URI Career Services plans to emphasize internships
KINGSTON, R. I.-- October 7, 1998 -- If students want to learn about
internship possibilities at the University of Rhode Island, they have a
bewildering choice of departments, individuals, programs to investigate
and doors to knock on. Employers seeking to post internship positions also
need to contact a variety of departments and individuals. Finding an internship
or intern can be very confusing.
All that is about to change, according to career advisor Peggy Ferguson
of North Kingstown who now bears the title and the enthusiasm of
the first Internship and Field Work Specialist at Career Services. Ferguson,
who currently serves as President of the New England Association of Cooperative
Education & Field Experience, wants to make Career Services a clearinghouse
for internships and field work opportunities.
"It just makes sense," says Ferguson. Career Services already
works with the numerous companies that come to campus to recruit students.
(For example, just during this semester, 82 companies from Amica Mutual
Insurance Co. to Texas Instruments Inc. will be on campus interviewing December,
May, and June graduates. Another 60 companies will be recruiting for all
positions, including internships, at the Science & Technology Job Fair
'98 on October 21. )
"With the upswing in the economy, many companies are looking to
supplement their needs with internships," says Ferguson.
Currently, internships are often posted in many departments and offices
on bulletin boards around campus. Opportunities may be narrowed to a few
students. For example, a psychology student might have computer skills needed
in a business internship posted on a bulletin board they never see. Ferguson
would like to see the opportunities posted at Career Services and, in turn,
opportunities coming into Career Services would be distributed to all appropriate
Ferguson plans to introduce herself to faculty members with personal
visits this semester. She would like to see internship opportunities broadened
for all students by creating a clearinghouse of opportunities and coordinating
efforts around the University. The initial goal would be to coordinate communication
with a future goal of posting internships specifically targeted for URI
students on an internal website.
Paid internships for URI students would be a natural segue with recruiting
businesses. "We find most students must work to remain in school and
find it hard to have for-credit-only internships.
Ferguson stresses the importance of internships and wants to make broader
opportunities available to more students. "Research shows that 45 percent
of hires come out of internships," she says. A recent survey of student
concerns conducted by Bill Disch, a Ph.D. student in psychology, found that
careers, particularly internships, and finances were top concerns of URI
students ."Employers like students with experience. They're not green.
They already know how to dress, talk, and act professionally. If I had my
way, I would make internships mandatory at all colleges," says Ferguson.
"If students don't prepare for a career, they are not going to be
marketable," says Ferguson. "I hate to see a senior sitting in
one of our chairs just beginning to realize that he or she doesn't like
his or her chosen field. It's not too early for sophomores to consider an
internship. The more exposure to different careers, the better students
can clarify what is a comfortable fit for them."
Many internships coming into Career Services are posted on the telephone
JOBSLINE or 788-1035. Students can get a pass code by calling Career Services
at 874-2311. In addition, an entire portion of the Career Library at 223
Roosevelt is devoted to internship listings.
"Numerous individuals and departments around campus are extremely
helpful to students seeking internships. We want to support all ongoing
efforts by providing a clearinghouse and coordinating efforts to post these
opportunities targeted specifically to URI students as widely as possible,"
says Dr. Bobbi Koppel, director of Career Services. "In this way,
we will better serve all of our key constituencies: faculty, students,
For More Information: Jan Sawyer, 874-2116