Every week during the fall semester, the Career Services Center on campus hosts a variety of events that can help students prepare for their career paths.
On Sept. 28, Career Cafe hosted the Walker Institute Internship Panel, featuring Ailey Irvine, Alexis Marquez and AJ Franks, discussing the value of internships for college students.
“Internships allow you to apply the skills that you are learning in a classroom to real-life situations,” Franks said. “You take things like communication, sales, marketing and people skills and develop those into a career.”
Franks has served four total internships and plans to graduate from Weber State with a sales degree in December.
An internship gives students opportunities to work for an organization for a limited period of time, allowing them to gain skills in a work field they’re interested in joining.
Some programs at WSU require an internship in order to graduate.
Marquez graduated in spring of 2016 after serving three internships with the Walker Institute — including working for the state’s lieutenant governor, an internship in Washington D.C. and as an international nongovernment organization.
“Being in the communications field, you learn to talk a lot with the people you are working for,” Marquez said. “Being an organized person definitely helped me in my internships — being able to prioritize work loads placed in front of you is huge.”
Irvine, a Weber State senior studying criminal justice, has served four internships with the Walker Institute, including one with Mia Love, Syracuse City and North Ogden City.
“The most valuable experience I had with my internships was learning how to be confident in yourself,” Irvine said. “It is frightening to be thrown out into the real working world … an internship gives you that experience and confidence to know what you are doing when that time comes.”
Internships can be paid or unpaid, depending on the organization that you seek to work with.
Dr. Carol McNamara, director of the Walker Institute, has been seeking ways to make internships more affordable for students, including subsidized funding for out-of-state housing.
The Walker Institute has also been given an endowment donation from America First Credit Union that can make these experiences affordable for college students.
While some students may be nervous to serve an internship where they think their duties will include bringing people coffee or making copies for staff meetings, McNamara ensures students that they will be participating in quality work.
“The Walker Institute tries really hard to know where they are going to send their interns,” McNamara said.
Internship preferences usually fall to seniors and juniors first, but all sophomores and freshman are encouraged to apply as well.
For those who are interested in stepping out of the classroom and gaining real life experience, more information on internships is available on the Walker Institute’s webpage.
On Oct. 5, Career Cafe will host Dress & Etiquette, where students can come and learn how to present themselves when interviewing.
On Oct. 12, Dr. DeeDee Mower and Shari Leder of the Education Department will host, “Selling Ourselves in 30 Seconds,” featuring a national storyteller.