Bogner, is always reaching out to alumni from all backgrounds to attract a wider variety of students with different majors.
The official Bishop Externship program launched last year with externships being offered over spring break in various locations including New York City, Columbus and Atlanta,” Bogner said.
“We have witnessed an increase in alumni involvement this fall, which allowed for more externship opportunities for OWU students.”
Additionally, Bogner said alumni have been impressed with the caliber of OWU students and she has seen students return to campus with a new eagerness and energy to pursue their careers.
Both Bogner and Clark point to the alumni as being the key factor that differentiates the program from other, more traditional, internship programs.
Students reflect on their experiences
Senior Lauren Holler voiced a similar opinion.
Holler participated in a fall break Externship and shadowed alumna Megan Ellis and some of her colleagues at Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Franklin County.
“My sponsor, Megan Ellis, was very kind and welcoming along with the entire staff at CASA,” Holler said.
“The Bishop Externship Program really gives students an opportunity to connect with alumni in intimate settings, which I find very valuable,” Holler said.
“All of the alumni I met throughout the experience were very eager to meet with us and talk to us.”
Senior Kelsey King, who also participated in an externship program, said she would recommend the program.
“If you’re entertaining the idea of entering a certain field, sign up,” she said.
“You may discover that the industry isn’t what you imagined, or find that the industry is a fantastic fit for your interests and skills. Take a chance in the application and have fun.”