Thursday, June 30, 2022

Ole Miss Outreach Helps Students Find Valuable Internships

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The old saying goes, “You can’t get a job without experience and you can’t get experience without getting a job.”

The University of Mississippi Division of Outreach is helping students get a leg up after graduation with the New York and Washington D.C. Internship Experience.

Photo courtesy Sara Elizabeth Baker
Photo courtesy Sara Elizabeth Baker

The New York and Washington D.C. Internship Experience offers Ole Miss juniors and seniors the opportunity to gain real-world experience in the Big Apple or our nation’s capital all while earning academic credit in their fields of study. Students work with staff from the Division of Outreach and other University staff to secure internships that will help them gain professional experience and increase their earning potential after graduation.

Laura Antonow, Director of College Programs for the Division of Outreach, oversees both programs and is directly involved with the New York program. She believes that both cities are important for all professions and both have tremendous opportunities for students.

“I also think they are cities that students might be a little intimidated by and so we really want to give those students who are exceptional, a little support in tackling those big metropolitan cites because the experience they will get there is like nothing else,” Antonow said.

Eleven students were selected into the program this year, with six going to New York and five going to Washington D.C.

“We start by selecting students that we really believe are going to be competitive in New York and D.C. with a good combination of work, academics, and then extracurricular and leadership experience,” Antonow said.

Internship Experience staff then sends the students’ information to Ole Miss alumni and past interns and employers to help students find internships in their desired field.

In previous years, students have had internships with C-SPAN, The White House, Museum of American History, CBS, The American Red Cross, and Bronx Lebanon Hospital.

And while the students are not placed in specific internships, they are constantly being helped to search for ones where they might fit best.

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Photo courtesy of Sara Elizabeth Baker

The program helps students every step of the way. From preparing a resume, finding specific internships, and gaining interview skills, to planning orientations in each city when the interns first arrive.

Sara Elizabeth Baker, a senior Public Policy and English double major, participated in the New York Internship Experience this past summer. Sara worked as the Digital Communications intern for NYC Service, a division of the New York Mayor’s Office.

“My internship, and the NYC Internship Experience, taught me something new in every step of the process,” Baker said. “From developing my applications to gaining interview skills, I learned a lot about what it takes to find a position that suits your interests and skills.”

Antonow believes that internships are so important, now more than ever. “I think there is a big learning curve just moving from the academic world into a professional workplace and so I think that students have a leg up on that. Employers look for students who have had work experience in their field even if it’s just three months in the summer. I think that it helps students solidify the things that they like about their profession and also helps them figure out the parts of the profession that they might not be best suited to. And so to learn that over a summer instead of five years into a career can be really valuable.”

“In working with NYC Service, my learning experience was invaluable,” Baker said. “As the Digital Communications Intern, I gained skills in not only my own area of communications, but also in project planning, analysis of research, and much more. I feel much more prepared for a future of job hunting and working in a professional environment.”

Antonow believes that this program is a great investment in a student’s future and that going with the program and with the University is an added bonus. “You are very much a small fish in a big pond and automatically having a little network from here is really beneficial”

“Plenty of students go on their own and that’s great and I’m sure they have really good experiences but I think going as a cohort there is an added level of experience that students gain by being able to bounce ideas off each other, being able to learn to ride the subway together, hear or see each other’s workplaces and about their job experiences.” Antonow adds, “A lot of what you learn at a job is not necessarily about the tasks you do at the job but a lot of it is interpersonal and how you work with different people and how you navigate the office environment and so having a group you are there with makes that experience better and sometimes easier. That’s one of the biggest benefits of going through a program like this.”

More information can be found on the Division of Outreach’s website or by calling (662) 915-7283.

Waverly McCarthy is a HottyToddy.com staff reporter and can be reached at wcmccart@go.olemiss.edu.

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