by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson
Internships, networking and career exploration look a little different these days, but that doesn’t stop Dickinson students from gaining the in-depth experiences they need to pinpoint and work toward the career of their dreams. As the spring semester grows nearer, we’re sharing some internship inspiration, courtesy of students who pursued exceptional remote, hybrid and in-person internships last summer.
The students represent the spectrum of majors. They found out about the internships through Dickinson’s Center for Advising, Internships & Lifelong Career Development, professors and alumni, personal contacts, Dickinson resources like Handshake and AlumniFire, and the Dickinson LinkedIn network.
Nearly all of the internships were remote, and a few included in-person shadowing components and outdoor components (with social-distance rules in full effect). Each one presented a chance to build professional contacts and resume-worthy experiences as students learned about the kind of work and work cultures that match them best. That includes experiences adjusting to fast-changing conditions—such as when students had to secure new internships when their original plans were dashed by the pandemic—and learning new skills in an evolving professional context.
“Working solely online was definitely a learning curve,” said Hannah DelSordo ’22 (international studies, French), who interned with the Borgen Project, “but this type of work taught me how to reach out and ask questions.”
“It’s prepared me for the fact that no one can say for certain what comes next in the midst of the pandemic,” said Claire Jeantheau ’21 (classical studies, educational studies, social innovation & entrepreneurship), who interned with the Children’s Defense Fund. “I've learned to be adaptable and manage my time against abrupt changes in plans and Zoom-only meetings.”
Here are the students' highlights and advice, in their own words:
Summary: Found out about this internship while shadowing Thomas Pineo ’92, P’21, P’23, and applied through Handshake. Collected data for research on patients who do and do not require pacemakers after aortic valve replacement and shadowed a cardiologist, nurse practitioner and echocardiogram tech.
Most valuable part: “I have learned so much just from shadowing providers who are working on life-changing research. On top of that, a stipend was provided to cover the cost of housing, food and transportation. As a student who is seeking a career in medicine, it has given me a glimpse of what to expect. In addition, it has shown me how my values align with work in this field and has made me more confident in the career that I am pursuing.”
Summary: Internship made available through Thomas Pineo ’92, P’21, P’23. As a student research intern, retrieved and recorded information for research; assisted in research project; shadowed providers to learn more about day-to-day life in the health care field.
Most valuable part: “I learned a lot of cardiac terminology, and I have learned a lot about how much goes into the care of patients at UPMC. From working on research to shadowing in the cath lab to observing physicians in the office, I saw the process full circle for these patients, which has been extremely helpful.”
Advice: “Apply to everything and anything you are interested in. Internships allow you to gain experience and knowledge in that field, which helps you to figure out if it is something you are truly interested in and would want to pursue as a career.”
Summary: Mobilized community members to reach out to their local and state representatives in support of legislation on global poverty; also contacted representatives and staff directly.
Most valuable part: “This internship made me more confident and passionate about my studies. I have seen the effects of how what I am learning can help people in the future, and that is very exciting.”
Summary: As an intern with the department of educational methodology, compiled information for varied research projects and made valuable connections in the fields of international studies and political science.
Advice: “Utilize all aspects of your internship. If you find that it is not exactly everything you are looking for, reach out to your supervisor and ask to meet with other people. Keep in touch with your connections if possible, and always, always, thank people for your experiences and their time.”
Summary: After receiving notification from Dickinson staff and applying through USAJOBS.gov, assisted with monitoring, using progress reports and daily operations to ensure compliance with goals set by this EPA division.
Most valuable part: “I had great exposure to federal processes and developed an understanding of federal regulations that will shape my career going forward. I can also apply real-world knowledge to my academic pursuits and have a more comprehensive understanding of classroom material.”
Summary: As a communications intern, tracked related news coverage and worked on special projects, including editing videos and a proposal for a social media campaign. Learned about education policy, networking and community outreach.
Advice: “Apply everywhere! Not literally (of course), but be willing to cast a broad net and explore industries and organizations that you aren't familiar with--it's a good time to explore. Look for ways that you can apply what you've already done (like writing within your major) to new situations (writing on behalf of a company)."
Summary: Lobbied Congressional offices and the White House in support of poverty-reduction programs and legislation to help make poverty a focus of U.S. foreign policy.
Most valuable part: “This internship introduced me to connections in local Congressional offices, which has significantly enhanced my networking skills. This experience further taught me some great soft skills, such as how to work in teams, how to find an approach to work that is resourceful and innovative and how to collaborate with diverse groups, both internal and external. Working at this prestigious organization not only prepared me to work for a nonprofit but also enabled me to take the role of an entrepreneur if I plan to change my career path in the future.”
Summary: After interning the previous summer at the Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh, responded to an email from the economics department about an internship opportunity at PNC referred by alum Mark Tambussi '87 and applied quantitative economics skillset in a professional setting. Learned about the finance industry along the way.
Most valuable part: “This internship has built an important foundation for my future career and allowed me to foster a network of meaningful relationships with experienced professionals in my field.”
Advice: "Don’t be afraid to apply to positions you don’t think you are fully qualified for; you will figure it out as you go. Don’t be intimidated by the process. Just start somewhere and keep going. Leverage your resources and reach out to alumni and other professionals working in fields of interest. They are usually more than happy to help out!"
Highlight: After working with a nonprofit the previous summer, secured an internship at a national financial services institution. Daily work as a college financial representative included conducting financial interviews with prospective clients.
Advice: “Internships are a great way to figure what you like doing but also what you don’t like doing.”
Summary: Created philosophy-education blog posts, video scripts, lesson plans and worksheets that will be used in educational videos for middle-schoolers.
Highlight: “As a philosophy major, I am always searching for ways to connect weighty abstract ideas to practical issues. It was enlightening to pick some of my favorite concepts in philosophy of religion, especially, and connect them to issues students may encounter in their own lives.”
Most valuable part: “This internship not only allowed me to connect what I have learned in philosophy to daily life, but it also reaffirmed the fact that I love to teach others and introduce them to the discipline and ideas that I hold so close to my heart.”
Summary: Analyzed timelines of wargames for the Joint Land and Air Strategic Studies institute, looking at what nation states and violent extremist organizations will likely do in the future; collaboratively worked on grand strategy documents.
Advice: "Come in with an open mind, be respectful to your mentors and do not be afraid to ask questions."
Summary: As a music-education intern, produced a series of music-education videos.
Most valuable part: “Working with the HSO this summer has been a big help in figuring out what I want to focus on for my senior thesis, and it has provided me with a ton of experiences for reflection. It’s also prepared me for life beyond Dickinson by providing me with practical professional skills, like media production and editing, communication and database management. But, most important, working with the HSO has taught me the importance of a close, caring staff. After finishing my schooling, I'll definitely be looking to join a staff with a sense of community.”
Summary: Worked alongside researchers to study investment opportunities in Rwanda and created pitch decks for foreign investors.
Best part: “It really puts a lot of things in perspective and helps you see certain parts of the profession that you like and dislike. That allows you to focus on what aspects you enjoy and are curious about.”
Best part: “Every day meant a new opportunity to pitch in with different types of projects, and I feel that the ability to transition between tasks and still maintain high standards will serve me well. I also enjoyed my interactions with the program's participants and learned a lot, from new farming techniques to Syrian recipes and anecdotes about their own education.”
Advice: “Don't be afraid to reach out with a phone call or email! A personal touch goes a long way, and it helps put an applicant on the radar. Also, explore and apply to a variety of places. Knowing the options available in a field is important and can lead to new contacts.”
Summary: As a global technology intern working on data management and data-quality projects, enjoyed the opportunity to use SQL and SnapLogic in a professional context.
Most valuable part: “This internship pulled so many topics together that I have learned in my classes, which gives me a clearer big picture of how my majors tie in with opportunities in the workforce. It also built my confidence in my abilities to learn new coding languages and to ask insightful questions.”
Advice: “I would encourage peers to not shy away from opportunities at companies to which they don't have a personal connection. Two of the three opportunities that I received offers from were for companies at which I had no prior connections. Be confident in yourself, your abilities and your accomplishments, and you will be able to secure any opportunity you work hard for!”
Summary: Built on critical-thinking and presentation skills as private wealth management operations summer analyst, a position secured through contacts made through extracurricular activities at Dickinson.
Advice: “Imagine every internship/externship as a multiweek interview. People are evaluating every aspect of you and your work, so always try to have that ‘game day’ mentality and do your best.”
Published December 3, 2020