As students venture through their four years at Keene State College, they are constantly reminded of the importance internships have in  their education as they are able to gain real world knowledge and experience in their field of interest.

According to Journalism Department Chair Rose Kundanis, majors strongly encourage students to get involved with some sort of internship so that they can gain real world experience in their areas of study.

“Majors cannot require students to do at least one semester of internship per-say because there are not enough opportunities in a city the size of Keene. However, we do strongly encourage students because they do not really know what they are getting into with their majors until they have tried it out in the working world. It is really not a good place to be out in the work force just for students to find out that they may not like a particular way of working,” Kundanis said.

She continued, “We encourage students for two reasons: so students can find out what they do not like and so that they can find out what they do like. An internship will look good on a resume and could also have a close connection to an entry level job that a student might want to take on once they have graduated.”    

In terms of how students go about finding internships, Kundanis said that it is a two-way street between faculty and students to potentially find the perfect match.

“I send every internship that I find to both majors and minors. In addition to getting that information from us in terms of faculty, we also encourage students to look on their own. Students may want to find internships that are closer to their hometowns because they are either in the summer or during an intersession when they do not have their residency here at a residence hall,” Kundanis said.

Prior to beginning the hunt for internships, Kundanis said that she starts off by asking students what they want to do.

“In journalism, students may find themselves wanting to do print, broadcast public relations, etc. They also might want something that pays or go for a more competitive internship. It is always good to see what aligns with certain interests and to kind of have a longer term plan. Our major has a lot of options and we encourage students to explore what is best for them,” Kundanis said.

Although there is no specific internship course for the Journalism program, Kundanis said that students have to complete some sort of assignment(s) based on what their academic supervisor requires.

“We do not have a separate course for internships but what we do have is the accountability to the academic supervisor who gives the grade. That accountability usually includes some kind of logging and submission of work, meeting with your professor and communication between the college and the site of the internship,” Kundanis said.

As far as expectations and goals go for the internship experience, Kundanis said that she hopes students are able to find their way between what they do and do not like in the working world.

“I think it is really important that students get a sense of what they like and don’t like. It is kind of a matter of finding their way and I think that it is important for students to understand that it is not just one move, it’s several different ones,” Kundanis said.

George Amaru/ Art Director

George Amaru/ Art Director

She continued, “One of the things is just learning all of the things that students are going to need to know. I think that there is a lot to be learned and sometimes it is a disappointment. Sometimes you don’t learn what you want or you are at the top and you say this is what I want to do but there are very few opportunities because some big scale companies rely on interns. Students need to learn the way a business works and figure out where they fit into it.”

One internship site that has repeatedly employed KSC students as interns is Cedarcrest Center for Children with Disabilities.

Director of Development and Community Relations, Jeffrey L. Fuller said that the center has been employing KSC studentss for four years.

However, there are other staff members that have also used interns. We have had some in social services and even some graduate student interns who are in the therapy departments and things like that.

In this office it tends to be much more like a practicum because students do not come here and work full time for a semester, it just gives them a chance to come and see the sorts of things we do in a non-profit organization,” Fuller said.

In terms of interns’ responsibilities for when they begin their experience at the Center, Fuller said it all depends on what skills they can bring to the table.

“Because we are a small office, we like to give interns an opportunity to use whatever special skills they can bring in to kind of get a sense of what they can do for us that’ll be related to the type of work they are interested in. We try to structure it so we can give them an overview of what we do, we try to not make it all about clerical work,” Fuller said.

Fuller added that the overall experience with working with KSC students throughout the last few years had been, for the most part, very good.

“My advisor and I talk as the semester goes on because in our office we do not do any formal evaluation of students. Interns have always been for the most part incredibly responsible and have taken their tasks seriously and have worked at whatever projects we give them. We are an unusual organization because there are not a lot of nonprofits that do the kind of work that we do, so it is an unusual opportunity. It takes a special person to do all the kinds of things that they are called on to do and to interact with our kids,” Fuller said.

From working at the Center, Fuller said he hopes that student interns get a sense of what development community relations work in a non-profit is all about.

“I hope that interns get a sense of what working in a non-profit organization is all about. In a general sense working here is probably different than if they were to have the same sort of experience in a for-profit organization. I hope they see that nonprofits are incredibly creative places because they will not have to work inside a little box doing the same tasks over and over. Everybody has a lot of tasks and a much more broader job description and that is a different insight,” Fuller said.

He continued, “From coming here I hope that this will be an experience where they students can see that a place like Cedarcrest is an incredibly rewarding place to work. It is an unusual kind of experience that is more real and more diverse.”

From the student perspective, senior and dual major of education and dance education, Ana Webster said that she has worked with her dance education internship for three semesters, where she teaches an after-school dance program that is based on educational dance.

“My dance education internships are divided 1, 2, and 3 so there are different requirements for each. The first two internships are at elementary schools in Walpole and the third is in Marlborough. I actually teach at my internship once a week but the class also meets on Thursday’s so we can discuss our lesson plans,” Webster said.

Webster said that from these experiences, she will be able to carry on what she has learned from the after school programs into her own classroom one day.

“My internships have been my first experience with educational dance. It has taught me how I can relate dance into the classroom at school. Although it can be time consuming, this experience has reinforced my belief that movement is beneficial to learning,” Webster said.

Prior to her internships, Webster said that she only had knowledge of studio style dance and technique and, although educational dance involves such knowledge, it also includes more of the textbook content.

”Interning has given me more experience in working with children and has shown me how my second major of dance education can relate to my elementary school degree. Dance can be used to teach a variety of topics and can be really beneficial for students who might learn a concept better through movement. Everything I have learned throughout the last three semesters and everything new that I have been continuing to learn will definitely be with me when I have my own classroom full of students,” Webster said.

Brogan Wessell can be contacted at

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