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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI student interns get on-the-job training (and sometimes jobs)

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KINGSTON, R.I. -- March 10, 2004 -- Louis Sivillo is ecstatic. The University of Rhode Island senior has just been offered a full time job at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Portsmouth after he graduates this May.

"The company is fabulous," the URI student said with some authority. After all, he has been interning 30 hours a week at Raytheon this semester.

Sivillo is just one of approximately 150 students participating in internships this spring through URI's Office of Internships and Experiential Education.

The Office offers part-time or full-time internships in the spring, summer, or fall semesters, according to its coordinator Kimberly Washor. All interns earn academic credit and some also get paid for their efforts. Students can choose one of more than 500 placement sites in Rhode Island or can find other internship sites anywhere in United States, which is particularly helpful to out-of-state students who go home for the summer. Students can also design their own internships to fit their individual needs.

Sivillio had completed a six-month internship with Raytheon for his computer science requirement when he stopped by the internship office. He jumped at the opportunity to do another different internship at the company.

Originally working as an information technologist, he was able to switch to the software area. "Internships are free eyes," he says. "They give you a chance to look around and figure out what you like and what you want to do."

"Louis has a great attitude," says his boss Rob Froncillo, manager of combat management systems software development. "And a good foundation for a career in software engineering."

Another URI student, Kyle Wilson, a junior communicative disorders major, spends 16 hours every week at Rhode Island and Hasbro Children’s hospitals, interning in their Audiology and Speech Pathology departments.
Last fall, Wilson met with Erica Cassidy in the Office of Internships and Experiential Education, who helped him find three potential placements. The North Kingstown native researched each site.

"I chose the Rhode Island Hospital program because it was where I could see the most patients and gain the most experience," says Wilson who observes speech evaluations and hearing aid fittings at the outpatient clinic. He travels with speech pathologists and observes modified barium swallow studies, videostrobe exams, and bedside swallowing evaluations. He also visits the Ear Nose and Throat Clinic with an audiologist to work with patients with hearing problems.

One speech pathologist, Paul Austin, has become a mentor of sorts. "He tells me everything I need to know about the field," said Wilson. "I really lucked out." (Austin (r) is shown with Wilson (l) and a 2001 URI alumna and speech pathologist Heather Taylor in the photograph at left.)

Although Wilson does not know if he wants to practice speech pathology when he graduates, he feels the internship will give him a big advantage in his classes next year and when he considers graduate schools.

Alex Morel of Providence, communication studies major, found his own internship after searching for one that matched his needs, he picked Rhode Island Legal Services because he’s considering law school.

"I get to do everything from interviewing clients, translating in Superior and District Court, assisting attorneys in their daily tasks, to doing office work," he says. "I love working at my internship. I get the opportunity to see how a law firm works and at the same time earn 12 credits for the experience.

"I don't want to practice the same law that is practiced at my intern site, which is mostly housing and family law. I actually want to be a sports agent and study sports law. But that doesn’t diminish my experience. I am grateful for it because it serves as a stepping stone. I had my doubts about attending law school, but this experience helped affirm my desire."

The URI Office of Internships and Experiential Education is located at 139 Roosevelt Hall. For more information, call 401- 874-2160, or visit its website at