At Illinois State, Redbirds are continuously encouraged to fly high. With paid internship opportunities readily available across campus, students can excel and reach new heights before and after graduation. And discovering internships opportunities on campus is much easier than students may think.
Students can discover an array of on-campus internship opportunities by logging into Hire-A-Redbird and the ISU Jobs site, attending internship fairs, contacting career ambassadors at the Career Center, or reaching out to their department’s internship coordinator.
Academic units provide internship coordinators ready to help students start their careers. Internship coordinators enable students to better understand their skill sets and determine what types of internships would be relevant to their careers. Internships also offer students the opportunity to earn course credit.
Tom Lamonica, School of Communication internship coordinator, meets with hundreds of students a year to assist them in gaining internship experience.
“I meet with students one-on-one to talk about what they want to do, what their experiences are, what they would like to do in the future, and what they can do now to help them with the internship process,” Lamonica said.
Some students may be afraid to begin applying for internships because they lack experience. However, prior experience does not have to be directly related to internships students are applying for, according to Lamonica. Prior experience can consist of class projects or assignments, skills students gained from previous jobs, and work completed through registered student organizations (RSOs).
Juniors Angela Adamo, an organizational leadership communications major, and Sarah Lisewski, a public relations major, are gaining hands-on experience as on-campus social media interns in the Office of Admissions.
“Having an on-campus internship is really beneficial. You can build a portfolio and start applying skills before you’re in the real world,” Adamo said. “I feel more respected as a student, and I feel more a part of the ISU community.”
Within the first month of being social media interns, Adamo and Lisewski are transferring skills learned in the classroom to their internship work.
“The work that I do in class and the work that I do as a social media intern tie closely together,” Adamo said.
Lisewski has acquired skills that may not have been taught in the classroom. “While working with social media directly, I’ve learned it’s something that you just do. It helps you gain confidence and I don’t second guess what I’m doing when I am creating posts.”
Susan Whitsitt, the Career Center’s assistant director for marketing and communications, encourages students to intern as early as possible during their time at Illinois State to advance skills.
“If a student wants a future career working for a big company like Google or Amazon, they can use the skill set they have developed through internship opportunities to work their way up to achieving that goal,” Whitsitt said.
Career Center internship manager Debbie Ungson-Walbert recommends that students turn their part-time jobs and on-campus jobs into internships.
“I don’t think anyone in the University would decline that opportunity. As long as they work with their supervisor or manager, students can turn some aspect of their job into an internship related to their field of study,” Ungson-Walbert said.
Ungson-Walbert advises students to think of internship experience as an investment in their future.
“This way, they won’t feel like a fish out of water when they’re out of college. They’ll have something to put on their resumes,” she said.