Internships Make a Difference

In today’s job market, students who have completed a meaningful internship have an effective way to distinguish themselves from others in the pool of more than 1.6 million students who receive a bachelor’s degree each year.  Approximately 250-300 students in the College of Arts & Sciences engage in internships during a typical academic year.   Although some internships carry three academic credits, all internships–credit-bearing or not– provide valuable experience and contacts for the student that enhance her or his future.

In recent years, the College has placed students in internships at Merck, Lockheed, Veterans Affairs, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Overbrook School for the Blind, and the Camden Center for Family Services, among many other venues. In the Philadelphia Internship, for example, students have worked  for law firms and for the court system (e.g., U.S. District Court, Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, and some private law firms),  for Non-Governmental Organizations (e.g., Committee of Seventy, Women’s Campaign International), and for political campaigns and political parties (e.g., Office of Senator Bob Casey, Representative Patrick Meehan’s District Office, McCain for President, Obama for President).

The diversity of internship experiences is vast.  In what follows, we highlight a few of the internships from this past year:

Patrick Bishop '13

Patrick Bishop ’13 completed an internship at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, NYC

Patrick Bishop ’13, a Theatre/Film Studies major with a concentration in Musical Theatre, recently completed an internship performing at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in New York City in a cabaret showcase of musical theatre solos and duets entitled “Here Right Now”.  Industry professionals, including casting agents and directors, attended the session where Patrick performed a series of songs including “Goodbye” from Catch Me If You Can, “The World Will Remember Us” from Bonnie & Clyde and “Come Up To My Place” from Leonard Bernstein’s On The Town.


Tavon Whitener ’13 placed at the McClain Firm, Ardmore

Tavon Whitener ’13, a Political Science major, spent 10 hours a week during the Fall 2012 semester at the McClain Firm in Ardmore, PA, where Cary McClain served as his mentor.    The McClain firm handles small claims, divorce, personal injury, DUIs, and much more.  Tavon reports “I learned how a private attorney managed the work load of five lawyers—at the same time as he managed a small business.  With the guidance of Cary’s paralegal, I assisted in filing legal briefs, scribing court proceedings, and filling out expungement and ARD [Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition] forms.”  In addition to gaining firsthand experience of life as a lawyer, Tavon learned about work/family issues.  In his own words, “I learned about life from a man who lived an interesting one.  I was shown the personal qualities of a man who put family first and work second. . . . That dedication is exactly what made me appreciate my internship all the more.  My legal internship was insightful as a person interested in pursuing law—but I valued it as an experience that taught me how to be a man who loves his family and worked hard to make them happy.”

Michelle Berton '13

Michelle Berton ’13 was an intern at ABA2Day Behavior Services

Michelle Berton ’13, a Psychology  major, is currently interning as a behavior therapist for ABA2Day Behavior Services.  She works one-on-one with children with a wide range of developmental, behavioral, and emotional disorders.  Most of the children she works with have diagnoses on the Autism Spectrum and display a wide range of behaviors targeted for modification.  As the acronym ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) suggests, her work entails providing specialized instructions that focus on a particular behavior targeted for improvement.   In her own words, “Having the opportunity to intern at ABA2Day Behavior Services has provided me with invaluable experience working with children with a wide range of behavioral and developmental disorders. Interning here has allowed me to gain the hands-on experience you can’t get solely inside the classroom, and has made me more confident than ever that I want to work with child and adolescent populations in the future. Learning this now was vital in applying to graduate schools in Counseling Psychology and helped me immensely in narrowing down the programs I chose to apply to.”

Alex Galliani ’13  lived in Edinburgh  in the Fall 2012 semester. while working at the Scottish Parliament.  An internship of his own creation, he worked with his advisor to receive credit for two courses that counted toward his major.   Much of the workload involved reading case-specific academic sources, keeping a journal of daily activities in the office, and composing a term paper that married the formerly abstract with the latterly tangible.

Alex Galliani '13 created his own internship opportunity at the Scottish Parliament

Alex Galliani ’13 created his own internship opportunity at the Scottish Parliament

In his own words, “More than anything else, I was struck by the intimacy of the Scottish Parliament’s office setting. Whereas friends of mine who have worked for U.S. state senators or the like rarely, if ever, met their representative, my desk was but a few feet from the Member of Scottish Parliament (MSP) for whom I worked. Even closer was the work space of her only other full-time assistant. With just two other (part-time) constituency workers to speak of, everyone was expected to be a jack-of-all trades. As such, my work swept from creating a graphical representation of a newly created position’s responsibilities (solely for the First Minister’s personal reference), to preparing briefs for debates which ranged from co-housing for elderly citizens to treatment of circus animals, to shredding confidential documents and fetching coffee. I regularly shared lunch with Ministers, Cabinet Secretaries and consultants in the ‘canteen,’ a novelty that I’m not sure I would have enjoyed had I worked for any of the massive Departments in the US.”