By Maggie Dunning
Staff reporter

Internships allow college students to figure out if they want to go into a career field or not. They give valuable work experience, provide references and can even help build up connections.

James McEwen, internship coordinator for business, said, “It gives a future employer a good reference and it sends a message to any future employer that you’ve gone out and tried the workplace.”

Internships can also help build a social network of people that may be able to help you to find job inquires.

“When you are in an internship that is an excellent place to build your network,” said McEwen.

Do not mistake internships as being the same as regular jobs though.

“They differ from jobs I would say, you go into it with the attitude that ‘I’m just trying to get some extra money’, it’s a way of getting a paycheck. An internship you want to look at it as ‘I want to use this to make a career choice’,” said McEwen.

Lindsay Graber, philosophy and religion freshman, said, “I will be interning with First United Methodist Church in Winfield, Kansas.”

She said, “I had friends who were in Worship Outreach who are upperclassman that knew about this and they hooked me up with Bill Podchun, who is the youth director there.”

“I will be working mainly with the youth group over the summer,” said Graber. “Working with children and youth and getting to know their minds a little better and building those relationships is going to make me a more effective intern or youth pastor in the future.”

Graber had this advice.

“Don’t try to take an internship with something you don’t really want to do. I feel like that would be miserable. You wouldn’t have any fun,” said Graber.

Gina Belt, athletic training freshman, was able to get an internship that she feels will help get her in the door to her career dream job.

Belt’s internship is with a Kansas baseball team.

“My internship is with the Wellington Wilds. They travel all over Kansas and play other teams,” said Belt.

“As a freshman there are not really many opportunities for internships that you can get, but I feel that this will at least get me in the door a little bit,” said Belt.

Belt said, “It’s not going to be paying that much, but they are going to come up with housing for me to live in Wellington and they’re going to pay for a hotel and stuff for traveling.”

Like many students, Belt learned about her internship from an upperclassman.

She was speaking to one of her professors when they got on the topic of internships. Belt told her what she wanted to do after she graduated. An upperclassman from leadership overheard her conversation and told Belt about the internship opportunity.

Internships don’t have to be confined to the U.S.

Rachel Wong, psychology and mathematics sophomore, will be working with the National Neuroscience Institute in Singapore.

“I am really interested in neuroscience and I wanted to get an internship related to the field,” said Wong.

Wong got her internship through a family connection. “My uncle is a radiologist and he works in a hospital, so I just asked him if he knew anyone. He got the contact for me and from there I contacted the guy and that’s how I got the internship,” said Wong.

Her internship will focus on Parkinson’s disease.

“I’ll be working in the research lab under a professor, finding out how Parkinson’s disease happens and what it is. We try to look at the similarities between bats and humans, basically,” said Wong. “I am hoping that this internship will really show me if I am truly interested in neuroscience or if maybe that’s not the path for me.”

Wong also had a piece of advice to give to students hoping to get internships.

“I guess it’s easier to apply if you know someone on the field.  Speak to people you know who might have contacts because, that will give you a higher percentage of getting an internship,” said Wong.

Maggie Dunning is a communication freshman. You may e-mail her for more information at margaret.dunning@sckans.edu.