Student interns gain skills, full-time employment


(Photo: Tanner Krueger/The Simpsonian)

by Kayla Reusche, Staff Reporter

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Approximately 82 percent of students from the class of 2017 had at least one internship during their time at Simpson, said Bobbi Sullivan, director of career development and civic engagement.

Internships allow students to solidify or change their career paths, develop professional skills and references and gain field experience.

Tristan Carman, a senior majoring in political science, interns at Crisis Intervention Services in Oskaloosa twice a week. The organization helps victims of sexual violence, harassment and assault, which is something Carman is passionate about.

Carman is president of the Sexual Assault Response Advocates, and his internship builds off the work he has been doing for the past three years in the program. He talked to the executive director of Crisis Intervention Services, who attends Simpson’s SARA meetings, and asked for an internship.

“There’s no harm in trying, and it gives you the chance to see if what you think you want to do is what you really want to do,” Carman said.

He has completed two internships during his time at Simpson, both of which have helped solidify his career path. Prior to his internships, Carman had a big picture of what he wanted to pursue, but his internships narrowed it down.

For other students, their internships have led to part- or full-time job offers.

Junior Olivia Pellegrino, a criminal justice and sociology major, had an internship turn into a part-time job.

Pellegrino was a loss prevention analyst intern at Hy-Vee and received a part-time job offer after about three months. She imagined herself working at Hy-Vee for a long time, but after her internship, she realized it’s not something she wants to stick with.

While it’s been a great experience, she said she realized that her heart lies elsewhere.

This semester, Pellegrino is interning at the Newton Correctional Facility. After visiting the facility multiple times for class, she knew she wanted to work at a men’s prison. Pellegrino contacted the facility and asked for an internship.

She started by shadowing correctional officers and assisting them by taking count and other minor tasks. For much of her day, Pellegrino is surrounded by inmates and is learning how to professionally communicate with them.

Aside from directing her career path, Pellegrino said her internships have taught her how to dress professionally and communicate with a variety of people.

Sullivan suggested that students complete an internship the summer after their sophomore year, but senior Josh Hof had a different plan.

Hof, an actuarial science, economics and finance major, completed an internship the summer after his freshman year. He knew internships in the actuarial science field had a good chance of turning full time, so he wanted to secure one as soon as possible.

By the end of his third week on campus, Hof was interviewing for positions.

Three out of the four companies he interviewed with said they didn’t hire freshmen, but Athene USA took a gamble on him.

Hof stuck with the company throughout his college career and accepted a full-time position after he graduates in May. He said he’s an integral part of the company on the actuarial science modeling team.

Hof said being personable helps an internship turn into a full-time position. “If you don’t click with your team, and you don’t get along well with your coworkers, they’re not going to extend an offer to you,” he said.

A full-time offer also depends on the industry, Sullivan said. Fields like accounting and actuarial science are more likely to result in full-time offers because they hire on a consistent basis.

“Summer internships are like a three-month long interview process for companies and also for the candidates,” Hoff said. “It’s the company’s way to cheaply train and hire new full-time employees with the skills they want.”

Sullivan echoed Hof. Internships should be thought of as an extended interview, she said. Someone is always watching to see if their interns have the potential to be a full-time employee.

While companies are observing their employees to see if they have what it takes, internships also give students the chance to see if it’s a career they are interested in pursuing.

“An internship is a great way to explore whether or not you really can see yourself in that position or not, and so without that internship, you’re just kind of going in blind,” Hof said.

“The more a student is committing to their experience, the better,” Sullivan said.

Students are encouraged to stop by the Career Development and Civic Engagement office for job search help and resume building.