Panel Helps Future Interns

Contrasting the substantial turnout at Tuesday’s Career Fair, only about a dozen students attended an internship panel at the D’Angelo Center on Oct. 4 featuring representatives from St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Peter J. Tobin School of Business and the College of Professional Studies.

Justin Krass, a counselor at the Career Center, opened the panel by presenting the audience with the question: “What are the advantages of internships?”

“On-the-job experience,” and “networking opportunities,” were among the answers shouted out in reply.

Krass added that internships are also “a good way of finding out if a certain field is right for you,” and explained that internships often led to more lucrative jobs.

The discussion then went to the panel. Christine Yang, assistant to the dean at St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, provided details on the process of acquiring internships and attaining approval from academic departments.

The floor then went to April Merenda, assistant to the dean of External Affairs, who represents those looking for internships within the College of Professional Studies.

“I was once just like you,” Merenda began, speaking of her time as a college student. “Except, back then, the word internship didn’t exist. I waited tables.”
She then cited a statistic stating that 65-percent of internships lead to employment.

Merenda went on to say the students of the University’s current generation will have 10 to 14 positions in their lifetime, as opposed to the one lifelong career of our parents and grandparents grew accustomed to.

Through her position in External Affairs, Merenda physically checks out the internships being offered to CPS students. She assures that they’re not only getting coffee and carrying out irrelevant tasks that don’t play to lessons learned in their curriculum.

Renee Hughes, assistant dean and internship coordinator at the Peter J. Tobin College of Business spoke next on the panel. She gave a daunting example of how ESPN recently received approximately 13,000 applications for 89 internship positions.

“They take 15 seconds to look at each one,” Hughes said. “They’re very target oriented in what they’re
looking for.” She encouraged students to find out exactly what companies are looking for and reflect those qualities on their resumes.

After the panel discussion concluded, students broke into small groups led by the representative from their academic department.

In the more one-on-one setting, Merenda urged her students in the College of Professional Studies to write a personal goal and a career goal on an index card and look at it at least once a day. She also spoke highly of, an online self-promotion service free to all university students. And while Merenda is not a professor, she assigned them all a homework assignment – to send her an e-mail with three things that describe themselves.

“All three of those things should speak to the career you’re after,” Merenda said.