Simpson students hold competitive internships

by Allison UllmannStaff Writer

Simpson students are landing high-profile internships in wide-ranging departments across campus, from communications to athletic training.

Some areas students have worked include CBS and Fox News in New York, USA Today, the Green Bay Packers, congressional offices in Washington D.C. and other various internships located across the country.

“Simpson students are competitive nationally,” said Brian Steffen, professor of communications studies. “(We are) pushing our students out of town. We want them to go to Washington D.C. and gain experiences that they can’t get in Des Moines.”

According to Steffen, there are many different ways a student can land great internships. Many of the communications studies majors get internships through the New York Media Experience Program at Marist College, a liberal arts college in New York state. Others go through the Capitol Hill Internship Program, while some choose to go it alone and just freelance for internships.

“(There are) are a variety of internships always there,” said John Epperson, professor of political science. “Once students have an idea of where they would like to intern, they put together letters of recommendation along with their resume and send the information off.”

Junior Pete Butler, an athletic training major who interned for the Green Bay Packers football team during the summer, found out about his internship by actually going to Green Bay, Wis.

“My brother and my dad and I went to a game last Christmas in Green Bay, and we met the equipment manager who told me about it,” Butler said. “I just filled out a resume and cover letter. Out of those they received, they chose three people to do interviews over the phone.”

For Butler, interning with the Green Bay Packers was an ideal situation.

“They’re my favorite team, and the NFL is the top job I could get for my field,” Butler said.

Butler’s internship, which lasted from July 23 to Sept. 2., gave him more experience in athletic training.

“I did daily treatments like ultrasounds, electrical stimulation and rehab for the injured players,” Butler said. “I would go to practice and mostly do water and stuff like that. … I feel a lot more comfortable with daily duties and more comfortable with rehab and treatment techniques.”

Students who have interned in large cities such as New York City and Washington D.C. also feel the experience was worthwhile.

Senior Lucy Wilson, a history major, took advantage of the internship programs offered for students and landed an internship with The Smithsonian Institution’s American History Museum in Washington D.C. through the CHIP program. Wilson looked for her own internship and then filled out applications, got letters of recommendation, wrote an essay, sent in a transcript and then interviewed for her spot at the American History Museum.

Her duties were divided between time on the floor with exhibits and work on projects for the museum. She worked in the education department, helping to teach people about exhibits in the museum.

“The best part was being in the Smithsonian and going behind the scenes,” Wilson said. “I also liked being able to have the experience of working in a museum and figuring out if that was really for me.”

Senior Mallory Higgins, a journalism and mass communications major, interned at Fox News and Bravo TV for “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” both in New York City in the fall of 2005.

Higgins landed her internships through the Marist College program.

“The best part was the hands-on-experience,” Higgins said. “At Fox News, as an intern, I was essentially a producer’s assistant. During the broadcast, I would do a variety of duties such as work in the green room and control room. The rest of my time I would help producers with their segments, which consisted of doing background research, conducting pre-interviews, putting together anchor packets and choosing a time slot for the segment.”

Higgins said the internship helped expand her journalistic knowledge.

“I got a good feel for both aspects of television, news and entertainment,” Higgins said.

She also interned with Bravo TV and the show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” doing a lot of “running.” She worked in the wardrobe section, conducted her own casting calls and worked on-set as an extra pair of hands.

“The best advice I would give an underclassmen would be to go after the big internships,” Higgins said. “It is amazing how much experience you can gain from taking a high profile internship. You have to take a chance and not allow yourself to be afraid or intimidated.”

One of the biggest advantages of internships for students is professional experience.

“You can’t possibly replicate that in the classroom,” Steffen said. “(It also teaches them) how to network and get along with people who are different than they are.”

Internships give students the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally.

“It’s culture shock to go to the East and West coasts,” Steffen said. “Most (Simpson) students are Midwesterners. It teaches them that there’s a whole other world out there.”