Most students would agree that the idea of being thrown into the workforce right after college is daunting. Spending the majority of their time in classrooms and lecture halls often leaves little time for actual hands-on experience. That’s where internships come in.
Keene State College offers a number of avenues to obtain internships. KSC provides students with JobWise, an online service which provides students with resources to help anybody trying to obtain an internship, including a search service for internship and other job postings.
A guide to writing a resume, interview tips, networking strategies and more are also offered by Academic and Career Advising.
KSC Career Advisor Beverly Behrmann said that many businesses and organizations look for Keene State students to work for them specifically.
“Employers posting in JobWise are looking for Keene State students,” Behrmann said.
Another way to get the opportunity to work in your desired field before graduation is to take an internship course for credit, where students obtain credit for their internships.
Students register for an internship class or independent study, where students work with their professor or advisor in order to obtain the internship. During the course of the semester students will simultaneously work at the internship site, while meeting regularly in a classroom setting to discuss their work with their professor and classmates.
Students must complete coursework for the class as well, such as keeping journals, reflecting on readings and attending other events relating to the internship. Service Learning and Internship Coordinator Karen Balnis said that these internship opportunities are beneficial to students.
“They get to see how it works in the professional setting. By the same token, I think what they learn in the professional setting during the internship really helps them to understand some of the concepts that are taught in their course,” she said.
Balnis continued, “Any time a student is in a work environment, they’re building their professional skills, they’re building their critical thinking, they’re building all those characteristics critical in a liberal arts education.”
Balnis also said that employers will often decide to hire an intern after the internship is over. Internships, practicums and professional placements are often required from students in order to graduate.
A monthly event called First Friday recognizes the work of students, staff and faculty. This month’s event took place on Mar. 4 and focused on the work students had done in their internships, practicums, etc.
2015 graduate and history major Eric Howley said he spent his last semester at KSC working with the Cheshire Historical Society digging up archives for exhibits and got the chance to learn little-known facts about Cheshire County and the surrounding area.
Howley said that being in a professional environment allows an individual to learn more than a student might pick up in a classroom. “I think the two go hand-in-hand; you need to have the knowledge but it’s also interesting to actually have hands-on experience actually touching artifacts from different time periods,” Howley said.
Hands-on in the field work can be extremely gratifying as well, according to the students at the panel.
Sustainable product design and innovation majors Ryan Murray and Mack Burton-Williams are working at their internship on a project adapting a bike for a young boy who uses a prosthetic leg.
The project is being continued after the bike was originally built next year, but with the boy’s growth, more changes needed to be made.
The two students have been working with the boy trying to refit the bike. Murray said that being able to use what is being taught in the classroom in the real-world is crucial, not only for yourself, but for your client. In this case, a little boy who wants to be able to ride his bike with his friends.
“You have to learn it and you have to apply it that way you know, ‘I can do this’ and if I don’t everything goes bad,” Murray said.
His partner in the project, Burton-Williams, agreed with Murray, and said that the project has given him more of a reason to want to learn.
“You’re going through college and you get a grade, and it’s this quantitative measuring thing and I just don’t care, but what this project did was make me care and I haven’t had that in years,” Burton-Williams said.
KSC junior and early childhood education and sociology major Sydney Little used her internship opportunity to help promote national and political change by working to kickstart KSC’s chapter of Democracy Matters, an organization that promotes campaign finance reform.
Little said that her experience working with Democracy Matters has given her leadership skills, and made her realize that she still has a lot to learn.
“It taught me so much about working with other people because you don’t take a class in working with other people on campus and it’s hard sometimes,” Little said, “So being able to take my knowledge and apply it, but take my knowledge and apply it and other ideas working at the same time taught me so much about what it’s going to be like when I leave college.”
Balnis and Behrmann both said they encourage students to use the multiple tools offered by the school to get experience outside of the classroom.
ACA is hosting career and internship fair which will include businesses looking for interns on April 1, in the Spaulding Gym as a part of Career Week. As of the end of last week, 88 businesses and organizations have registered for the fair.
Jacob Barrett can be contacted at email@example.com