The benefits of an Internship
As the summer inches closer and closer, many students look forward to having time off to relax. Others are looking to gain experience in their field through internships, summer jobs and co-op programs.
Sandy Spencer, the Director of the Career Center at Parkland, said the definition of co-op changes depending on who you are talking to.
“To me, if we talked about co-op programs as kind of ‘work-based learning,’ all of our health professions programs have field work that they have to do.”
Many career programs at Parkland also have the work-based learning portion, including the construction program. The construction program has a partnership with the highway department, Spencer said.
“They alternate going to school and working, while getting academic credit for it,” Spencer stated.
Terra Rumer, a second year student in Social Work at Parkland, feels gaining experience in her field before transferring and graduating is very important, though she has not had an internship yet. She recently applied for a position where she would be doing jobs relating to her field.
“I also believe if it is not required, you should definitely do it,” Rumer said. “You can gain experience doing what you love, it looks great on a resume and, at the same time, you’re giving back to your community.”
Rumer is also looking to get involved with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) when she turns 21. These Special Advocates are trained and committed to one child to watch over and support children who do not have parents that are able to take care of them.
“It does amazing work for this community,” Rumer added. “And I’d love to be a part of it and give back a little.”
There are internships available at Parkland as well. Deane Geiken, Radio Station Director of WPCD, located in room X120 here at Parkland, said it is very important for the station to have interns.
“On a basic level, there is a lot of stuff that needs to be done at WPCD, and there are just not enough bodies to do it all,” Geiken said. “An intern fills that gap as someone that does some of the small jobs that, while maybe small and tedious, are very important to the smooth operation of the station.”
More importantly, the interns fulfill the mission of the station, which is to be a learning lab for students to prepare them for employment for the real world, Geiken explained.
Stacy Osterbur, WPCD intern and Mass Communications major in his second year, has been at the radio station since Fall 2014. He began as an assistant to producing liners, spots and PSAs/promos for the station.
“I do a number of things,” said Osterbur. “Whenever something needs done, basically, and that could be programming, putting new music into the system and into rotation, working with the clocks and how the music is rotated, corresponding with local artists that we put into rotation, and I do a shift on here twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursday mornings, cutting spots for PSAs and doing voiceover work.”
Not all internships are as intensive as Osterbur’s, but he loves the work he gets to do. He often gets to work with interesting people and play with the clocks and rotation.
“You get to work with a lot of interesting people, and there’s fun people to work with,” Osterbur added. “I’ve gotten to know the different students and DJs on here and I’ll just bring them in during my show. It’s fun work, you know, not work-work.”
Students in COM141 and COM142 are preferred for the radio station internships, and Geiken prefers if students approach him first about them.
“They don’t have to, but I like to know if there is a real desire on their part to be an active person in the operations of the station,” Geiken stated.
Leadership and communication skills are important for any internship or work experience, explained Spencer, as well as knowing your personal and professional strengths.
“Leadership skills, whether you are involved in student clubs and organizations, or working on the paper, student government,” Spencer offered. “Anything like that where you can give examples of your leadership skills, or taking initiative or working with people.”
When looking for internships, students should look first for jobs that connect to their program of study. Often times, going to the department head, professors or even the Career Center website can give listings of available internships to students both around Parkland and in the community. It is important for students to define what they think “internship” means and what they want to get out of it.
More information, mock interviews, help with resumes and career and major counselors are available in the Career Center, located in U238.
WPCD is located in X-120, and can be heard on 88.7 FM. Requests can be made by calling 217-373-3790 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. More information can be found at wpcd.parkland.edu.