Each year, more than 900 interns gain experience with organizations ranging from nonprofits to Fortune 500 companies.
Jan 13, 2023
Goldman Sachs, Walt Disney World, GEICO, FedEx, Bank of America, Publix Super Markets, Inc., St. Jude Children's Hospital, Lockheed Martin, Capital Hill . . . Mocs have been there, done that.
In addition to scoring coveted internships at organizations across the country, our students benefit from an abundance of internship opportunities right here in Central Florida. Each year, Florida Southern places more than 900 interns with organizations ranging from nonprofits to government agencies to Fortune 500 companies.
"Internships are a crucial part of experiential education," affirms Dr. Lauren Albaum, interim vice president for student life. "They give students the exposure, training, and mentorship needed to be successful in a highly competitive job market."
Classwork allows students to discuss, debate, and share their learning with their peers. But it is also essential to provide them with opportunities to apply and develop their understanding. Internships allow students to incorporate knowledge and theory from the classroom in a practical setting.
Graphic design major Wendy Kiesewetter interned with the Florida Southern College Scholars Experience (FSCSE). There she designed a logo for the office, flyers, and newsletters and helped to maintain the office's social presence.
"If the organization has an event, I design an event flyer. I'm also responsible for advertising the event on FSCSE's Instagram page," Wendy explains her diverse responsibilities. "It's been amazing to be able to put my classroom skills into practice."
Katie Sharp poses in front of the BDO's Tampa Offices.
Katie Sharp, an accounting major who conducted her internship with Binder, Dijker, and Otte (BDO), an international accounting firm with offices in Tampa, emphasizes the valuable connections her internship experience allowed her to establish.
"My internship gave me practical experience. I worked on international, S-Corporation, C-Corporation, and individual tax returns. I also learned how to use various software programs like DataFlow, GoSystemsRS, and GoFileRoom. More than anything, though, the experience allowed me to make some great connections," says Katie. "Not only did they invite me to intern again next summer, but they've asked me to come back after graduation and work full-time in their tax department."
When choosing between two otherwise equally qualified candidates, employers deem having an internship with its organization or within its industry to be the most influential factor, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employer's 2022 Job Outlook report.
"Employers seek employees who have experience. In fact, 52 percent of students who hold an internship are offered a job with that company," explains Albaum, reinforcing the power of an internship. Additionally, she notes, the starting salaries of students with internships are $10,000 higher typically than those of non-interns.
Psychology major Maddie Gonzalez spent a summer conducting data analysis and working on a project developing objective diagnostic tools for youth concussions at the Center for Injury and Prevention at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Currently, Maddie is working at Syllable, a Silicon Valley AI company, and researching ways to improve patient experiences in healthcare through technology.
Criminology major Alexandra Zimmer spent a large part of her summer at the Florida State Attorney's Office doing legal research before working toward her J.D. at Emory University School of Law.
English major Grace Newton interned for the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, where she sat in on committee hearings, assisted with research, and compiled press clips. During her internship, she even contributed to an investigative report published in the New York Times. These experiences allowed Grace to go to work as a press assistant for Senator Roger Wicker after graduation.
Along with assistance using online search tools such as Handshake, Career Services hosts events throughout the semester that provide students with opportunities to connect with prospective employers. They include "Moc" Interview Day, Career & Internship Expo, and field-specific networking events. Additionally, the College has designated faculty members who help students identify internship opportunities. Department chairs can connect students with the internship coordinator for their discipline. Once a student finds something they are interested in applying for, Career Services can help them draft a cover letter, tailor their résumé, and practice interviewing.
Dr. Albaum suggests that there's no wrong time to participate an internship.
"While an internship in the later years helps you to gain entrance into a specific industry, an internship in your first few years of college can be a great way to narrow down what you'd like to focus on," says Albaum.
Just ask Molly Kennedy, a sophomore and marine biology major, who spent two months in Sodwana Bay, South Africa, interning with Sharklife Conservancy. During her internship, Molly monitored shark and marine animal movements by maintaining Baited Remote Underwater Video cameras and cataloging footage obtained from the BRUVs. She also achieved her advanced Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) certification as part of the internship process.
Molly credits her academic advisor, Dr. Gabriel Langford, for helping her identify and pursue this incredible opportunity.
"Dr. Langford asked me to look into summer opportunities/internships related to my major," she said. "Naturally, I wanted to find something that would have me doing hands-on work in the field!"
When she found Sharklife, Molly felt like she had hit the jackpot.
"Experience-oriented internships are the best way for a student to test the water when they're considering a career path, and can help them avoid getting stuck in a job that they don't enjoy down the line," Molly said. "I cannot encourage college students enough to take advantage of experienced-based internships; there's truly nothing else like it!"
Molly Kennedy (right) and her colleague return from a diving trip to observe sharks in Sodwana Bay, South Africa.
Certain degree programs require internships as part of their curriculum, but Albaum recommends all students take advantage of the opportunity.
"An internship is essential because it provides students with valuable opportunities to learn in a real-world setting alongside professionals in their industry," says Dr. Albaum.
"There, students develop key competencies, and skills employers seek while gaining a better understanding of what individuals in that industry do. Along with building confidence and belief in their abilities, they prove to employers they have the know-how to contribute to the workplace."
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