How colleges and companies promote successful internships

May 10, 2012 at 8:00 am | Posted in career center | 1 Comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

AT&T plans to hire more than 600 young workers this year, and roughly half of those positions will be for internships that could lead to entry-level full-time jobs. The company reports that it has been hiring interns for its summer program since the fall, but that positions remain. AT&T has made its internship program more robust. Interns will be paired with a mentor, receive mid- and end-of-program feedback on their performance and be given opportunities to shadow executives. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, some three dozen companies, government agencies and nonprofits have committed to creating 180,000 summer jobs this year, and more organizations could sign on as the summer nears. (The jobs bank is expected to be available in early May at Here’s a sample of what your colleagues at other colleges are doing to promote successful internships:

  • University of Denver:  The Career Center hosted its quarterly Career and Internship Fair last Wednesday at the Gates Field House, with tables representing 50 government and non-profit employers. According to Pat O’Keefe, assistant director of the Career Center, about 350 students and alumni attended the spring fair, while 500 usually attend each of the fall and winter fairs. Employers included organizations like the Colorado Department of Revenue, the Salvation Army, the Peace Corps and Teach for America. “The spring fair is unusual because of this government and non-profit focus,” said O’Keefe. “The fall and winter fairs are more business-oriented.” According to O’Keefe, there were 13 more employers at this year’s fair than last year. She said the increase in employers from previous years could be a sign of the beginning of U.S. economic recovery.
  • University of Houston:  The treatment of unpaid interns has recently come under fire, but UH students are continuing to apply for and accept these positions with the hope they will gain experience.  Marketing junior Colleen Seitz currently has an internship with UH’s Athletics and Marketing Department. Seitz says she has gained valuable insight into the inner workings of a sports marketing position and is receiving hands-on experience. For journalism junior Jennifer Pearson, her experience with the Houston Chronicle is much different. She has done photo galleries, but she has not received direct credit for her work. She is obtaining credit through UH for the internship, but Pearson is not sure whether the experience is helpful. Anthropology senior Jene Harper holds an internship at Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center and helps veterans adjust to civilian life.  “The trade-off in spending that time and having the chance to gain the currency of human experience is far more valuable than getting $10 an hour.”
  • University of Louisiana:  An alumnus from the University of Louisiana at Monroe has donated $10,000 to the College of Business Internship Support Fund. Freeman Stamper, who graduated from ULM’s College of Business in 1968, presented the donation Friday morning. The Internship Support Fund provides financial support to students participating in internships in high cost areas, such as Boston, Hong Kong, London, Dallas and New Orleans. Stamper is an executive consultant in the San Francisco area. He has made numerous contributions to the university over the years, including establishing the Frances Morris Memorial Endowed Scholarship, bestowing $1 million to benefit the endowed scholarship and naming the Charles Freeman Stamper Assistant Director’s Office in the Clarke M. Williams Student Success Center. Stamper said he is passionate about giving back to the university that helped launch his career.
  • Bethel College:  Bethel College celebrates its emphasis on undergraduate research with the annual URICA Symposium on campus. URICA stands for Undergraduate Research, Internships and Creative Activity. This year’s symposium has expanded to include the fine arts and theater in addition to presentations from student research in science and social science. John McCabe-Juhnke, professor of communication arts, and Marla Krell, director of experiential learning, will moderate two panel discussions on “Experiential Learning through Internships.” Members of the panels are juniors and seniors. Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2011-12 analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States and is the highest-ranked Kansas college in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2011-12. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA.

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