Internship suspensions pose challenges at Simpson


File photo by Danielle Blake

by Morgan Flynn, Staff reporter

COVID-19 has presented many challenges to all students at Simpson, including suspended internship opportunities.

Simpson’s hands-on approach to learning allows students to complete an internship before graduation, so this unprecedented situation creates many concerns for students. 

Students with internships were halfway through the semester before things began to close due to COVID-19 concerns. With a typical 120-hour internship, students would’ve completed around 60 hours with 60 more hours to go before the end of the semester. 

“We have to support our students in figuring out how they could work remotely or do additional products for their employers,” Assistant Director of Career Development Laurie Dufoe said. “And if that’s not possible, faculty could support them with additional academic work so that they can complete their internship requirements.” 

Riley Lonsdale, a senior exercise science major, was a Wellness Intern at The Village, a senior living community, for two months before she was no longer able to go due to COVID-19. She had various responsibilities, but her favorites included teaching exercise class to the residents and doing relay races with them.

“Being unable to enter The Village has brought me short in my internship hours, and I am completing other alternative assignments for hours,” Lonsdale said. “For example, I am creating workout and mental health videos, and healthy cooking videos to post on The Village’s Facebook page so their residents can view the materials.” 

As for summer internships, things are still unknown.

“I think all of our employers, much like many of us, are just waiting to see if things will be back to normal for the summer and if they could go on with business as usual,” Dufoe said.

Scott Oderio, a junior sports administration major, had plans to intern in Des Moines this summer. 

“I was scheduled to intern with the Iowa Cubs for Stadium Operations starting in April, but that has been postponed indefinitely,” Oderio said. “I hadn’t even filled out any paperwork for the I-Cubs yet.” 

The season was going to begin April 14, but this no longer seems in reach.

“This just lengthens my journey, rather than changing it. The I-Cubs season will probably be very abbreviated, at which point I’ll reevaluate everything and go from there,” Oderio said. “If they don’t start until August for whatever reason, I will probably forgo the opportunity and just prepare for football.”

For students in similar situations, Career Development recommended in an email that students maintain communication with internship site supervisors, faculty advisors and the Career Development team. They also want students to complete on-site internship hours only if the employer and student deem it safe and follow guidelines outlined by local and national health experts.

All students are encouraged to contact the Office of Career Development to discuss majors, careers, internships, graduate school, interviews, application materials and strengthening LinkedIn profiles. Appointments can be set up through Handshake and be completed via email, zoom or phone.

“I encourage students to watch that [Handshake] carefully if they’re looking for summer internships because we certainly all have employers who still need candidates,” Dufoe said.

If you are looking for a job or internship beyond what is on Handshake, check out this list of places currently hiring: