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Internships provide students, employers valuable experience in determining job prospects

Jacquelyn+Hinek%2C+then+co-director+of+the+Oasis+student-led+internship+Students+Promoting+Empowerment+And+Consent%2C+writes+in+a+notebook+in+the+Womens+Resource+Center+in+the+Student+Union+Memorial+Center+on+Tuesday%2C+Aug.+25%2C+2015.
Alex McIntyre
Jacquelyn Hinek, then co-director of the Oasis student-led internship Students Promoting Empowerment And Consent, writes in a notebook in the Women’s Resource Center in the Student Union Memorial Center on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015.

College is a balancing act, and quite a difficult one at that. It is a decisive time in a person’s life where they must acquire the in-depth knowledge of the given field they would like to enter. Internships are crucially important for many UA students and serve as a stepping stone between the world of academia and the reality many working individuals take part in everyday.

Sylvia Mioduski, internship coordinator and program manager for the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, said she believes internship experience complements academic experiences and gives students a good perspective about potential career options and trajectories post-graduation.

“Positive internship experience is certainly beneficial for the student and ultimately an employer,” Mioduski said. “It is definitely a necessity for students to understand not just the specific work of a company or organization, but how to function successfully in that environment.”

According to Mioduski, the CLAS has approximately 3,000 students enrolled within the college, about 1,100 of which are in the college’s general studies and global studies majors. About 15 percent of those within the majors enroll in internship courses offered by CLAS. There are students, however, who decide to not enroll in these specific courses and in turn complete other external internship programs but do not receive credit from them.

“How the student uses and presents what was learned during the internship is key,” Mioduski said.

RELATED: STEM students benefit from summer internships

UA STEM Career Educator, Farrah Dalal, said she helps in bridging the gap between classroom and career by regularly conducting presentations on internships and job searching for STEM students. 

Dalal does not personally help coordinate internships but said coordination is typically the responsibility of administration.

“In terms of finding internship opportunities, we regularly direct students to Wildcat JobLink, our campus job board and counsel on various search strategies such as networking and optimizing usage of LinkedIn,” Dalal said. 

Dalal highly recommends students within STEM, as well as those students who are not, to get internships.

“We hear from employers time and time again, that they will offer the job to the student who had an internship or work experience over the student who had the grades from their major alone,” Dalal said. “Why? Because those soft skills, like leadership, ability to work in a team, and effective communications are built through these experiences and are desirable qualities for many reasons.”

Dalal went onto explain that many employers are directly looking at their internship programs to select outstanding and qualified students and offer them full-time positions post-graduation.

“Doing well in an internship for many students could mean a job offer is in hand before graduation,” Dalal said.

RELATED: UA student employees weigh-in on Prop 206

Jose Coronado, a junior studying Spanish and retail and consumer science, is currently interning for the Consulate of Mexico and is in charge of distributing documentation and also helps with identity assignment.

“When I first started it was kinda hard for me because I did not know anything about it,” Coronado said. “I thought I wasn’t going to be interested in something political like a government institution, but it’s actually really cool and fascinating.”

One part of his internship that Coronado said he enjoys is community outreach, as well as general communication with the people the Mexican Consulate deals with.

Like many, Coronado understands the importance and significance internships carry and is personally hoping he is offered a position as a result of the work he has done and is currently doing for the consulate.

Coronado realizes that, since he now has experience working for a policy- and government-oriented organization, his horizons for future potential internships and jobs within that field have widened. 

Being a well-rounded person with a college degree who also has some prior work experience and knowledge is something Coronado realizes is becoming more necessary. 

“It’s really, really hard for a person just to walk into a job without experience, so I think internships definitely help in that regard,” Coronado said.


Follow Alex Gonzalez on Twitter.


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