Internships prove valuable experience

Internships prove valuable experience

by Lindsay Taylor

From London to the White House, students at Simpson dream big when it comes to internships.

“Applying for an internship is a lot like a job,” said Lois Schultz, director of Counseling and Career Services. “You find one available and submit a cover letter and resume. It’s nothing that is black and white.”

Internships are not just for the summer; several students interned during the fall semester.

They are also not limited to interning in the United States. Senior Christy Smith interned in London.

“I lived one block from Buckingham Palace and two blocks from Parliament,” Smith said.

Students are encouraged to do internships for many reasons.

“Employers like to see the experience,” Schultz said. “Some graduate programs even require that a student has worked or volunteered so many hours, just so that the student has some experience.”

Smith worked at two different magazines for her internship.

“I realized that I am not a magazine writer,” Smith said. “It’s just too conversational. I am a newspaper writer.”

Information about internships can come from several places.

“I learned about the internship in London from Brian Steffen [associate professor of communication studies],” Smith said. “It’s a permanent program at Central University. I lived in London, attended classes and worked three days a week.”

Junior Garrett Piklapp spent last semester working in the Office of Public Liaison at the White House.

“I set up meetings with five specific groups of people to inform them of the President’s agenda,” Piklapp said. ‘It was very informal.”

Students generally use internships to ensure that they are following the right path in their education.

“I always wanted to go into politics,” said Piklapp. “This just convinced me more that I definitely want to go into politics.”

Piklapp learned of his internship through Alpha Tau Omega.

“The Richard A. Ports Public Affairs Award is available to one incoming junior ATO a year,” he said. “I interned with an ATO in the White House.”

The job board outside the Student Development Office has postings listed for jobs and internships.

“Students can contact an employer one on one and ask about interning for them,” Schultz said, “or they can check our Web site or the companies Web site for open positions for interns.”

Students learn many valuable life lessons while away from home.

“You come out of your shell,” Smith said. “You mature a lot. You learn to respect others and accept their help. You learn that you have to rely on others.”

While the two students liked traveling to other states and countries, they are happy to be home.

“I got terribly homesick,” said Smith. “You learn what family means to you.”

It did not taken much for these students to get used to being in Iowa again.

“It’s wonderful being back,” Piklapp said. “I like wearing jeans again, instead of always being in a suit and tie.”

“It’s not the city here, there are no major companies, it’s slower here, but not in a bad way,” said Smith. “All I saw was men in suits and women in heels. You could feel the stress.”

While students are away on internships, it is important to find a way to keep up with school.

“I am very appreciative of how Simpson worked with me,” Piklapp said. “They helped me so that I would not fall a semester behind. While interning, I was a full time student. I had 12 hours of independent study and the internship.”