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Top Tips for Internship Success

Bella Gerkin

Students share internship experiences, advice

by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

Google. Dow Jones. The National Institutes of Health. Capital One. The WNBA’s Chicago Sky. This time of year, Dickinson students are completing internships at top organizations around the world.

How did they get them? What are the internships like? And how did they make the most of these game-changing experiences—which can make all the difference in their career decisions and future job searches? We asked a sampling of students those very questions.

Omar Ali ’24, University of Maryland-Baltimore Dental School

Omar Ali

After completing an internship at a small dental practice in Egypt last summer, Ali, a neuroscience major, discovered this internship--at a high-level, shock trauma hospital--through Dickinson’s Handshake system. He was one of two Dickinson students to take part in this exceptional opportunity, thanks to a Dickinson alum who hosted them. As he learns what it's like to work at a large practice within a U.S. university system, Ali is developing practical skills and confirming his career goals. This summer's experience is also reinforcing his understanding of the need to keep learning throughout a medical career. 

"Approach your internship with a positive mindset, a willingness to learn and a proactive attitude. Seek feedback and make the most of the opportunities." —Omar Ali '24 

Emma Agro ’24, Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center

Emma Argo

Emma Agro '24 (left) observed nurse practitioners in a variety of cancer-care settings and affirmed her passion for the field.

Agro (biology, health studies) observes nurse practitioners in different oncology settings. On the day shift, she attends patient appointments and listens in on case presentations. During nights in urgent care, she sees how to respond to a cancer patient in distress. These experiences are solidifying her desire to become a nurse practitioner. "I was nervous about being around such highly educated professionals, but I gained so much knowledge and preparation for my future, and I am forever grateful," Agro says.

"You'll never know if you will like or dislike something if you don't give it a chance." —Emma Agro '24 

Katie Chapis ’24, UPMC of Central Pennsylvania

Katie Chapis

Chapis is a biology major with a Spanish minor who’s pursuing a health studies certificate and learned about this internship through Dickinson’s Career Center. Chapis shadows and works with health care professionals in general and orthopedic surgery, family and internal medicine, pediatrics and obstetrics. “I have gotten to figure out which departments align best with my preferences and career interests,” says Chapis, who intends to enroll in medical school.

"Try to connect with and talk to as many people involved in your work as possible. This will enable you to make friends and feel more comfortable in your work environment, and it will open up new possibilities and networking opportunities." —Katie Chapis '24 

Allie Charnas ’24, WNBA: Chicago Sky

Allie Charnas

Charnas, an environmental science major, has always loved sports. She found this WNBA internship by "name dropping friends" in a cold email to the president of Chicago Sky. As a game-operations intern, she compiles information, hires anthem singers and half-time and prime-time performers and ensures that games run smoothly, handling everything from compiling and distributing schedules, getting players on and off the court, making announcements, managing entertainment groups and more. Previously, Charnas had a marketing/PR/operations internship with Chicago City S.C., a preprofessional soccer club. As a result of these experiences, she knows she wants a career in the sports industry.

"Be persistent, and always follow up with people." —Allie Charnas '24 

Jacob Choudhri ’24, Dow Jones

Jacob Choudhri

Choudhri is a data analytics major with minors in math and economics. He’s a financial planning, analysis and business intelligence intern at Dow Jones—a position he secured by responding to an online job post. Day to day, Choudhri works on a SQL learning series to help teach SQL to new hires.

"Apply to as many internships as possible, and really build your LinkedIn profile." —Jacob Choudhri '24 

Vanessa Daniels ’24, PA Department of Health

PA department of health logo

 

A biology major who’s pursuing a pre-health certificate, Daniels was a community-health intern at the Boys and Girls Club of Lancaster last summer. She found her 2023 internship through a search on the PA Commonwealth Internship website, after interviewing for a different internship through the state. Daniels' epidemiology internship focuses on alpha-gal syndrome, an allergy to red meat and mammal products that’s believed to develop after a tick bite. She develops surveys and interviews patients, helps create educational materials, attends meetings and works on West Nile virus data and tick surveillance. “This internship has been a great networking opportunity and has allowed me to see the wide range of public health and biology jobs that are offered by the state," Daniels says.

"Apply early and across a wide range of positions. Rejection is part of the process. It can feel overwhelming and uncertain when others around you are locking down internships, but persistence pays off." —Vanessa Daniels ’24

Scarlett Davidovich ’24, Enterprise Knowledge 

Scarlett Davidovich '24 (right) and Zach Wahl '98, president and founder of Enterprise Knowledge.

Scarlett Davidovich '24 with Zach Wahl '98, president and founder of Enterprise Knowledge.

Davidovich (international business & management) learned about internship opportunities at Enterprise Knowledge through an on-campus Career Center information session with Zach Wahl '98, the company's president and founder. After a winter break externship at EK, she’s now a summer strategy intern, working on client projects, attending meetings, creating slide decks and collaborating with fellow interns and managers. “It’s been a transformative experience,” Davidovich says.

"Don't hesitate to try new interests, and learn how to fail upward." —Scarlett Davidovich '24 

Jack Drda '24, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute

Jack Drda '24 with Dr. Francis Collins of the NIH National Cancer Institute.

Jack Drda '24 (right) with Dr. Francis Collins of the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute. 

Drda (biology, pre-health) is a Cancer Research Trainee Award Fellow in the metabolism lab at the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute. He uses advanced biochemical techniques to understand the contributions of the microbiome and metabolites to colon cancer growth. Drda learned about this opportunity and got a foot in the door through connections he made during previous summer internships with UPMC Central PA and Georgetown University. As a result of those prior internships, he presented research last year at the American Physiological Summit and is assisting in drafting research results for publication. 

"Not everyone will respond to your cold emails. Sometimes, funding runs dry. Never let setbacks define your story. I promise that you will find those amazing mentors who see your potential." —Jack Drda '24

Bella Gerkin '26, Boston Children's Hospital

Bella Gerkin

After hearing about a family friend’s research internship, Gerkin, a neuroscience major, emailed a few of the doctors whose research she was interested in and asked if they wanted help over the summer. That strategy paid off: Working with a research assistant to study post-stroke language development, she learns what life in the lab is like while connecting with doctors and specialists in her intended field.

"Take in as much as you can, and meet as many people as you can. You never know who is going to be help you in the future." —Bella Gerkin '26 

Katie Le '24, Google

This summer, Katie Le '24 completes her second internship at Google.

This summer, Katie Le '24 completes her second internship at Google.

Le, a computer science major, found out about a coveted Google internship from friends working in the tech industry and applied for it online through the company's website. It's Le’s second internship at Google.

As a software engineer intern in a fast-paced environment, Le works on a cross-platform tool to enhance productivity. A typical day includes collaborating across teams on feature launches, coding and testing, updating documents and connecting with fellow interns and professionals. “It’s been a rewarding experience, exposing me to real-world problems and a vibrant community of high-achieving tech enthusiasts,” Le says. “I’ve honed my critical reasoning and soft skills, and I've learned to focus on what matters most.”

"Be open to changing your mind multiple times, and embrace learning from everyone around you. It's a numbers game: Keep applying, stay persistent and get enough sleep!" —Katie Le '24 

Han Nguyen ’24, Kudu Investment Management

Han Nguyen '24

 

Nguyen—a double major in data analytics and quantitative economics who previously interned as a research assistant in the blockchain-technology industry—learned about this data science internship through Dickinson’s Handshake system. Tasks include daily meetings with supervisors and project leaders, using Power BI to transform static information into interactive visuals and using Python and SQL to streamline processes and ensure ease of use. These experiences help clarify Nguyen’s job interests while sharpening in-demand skills.

"Be proactive, open-minded and self-reliant. When reporting on your progress or projects, strive for a professional and polished presentation.
Networking is essential: A good starting point is to talk to your professors, advisors and other faculty members at Dickinson. They can provide guidance and support, connect you with relevant professionals and help you navigate the networking process." —Han Nguyen ’24  

Josephine Rodriguez ’24, Community Development Bankers Association

Josephine Rodriguez '24

With a major in international business & management and minors in German and economics, Rodgriguez found this policy and communications internship through Dickinson’s AlumniFire network. She assists with industry and policy communications and gathers and organizes data to support comment letters and grant applications. “This internship opens a door to a world I knew very little about and shows me what a Dickinson education can do,” says Rodriguez, who also completed a market research internship the summer after sophomore year.

"Use your resources! The Dickinson Career Center does an amazing job of advising and putting together resources to help you field an internship." —Josephine Rodriguez ’24 

Skylar Skarupa '25, UPMC Community General, Harrisburg and West Shore Hospitals

Skylar Skarupa '25

Skarupa, a biochemistry & molecular biology major, worked with Dickinson’s pre-health staff to obtain this alumnus-sponsored medical internship, which involves shadowing a new physician every week. While observing daily activities of physicians with different specialties, a clearer career path comes into view. “I knew from the moment that I witnessed the first case that I wanted to be a surgeon. It was similar to visiting a college campus and having a gut feeling of belonging,” Skarupa says.

"Don’t simply perform tasks that you are told to do; instead, really take in everything around you. Embrace your opportunity to really consider your career goals and determine what your true passions are." —Skylar Skarupa '25 

Rahma Semma '25, Seattle Children's Research Institute

Rahma Semma '25

To find this research-tech internship, Semma emailed a Dickinson alum working in the field. A double major in data analytics and biochemistry & molecular biology, Semma cultures and cultivates cells to study responses in the liver and also conducts reporter assays and western blots to assess the signaling levels associated with this response. “This internship has provided me with valuable insights into the real-world application of my studies,” Semma says.

"Reach out to people in your field of interest. Even if they can’t offer you an internship, they will still guide you." —Rahma Semma '25

Riley Teresi ’24, Burke Neurological Center

Riley Teresi

To obtain this internship, Teresi (neuroscience, health studies) went right to the source, reaching out to the primary investigator of the lab. She helps with data collection, training and data logging in a study concerning adults with cerebral palsy. Through a second project focusing on children with cerebral palsy, she assists with training, helps with setup, inputs data and engages with kids and their families. “This internship has reinforced so many of the topics that I have learned at Dickinson. This has allowed me the opportunity to really envision my future career and gain a greater understanding of the research field, while also gaining applicable skills,” she says.

"Don’t be afraid to reach out to professionals! Usually, they’re willing to take in students and provide a learning experience." —Riley Teresi '24 

Anh Tran ’26, The Trout Gallery

Anh Tran

Tran, a double major in psychology and neuroscience, learned about on-campus internship opportunities while visiting Dickinson’s Trout Gallery. As a Trout summer-program intern, she researches exhibition content, develops curricula based on current exhibitions, teaches local students and assists with the gallery’s marketing and communications work. She says her public speaking and networking skills, her confidence in her abilities and her insights into the arts have grown exponentially. Working with local children through this internship has also allowed her to apply her understanding of developmental psychology.

"Seek out opportunities to learn and contribute." —Anh Tran '26 

Chase Weller ’25, Capital One

Chase Weller

Weller majors in international business & management with minors in economics and Spanish. He found this internship by networking with a connection from middle school who put him in touch with a recruiter. As a business-analyst intern with Capital One, Weller uses SQL and Google Sheets to help the company predict consumer behavior. In previous internships, he worked in sales at a clothing company and in social-media marketing with a baseball scouting service.

"Apply to everything you're interested in and network. Take pride in doing the little things right. People will notice." —Chase Weller '25 

Learn more about internships.

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Published August 9, 2023