Helping students get their foot in the door


    By Andrew Damstedt

    Everyday Michele Sweat works as an intern at the press and research center for the Scottish National Party and has numerous duties that keep her occupied.

    One day a member of Scottish parliament was meeting with the press to comment on a proposed bill. Sweat read the bill, compiled facts about it, wrote a briefing and met with him to explain what she thought was wrong with the bill.

    “Later on, his office wrote up a statement and it was sent to me for the final approval before it was released,” she said. “And this was all before lunch.”

    Internships are one way for BYU students to get their foot in the job market, and deadlines for many internship applications are fast approaching.

    There are a number of resources located on campus to help students find an internship suited for them.

    Different from other universities, BYU”s Office of Academic Internships is the central coordinator for the university”s internship programs. Each department on campus has their own internship counselor who can help students find the best internship suited for them.

    “College prepares you for a lot of things, but college can”t prepare you for everything,” said Angela Eckstein, communications coordinator for the internship office.

    Some of the potential benefits to an internship are increasing opportunities for advancement within a company and gaining real world exposure to your area of employment. Internships can also ease the transition from student to employee.

    There are other available resources provided to help students find internships besides the internship office

    Employers were at the Career Fair looking for qualified students to come and intern for their company.

    “It”s a really good way to get students exposed to the working world,” said Stacy Chrest, human relations manager for Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

    The qualities that companies look for in interns are the same as those they employ. Some internships can even turn in to full-time careers.

    “It”s a great opportunity for students to learn about the job or for us to learn about the students,” said Rob Fisher, vice president of customer relations for Pulte Homes. “We love to convert interns to full-time employees.”

    Another resource students can utilize to find internships is, which is a Web site designed to locate internships located in the state of Utah.

    Many students are leaving Utah to find internships and gain employment elsewhere or just unable to find local internships, said Matt Hargreaves, spokesperson.

    “The Web site is designed to help students gain quality experience from businesses around the state,” Hargreaves said.

    Sweat said her internship has put the education she received at BYU to the test.

    “I”ve come to find out that all those late nights cramming, all the fun in the testing center and all the money spent was really valuable for my future,” she said.

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