Set sail on the InternShip before graduation

By on September 6, 2012

As one becomes an upperclassmen, ice cream scooping, life guarding or being a camp counselor at the overnight camp in upstate New York that they’ve been attending since they were potty-trained starts to look less appealing on a resume for a post-graduate job. This is when advancing into what can be considered the most adult-like summer job a college student can get their hands on comes into play: having an internship.
The School of Communications’ internship brochure explains that “internships for academic credit are required for public relations and journalism majors and strongly encouraged for media
production and media studies majors. Interns are eligible to receive three academic credits for 120 hours of fieldwork.” The brochure also states that students are recommended to intern at the end of their junior year or during their senior year.

Quinnipiac offers help and instruction to students through its faculty, such as Assistant Dean of Career Services for the School of Communications, Joseph Catrino.

“Internships are phenomenal on a lot of levels; it’s useful because it allows students to take what faculty has provided them and use those skills in an actual work environment,” Catrino said. “It allows [students] to build off of what their normal summer jobs have been and put something substantial to their major on a resume.”

Catrino provides several outlets for School of Communications students to make sure they’re not left in the dark when searching for internships or missing out on any potential networking opportunities to find one. Catrino’s weekly “SoC Update” emails to communications students provides information regarding important upcoming dates for career workshops, events or SoC class openings, time slots to have a resume review session with Catrino himself and information about QU Career Connections; a password protected database for students of all majors, alumni and employers to apply or post job or internship opportunities, to name a few.

Senior print journalism major and sports studies minor Jared Baiman benefited from Catrino’s weekly update emails last fall by finding a summer internship at NBC.

“Last fall, I saw that Catrino was taking the first 15 students who responded on a tour of the NBC building in New York City, so I replied and got to go,” Baiman said. “I met someone in Human Resources on the tour and kept in touch with them throughout the school year and then landed an interview for an internship and ended up interning in the Corporate Communications Department at NBC in New York City over the summer.”

Baiman said he was able to be a part of some substantial projects for the department within his internship, from finding press clips to writing a pitch and a social media plan for the Diversity Communications Department.

The summer time is usually recommended by faculty as a good time for internships.

“It’s much more common that students do their credited internships the summer going into their senior year,” Catrino said. “I have found that students have a difficult time managing four classes and an internship during the school year.”

Senior public relations major and marketing minor, Katie Van Leeuwen was an intern in New York City this summer for the small in-house public relations team at ideeli.com, a flash sale website featuring designer clothing and home goods at lower prices.
Van Leeuwen said she left her internship feeling reassured that she was on the right path with her major.
“I got to make media kits, help plan events, attend photo shoots and reach out to newspapers and magazines to get ideeli’s name out there,” Van Leeuwen said. “It was my first internship so I was definitely apprehensive about it, but I had such a great experience and I know for sure that this is what I want to do and feel that I can be successful in this field.”

Unlike Van Leeuwen and Baiman, senior public relations major and sports studies minor Matt Bernstein got lucky with no commute into NYC for an internship at the Office of Public Affairs at Quinnipiac under John Morgan last spring semester.

Bernstein was in charge of posting MyQ articles, updating the Quinnipiac calendar for university events, writing press releases, and contributing to Quinnipiac’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

“I gained a lot of real world experience and was never asked to do any grunt work,” Bernstein said.

Bernstein said he is appreciative for his internship at the Office of Public Affairs, but explained that he wants to broaden his horizons with his public relations studies.

“I definitely got a lot out of my experience there but that’s all I know is university-based PR,” Bernstein said. “I would have a lot to learn if I were to work at a major PR firm in the future.”

Similar to Bernstein’s reflection on his internship, Baiman also stated that the corporate world may not be the best thing for him career-wise because of the intensely fast-paced atmosphere and the lack of direction that was given to him. His internship helped him realize that he wants to focus more on getting into something specific, such as NBC Sports.

In addition to the positive benefits that an internship provides, Catrino also explained that it’s good to find out what you don’t want to pursue as a job while still at Quinnipiac.

“Internships give you that real world experience for what you may or may not want your potential career path to be,” Catrino said. “Although it’s great to have an internship that really pin points and reassures what you want to do with your major as a career, it’s also great to rule out the direction that you may not want to go towards within your major after graduation.”

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