By Jordan Muhlestein
BYU students looking for internship opportunities now have thousands of new reasons, or dollars, to believe their educational and occupational goals will be met.
Internship programs in 13 colleges and schools on campus received more than $100,000 from the Office of Academic Internships” enhancement grant program.
“Giving the money to the departments allows them to have a more robust internship program,” said Adrienne Chamberlain, administrative coordinator of the Office of Academic Internships.
The money was raised through a program that takes a portion of the tuition of interning students who have registered through the Continuing Education Department. Students can also register normally for internships, but none of that money is recycled into the university”s intern programs.
“The beauty of students registering through continuing education is that it puts a flag by that student”s name telling administration the student isn”t going to class in Provo,” Chamberlain said. “[It] allows more students to attend BYU.”
Departments requested as much money as they needed, up to $10,000 per program, she said.
Roberta Magarrell, faculty academic internship coordinator for the BYU School of Family Life, said she will use the enhancement grant money to refine internship assignments and relationships with intern-sponsoring agencies.
“We want to make it much more amenable to the students.” Magarrell said. “It is allowing us greater depth in our assignments and wider applicability to their special focus.”
She said internships are important because they show employers qualities such as dependability and having informed initiative, traits that grades cannot show.
“It”s wonderful to see the impact on the students,” Magarrell said. “Not just to help them get jobs but to actually see the learning that”s going on.”
Chamberlain said internships are also important because they help students know what they are getting into before they apply for a job or further schooling.
“They are great opportunities to identify things that you enjoy and things you would like to avoid when pursuing a career,” said Brendon Merkley, a BYU student who has done two internships, one with the U.S. State Department at the embassy to the Vatican in Rome and another with the Office of Global Communications at the White House.
Merkley said it was interesting to experience different opportunities that gave him an idea about what he wanted to pursue.
“It was exciting to apply things I learned in school,” he said. “The highly-touted practical experience of internships is real.”
That practical experience raises students” chances of getting into a graduate program or getting a job, Magarrell said.
“Often if my students are [interns] at an agency and there is an opening, they will get hired,” she said.