Internship opportunities fluctuate as organizations respond differently to pandemic

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Due to organizational challenges brought about by COVID-19, students may have concerns or issues with landing internships.

Two deans addressed the state of internships during the pandemic within each of their colleges. 

Daniel McCarthy, dean of the College of Science and Technology, explained that while there are fewer opportunities within more hands-on fields, other fields are well suited for remote work.

“The process really hasn’t changed, just that there are fewer opportunities in a few disciplines — however, there are also more opportunities in other disciplines,” detailed McCarthy. “Some disciplines are much better suited for adapting to a remote work environment.”

The value of internships lies in the fact that both students and companies benefit from the experience, according to McCarthy.

“It’s an extended interview in a lot of ways,” expressed McCarthy. “What happens is when companies hire someone cold, it takes sometimes a month or even more just to get the person up to speed to where they can work in the company. With an internship, students are ready to do it because they already know what they’re doing.”

 

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faculty members within their departments.

“I think that there is an interesting demand to work remotely, but if you’re just going cold, you may not know what’s out there,” shared McCarthy. “I always recommend that students talk with their department and with faculty members to see if he or she would be able to help you out with that.”

Antoinette Phillips, dean of the College of Business, shared that there has still been strong interest from both employers and students within the college.

“In some cases, there are a little fewer opportunities because of some organizational challenges relative to the pandemic with remote work and distancing,” explained Phillips. “We’ve had some interns who are working actually in offices within companies, and we have others working remotely.”

While internships are valuable for learning job-related skills, Phillips believes that the interpersonal skills learned hold just as much weight.

“You also learn personal communication, how to be an employee, what it means to go to work every day,” shared Phillips. “You learn a lot about being an employee versus a student, and that’s sometimes a transition. Teamwork skills, networking, all of those things are so important that students get a good taste of when they intern.

Alongside keeping resumes up to date, Phillips also emphasized that students should utilize their resources and connections in order to find an internship.

“I think you really have to expand your search process to include organizations you haven’t thought of before,” expressed Phillips. “I think it’s important to tell everyone that you’re looking for an internship, to explore opportunities, to always have your antenna up. Talk to your professors, talk to your department head.”

 

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