Sarah Gyle//The Crown The Office of Career Planning can help students at all stages of the internship process.
Sarah Gyle//The Crown
The Office of Career Planning can help students at all stages of the internship process.

Why are you attending college?  Most students would reply that they want to secure a good job in the future.  However, students don’t have to wait until they graduate to experience the working world. The King’s College Internship Program, run by the Office of Career Planning, allows students to sample careers and prepare for future employment.

An internship is a temporary work position that relates to the student’s field of study or career goal.  For 12-15 weeks, interns work alongside professionals and explore potential career paths.

“You get to experience what the field is like, but you also get to experience the work,” Kelly Lettieri, Assistant Director for Internships, noted.  “Is it something you enjoy doing?  Is it something you could see yourself doing?

Internships also allow students to sharpen their abilities, gain new skills, and network with professionals.

Kelci Wolfe, a senior psychology major, is currently interning at First Hospital, where she administers and scores psychological tests for professional evaluation.  In an email interview, she wrote, “It’s very rewarding to see the things you learn in a classroom translate into real life. I have become much more confident in my abilities.”  She added, “I have also solidified my decision to work in the mental health field and medical setting by interning at First Hospital.”

Job experiences are highly beneficial to students because they add to the student’s resume and prepare them for future careers.

“Any experience that you can get at any stage is important.  Employers look, at least for two to three related experiences.  And that could be in the capacity of internship, shadowing, a part-time job in the field,” Lettieri pointed out.

Each year, the Office of Career Planning assists about 150-200 students obtain internships.  Students from any major can enter the Internship Program, whether an internship is required for their major or they are personally motivated to complete one.

So how does the internship process work? Before beginning the process, students must complete 60 credits and maintain a minimum of a 2.25 GPA (although some majors require a higher average).  Planning is vital, so students should contact the Office of Career Planning a semester before they want to begin interning.  Many students intern the summer before their junior year, so the spring semester of sophomore year is an ideal time to start preparing.  However, students who want to intern outside of the area should begin planning two semesters in advance.

After reaching out to Career Planning, students complete an Intern Application Form, in which they obtain signatures from their academic advisor and department chair.  When they return the form to Career Planning, and the Office of Student Affairs signs off as well.  If a student already has an internship secured, he or she must complete an Intern Request Form.

Next, students create their resume and begin searching for opportunities.  Career Planning maintains relationships with many organizations and companies, and can connect students to local, regional, and national internship opportunities.  Career Planning also hosts events such as On Campus Recruitment Programs and Resume Referrals.  Internet resources, such as College Central Network, are also great places to search for internships opportunities.

There are a variety of internship sites, including social service organizations, government agencies, TV and radio stations, health care facilities, and financial institutions. Internships can be paid or unpaid, depending on the employer.

The Internship Program can open unique experiences for students. King’s students have landed internships with well-known local employers such as the Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce and The Citizen’s Voice as well as with notable national companies such as CBS, ABC, MTV, the United States Marshals, Make-a-Wish Foundations and Vanguard.

Wolfe commented, “I chose First Hospital because it’s a one of a kind experience as an undergraduate to intern at a psychiatric hospital. Opportunities like this at this level are few and far between. I’m very grateful.”

Alexa Friedhoff is a junior criminal justice major with a minor in management. She is currently interning with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington D.C. as a District Detective Aide. Her responsibilities include reviewing and prioritizing crime reports, performing data entry, preparing case files, contacting crime victims, working with crime analysts, participating in community meetings and briefings and supporting the detectives in their investigation of active cases. “What I like most about my internship is that my position supports the vital mission of the agency,” she wrote in an email interview. “In other words I am not just filing papers and am constantly contributing to something bigger than myself.”

When students find an opportunity, they apply for the internship.  Interested employers will contact them and request an interview. Professional communication is the key to make a positive impression, so students should practice their interviewing skills. Luckily, Career Planning offers Interview Skills Workshops that can help students prepare. If the student decides not to accept the interview, he or she must inform the employer of the decision.

After an interview, always send a thank you note to the employer. This demonstrates a professional attitude and maintains a positive relationship between King’s College and the employer.

When a student obtains an internship offer that they wish to accept, he or she must inform Career Planning and complete registration forms. Career Planning seeks final approval from the faculty coordinator, and the student can begin the internship.

An internship opens a four way partnership between the intern, the faculty coordinator, the site supervisor, and the Office of Career Planning.  The faculty coordinator is a professor who guides the student academically through the experience and ensures that the student is learning valuable skills.  The faculty coordinator also decides the grade for the internship if the student is interning for academic credit.  The site supervisor is a professional at the internship site who acts like a mentor for the student and monitors his or her progress.  The Office of Career Planning assists students throughout the process, acting as an advocate for students.

To students seeking an internship, Friedhoff recommended, “Don’t overlook the non-academic resources on campus.”  Campus Safety and Security’s senior staff helped her during her internship process.  She recalled, “They told me if I needed anything in DC while interning here they had contacts in MPD. Previous to this internship when I did one with local PD a member made a phone call and I was given a warm welcome and allowed to experience assignments more than the average intern would get to experience.”

First-year students occasionally come to Career Planning, looking to get an early start.  Volunteer opportunities are available for underclassmen.

Overall, internships give students the opportunities to learn in the field and experience the working world.

“It’s about taking it all in and being a sponge and trying to make the most of the situation,” Lettieri advised.  “Gain and learn everything you can.”

For more information about internships, contact the Office of Career Planning by calling (570)-208-5874 or send an email to internships@kings.edu. The office is located on the lower level of the Administration Building, below the theater.  They are open Monday through Friday from 8:30-4:30.  Evening meetings are by appointment only.