Career Snapshots

Isabel Lang ’17

Isabel Lang ’17

by Tony Moore

From the U.S. Geological Survey, ESPN, IBM and NBCUniversal to the Department of State, the National Gallery of Art, UBS Financial and Twitter, the locations for the pilot year of Dickinson’s externship program are as impressive as they are diverse.

Unlike an internship, a Dickinson externship is a program through which students shadow alumni, parents or friends of the college in their workplace for between two and 10 days over winter break. The idea is that students can gain a good understanding of various careers and workplace settings during a short period of time.

Students can explore a number of industries—from government and tech to business and media—and more locations will be added to the current 36 as the initiative grows.

Isabel Lang ’17

Isabel Lang ’17

“Brian went above and beyond to provide me with a total immersion into the company and to connect me with helpful resources to build my network,” says Isabel Lang ’17, who was hosted by Brian Dorfler ’97 at NBCUniversal in New York City this winter. “I truly believe I’m more equipped as an applicant, an employee and a future Dickinson alum because of this externship.”

Besides enjoying total immersion in an area of interest, students also get a good look at jobs and professional arenas they’ve only begun to explore.

“A short-term winter externship allows Dickinson students to try new experiences and learn about an industry that may not have been on their radar,” says Laura Legg ’95, a member of Dickinson’s Alumni Council and director of alumnae relations at the National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C. “I’m pleased to offer the opportunity to Dickinson students as a way to connect alumni to the current student experience.”

While students’ daily schedules vary, they generally include attending staff meetings, shadowing the host as well as others in the organization and taking part in informational interviews. Externs also find themselves:

  • exploring career paths within an organization
  • observing interactions with customers and clients
  • meeting with decision-makers
  • and touring facilities.

Externships are another part of the Dickinson Four, a new program through which students examine their Dickinson experience and trajectory to better understand and appreciate their time at Dickinson. Particularly, externships fit in with the sophomore year’s theme, Discover What Matters, as students begin to form deeper ideas of what the future may hold.

“This is meant to be a snapshot of careers,” says Annie Kondas, associate director of alumni career services and externships. “Students can get in these environments and ask themselves, ‘Is this what I want to do? Is this what I thought it would be like?’ ”

Sara Iacovino ’15 was introduced to APCO Worldwide and Courtney Taylor Piron ’89, the company’s executive director and global health care practice lead, during a Dickinson-sponsored networking event her senior year. Now Iacovino is a project assistant with APCO and a host in Dickinson’s externship program.

“Here I am, less than two years into my career, during an absolutely unprecedented point in American politics, working blocks from the White House on some of the country’s most pertinent issues,” says Iacovino. “I owe much of that to my Dickinson education and to the eagerness of the Dickinson community to support fellow alumni. It only seemed fitting to pay it forward through the externship program.”

Another Dickinsonian paying it forward is Richard Zamarin P’20, who hosted Emily Rieder ’19 at Premier Orthopedics this winter.

“The externship was great—I was able to watch surgeries in the operating room, which is an experience I never would have had without this program, and I learned what the life of a  surgeon is really like,” says Rieder. “Opportunities like this are extremely valuable, and for me, an externship in the medical field will help me when applying to summer research programs and to medical school.”

The externship program is looking to expand, so alumni, parents and friends of the college interested in exposing Dickinson students to their industries and giving back with their time and experience are encouraged to get involved.

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Published April 5, 2017