For Weber State University students who are struggling to find internships, The Olene S. Walker Institute of Politics and Public Service is the place to go.
The Walker Institute was created three years ago by Utah Governor Olene Walker to serve as the center of discussion for politics and “engage faculty, community members, and most importantly students, to talk about the future of Utah.”
This semester, the Walker Institute is pushing for students to be actively involved not only in politics, but in their own futures. They are focusing on recruiting interns to serve in Washington D.C., the Salt Lake City Capitol and local government offices.
Internships through the Walker Institute allow students to establish professional contacts, acquire skills and develop a professional resume.
“75 percent of university students graduate with one or more internship experiences,” said Student Success Center Senior Adviser Bryan Hamblin. “91 e percent of employers expect graduates to have one or more internship experiences.”
When asked about their plans for internships, several students said they weren’t sure what they were going to do.
“I’ll probably need an internship, I think,” Sydney Smith, WSU junior said. “I just haven’t thought a lot about when I’ll do it or what internship job I’ll do. Not yet.”
Students delay internships for many reasons, but Carol McNamara, director of the Walker Institute, said it’s important not to procrastinate.
“You can’t afford not to do an internship,” McNamara said. “If students want to be marketable and fully prepared for the job market, they can’t afford to miss out on internship opportunities. The Walker Institute works with students to find an internship that works with their class schedule. I cannot stress enough how important internships are.”
Internships tend to generate more job opportunities for students. Jessica Hastings is a WSU student who served an internship through the Walker Institute during the Utah Legislative session. The representative she served under later hired her. McNamara says that many students who did internships through the Walker Institute had similar experiences.
Alexis Marquez was a communications student when she served an internship at the Lieutenant Governor’s office.
“I got there, they had me redesign packets, work on their Twitter,” Marquez said. “It’s so much fun, and you never know who you are going to meet. It’s an amazing opportunity.”
Internships have been found for students in health services, accounting, public finance and communications research, McNamara says.
“I’ve never had a student tell me, ‘Well, that was a waste of time.’” McNamara said. “Students who are afraid of internships don’t need to be. There is an internship for everyone.”
The deadline to apply for internships is Monday, Oct. 5, but students are encouraged to also think about opportunities for next semester.
Students interested in applying for internships this year should go to www.weber.edu/walkerinstitute.