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Internships expand despite pandemic

Career Services director Shawn Albert gestures toward symbols of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

As COVID-19 regulations are being lifted in South Carolina, obtaining an internship has become a little easier for BJU students as employers look to take on potential interns who missed out on internship opportunities in 2020.

“I had a student that came in and had an internship lined up for last summer and it was taken away from her because it was cancelled,” said Feaby Vera Cruz, assistant director of Internships and Employment at Bob Jones University. “That happened to several different students because employers were not posting internships because of COVID-19.”

Vera Cruz said in the past few weeks, she has helped at least 10 to 15 people by providing information on internships. “My advice for students who are looking for internships is to apply early,” Vera Cruz said. “Start looking for internships, really develop your resume, search for who you want to work for and start networking early.”

Shawn Albert, director of Bob Jones University’s Career Services, said because of COVID-19, the good quality internships are even more competitive. “It’s never too early to look for an internship,” Albert said. Albert said despite COVID-19, there have been more in-person than remote internships.

“We don’t know of many people doing remote internships,” Albert said. “The majority of our internships come second semester and during the summer, and since regulations have started being lifted, those are available for students.”

Vera Cruz and Albert’s advice to students is to apply early and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Albert said they are glad to help. “We’re really good at it and we’re always getting better at it,” Albert said. “Our goal is to serve our students.”

Career Services director Shawn Albert gestures toward symbols of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Kelly Vervaet, a senior graphic design major who interned at Drum Creative, a website design company in Greenville, said she started the first half of her internship remotely in the fall of last year. “As regulations started to decrease, I was able to go into the office and finish the internship in person,” Vervaet said.

“Not being able to meet people in person was a huge drawback about interning remotely,” Vervaet said. “I like to see the whole scope of a person and get more of a taste of what their company environment is like.”

Vervaet said she applied to several internships, but the interviews were always virtual and never in-person. “I looked into doing an internship as a graphic design intern for Answers in Genesis, but things changed really fast and they had to shut down all of their attractions,” Vervaet said. “I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had doing an in-person and remote internship.”

Jen Madden, assistant director of the South Carolina Press Association, said the SCPA offers two to three internships to students every summer. “To make up for last summer because of COVID-19, we’re offering four internships,” Madden said. “Many students missed out on that handson opportunity.” Madden said the SCPA had to prioritize the safety and health of the students and professional journalists more than anything.

Madden said while she thinks the SCPA made the right decision to not go forward with internships last summer, it was sad to see that students were not able to take on that opportunity last year. “The reason I like internships so much is because it gives students hands-on training that they wouldn’t otherwise have,” Madden said. “It was a big deal that we weren’t able to offer that last year.” Madden said this summer some of their internships will be partly remote and in-person.

“I have been blown away by how resilient students have been because of COVID-19,” Madden said. “I’ve been blown away by their flexibility, the hard work, the dedication and the effort of college students.” Madden’s advice is to apply early, apply often and apply everywhere because you never know where you’re going to end up.