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 departments. 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, employers.” -xxx- For More Information: Jan Sawyer, 874-2116