Internships: Enhancing Education, Opening Professional Doors

So many classes to take . . . Is the time and energy spent on an internship really worth the effort? We, most interns and hiring directors will tell you, “Yes!”

Jazlynn Bebout and Kayla Stewart (seniors, communication majors) interned with Quincy Media, owner of WPTA and WISE-TV, Fort Wayne’s NBC and ABC affiliates. They took time to share their experiences and explain the benefit of internships.

While Stewart and Bebout had internships through Quincy Media, they had very different experiences – and very different career goals. Stewart wanted to become a reporter, so she applied and was hired as a reporter intern. She followed an experienced reporter around on assignments, pitched news stories, filmed reporters in the field, wrote scripts, and edited news packages.

Bebout is more interested in writing and social media, so she was offered experience as a digital intern. Her duties included writing articles for WPTA and WISE-TV’s web and social media pages, creating posts for social media, and photographing or finding pictures to post.

However, these internships were not separate from their classwork—each complemented the other. Stewart was taking Associate Professor Art Herbig’s (communication) Introduction to Media Production class the semester that she began her internship. The class helped “me because, as an intern, I already knew how to work cameras and shoot video. Between that class and my internship, I was shooting video and creating news products almost daily. Taking what I learned in school and learning from experienced journalists took a huge role in what I know now.”

Bebout gave three reasons why students of any major should apply for internships. First, internships “show you exactly how you’re going to be using your degree in a real world sense.” And this real world experience shows you whether that line of work is something you really want to do. Finally, internships help you “get your foot in the door” to possible jobs after graduation.

Internships often lead to employment opportunities. In January 2017, Stewart asked her news director if she could get an extension on her internship, but rather than extending her internship, he offered her a part-time reporting position! And if you think this is something that doesn’t happen often, check out a recent mathematical sciences graduate’s story – her internship led directly to full-time employment as an actuary.

Interested in an internship? The Mastodon Job and Internship Fair is tomorrow Thursday, September 21 at 12pm in Hillard Gates Sports Center. Over 150 companies are looking to fill over 4,000 open positions including internships, part-time jobs, and full time jobs. This is a public event, so everyone is welcome to attend. Check out the website for more information. And if you arrive at this story after the fair, chat with your advisor about what’s available in your department!

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