Internships provide students experience, connections

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Internships provide students experience, connections

Richard Wang, junior biology major, interned with MedEx Academy. Photo: Submitted

Internships give students the opportunity to gain experience and make connections before entering their careers.

According to Jane Smith, director of employer relations at Career Services, 50 percent of students nationwide are offered a job after completing an internship.

Several BJU students have been involved in internships over the summer and during the semester, some for academic credit and others as non-academic experience.

Ian Dyke, a senior English education major, applied for an internship this past summer at Warren/Frederick County Report, a local news media outlet in his home state of Virginia.

Instead, the media outlet gave him a job that allowed him to report on various events, concerts and festivals.

Richard Wang, a junior biology major, worked two internships this past summer.

First, Wang interned at the Greenville Genetics Center in a research-oriented learning environment.

Then, he interned in the MedEx Academy program at the Greenville Health System, which allowed him to shadow physicians and discuss medical ethics.

Casey Paziora, a senior criminal justice major, interned with U.S. Marshalls in Greenville this past summer.

Paziora was one of two selected from a pool of hundreds of applicants.

All three students enjoyed their experiences. Dyke was able to apply previous experiences to his reporting responsibilities, so the program coordinators offered him a paid position at the media outlet.

“I had an awesome summer doing all kinds of fun stuff, and it was all comped and free,” Dyke said. “And I got paid on top of it.”

Wang received opportunities to be a testimony for the Lord while he gave his MedEx class’s “graduation” speech.

“I was able to give God glory in that speech,” Wang said.

Paziora experienced various opportunities, including watching court sessions, being the “bad guy” in training exercises and assisting the marshals on call as they tried to find an alleged criminal.

“I didn’t really have one day that stayed the same,” Paziora said.

Students interested in internships should keep their eyes open. Dyke applied at several different organizations before he received the internship offer.

Wang was offered his internship at the Greenville Genetics Center via networking. Paziora sent in her resume for the internship after her professor prompted her to.

Dyke said one major benefit about internships is the networking opportunities they bring.

“When you are looking for an actual job, they might not have one for you,” Dyke said. “But they might know someone who does and be willing to recommend you.”

Wang said he got to see the heart of the medical industry.

“It’s not about just giving medicine to treat diseases,” Wang said. “It’s about comforting people. It’s about loving and caring for people.”

Paziora said the internship strengthened her desire to serve in law enforcement.

“It was terrifying but humbling at the same time to know that I think it’s my calling in life,” Paziora said. “Even though [I] will go to work and may not have the guarantee or satisfaction of knowing that [I’m] coming home.”

While some internship programs count for college credit, like Paziora’s, others do not, like Wang’s and Dyke’s.

These not-for-credit internships are equally valuable in providing students with the experience they need to prepare for their careers.

Students interested in receiving credit for a specific internship  may speak with their academic advisor to ensure the internship in question meets the guidelines set out by each academic division.

Several BJU degrees require an internship for graduation.

Often, these internships are completed during a student’s senior year although they can be completed the summer before or after graduation.

Internship credits are built into the checksheets of students who need an internship in order to graduate.

Usually, these internship credits are fulfilled by working 10 to 15 hours per week during a semester.

Students can begin their search for internships by emailing Jane Smith at  jsmith@bju.edu to set up a meeting or by searching for internships at websites like indeed.com and internjobs.com.

Smith said that internships are extremely important for students.

“It definitely gives you the edge in getting a job,” she said.