Students find extraordinary means for gaining work experience

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    By DAVE HANSEN

    Stuffing envelopes, answering phones and performing menial tasks are what students typically think of when searching for summer internships.

    But some BYU students have broken the mold by finding more meaningful ways to gain work experience prior to graduation.

    Joe Ghiz, a senior in broadcast journalism, landed himself an internship on ?The Late Show? by thinking outside of the box.

    ?I had heard rumors that there were a lot of Mormons at ?The Late Show,? so I looked them up on the Internet and called them,? Ghiz said.

    ?Out of the 700 to 1,000 applicants, I was eventually selected to work as an intern,? he said. ?BYU has a good reputation there, which is one of the biggest things that got me into the internship.?

    Although Ghiz works hard throughout the day at his job, he has also received a lot of perks from being on the set during the show.

    ?I have hung out with Denzel Washington, Michael J. Fox, Kiefer Sutherland, Elton John, Drew Barrymore, Jimmy Fallon, Will Smith and other notable celebrities,? Ghiz said.

    Though Ghiz went through a star-struck phase when he first began interacting with celebrities, he said he has overcome that now.

    Ghiz reported that the pinnacle of his internship was talking to Denzel Washington backstage before the filming of his interview with David Letterman.

    ?He is just above and beyond the rest,? Ghiz said. ?He was really nice and got to know me, and he was really genuine. I just thought to myself, ?This is Denzel Washington and I?m freakin? talking to him.??

    After the long hours and great experiences, Ghiz said he has gleaned a lot from his internship at ?The Late Show.?

    ?[My internship] has shown me, above all, what I don?t want to do,? Ghiz said. ?After being here, I don?t want to be a part of the entertainment industry anymore. Very few of the people have families, and if they do, they don?t ever see them. It would be very hard to balance religion, my family and work in the entertainment industry.?

    For his summer internship, Adrian Alvarez, a sophomore studying construction management, has started advertising as a branch manager of a national painting company.

    Alvarez, 24, said he first heard of the internship opportunity in one of his classes. After the College Works Painting representatives finished their presentation, he signed up to hear more.

    ?When I first went to the meeting, I was very skeptical,? Alvarez said. ?When I saw that one of the guys that was doing the meeting worked at the MTC, I realized that they were not going to rip me off.?

    Now Alvarez prepares for his branch manager responsibilities by contacting businesses and local residents to arrange for painting appraisals.

    ?As a branch manager, I am responsible for my own business,? Alvarez said. ?I am expected to launch a marketing program, oversee all aspects of the business and provide quality service for our customers.?

    Not only does his internship with College Works Painting provide him with great experience, but it also pays well, Alvarez said.

    Although internships help to develop professional skills that better prepare students for the workforce, many do not take advantage of the opportunities available to them, said Connie Cluff, Communications Department internship office director.

    ?I think students self-select,? Cluff said. ?Many times, they?re not sure what to expect or what might be expected of them.?

    Students also worry about the pay and having to relocate, she said.

    But Cluff said students who have made the sacrifice say they would recommend it to anyone.

    ?Those students who have come back from [internships in] New York say to anyone contemplating going, ?Do it?It?s worth it even if you have to go into debt to do it,?? Cluff said.

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