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Getting on board with an internship

Students, faculty and staff gathered virtually for the 2022 Weber State University Internship Conference on March 18. The event was organized by Robert Ameling, the assistant director of internships at Career Services. This is an event unique to the WSU campus and fairly new to WSU itself. Ameling spearheaded it himself just a few years ago in 2018.

Youn Soo Goldstein highlighting the APEX program.
Youn Soo Goldstein highlights the APEX program. Photo credit: Tim Costello

“This is indeed my baby,” Ameling said. “I had the idea of an internship conference to bring everyone together across the university to let everyone know what all the colleges across campus are doing for internships.”

In spring 2019, the conference began with a small audience of exclusively faculty internship coordinators. In 2020 the event unfortunately had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Internship Conference was then reinstated in the spring of 2021 with varied results.

“I made the mistake of scheduling and hosting all the sessions of the conference myself,” Ameling confessed. “Zoom doesn’t let you do that. We could only have two sessions open at a time. We had a lot of technical difficulties.”

This year was not met with such difficulties, as everyone in attendance and everyone hosting was proficient with Zoom and all virtual options. This year was also the first year that the event was open to everyone on campus.

The event kicked off with a session opened by Ameling, who moderated the opening and closing sessions of the conference. The session continued with an address by Julie Rich, the dean of the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences, about internship opportunities.

She shared specific stories about students in various internships around the country and what they learned from those experiences. She shared an invitation to those seeking out internships and those who dispense the internships.

“Internships have the lens for unique student experiences,” Rich said at the conclusion of her address. “Faculty and staff, make sure students are getting these experiences that will transform their lives.”

Julie Rich going over the benefits of an internship.
Julie Rich goes over the benefits of an internship. Photo credit: Tim Costello

Jill Morales, a career counselor advisor for the College of Education, shared how internships changed her career path.

“A career services person came to my grad school looking for interns,” Morales said. “That very internship led to the job I have now.”

Ameling highlighted a class that will be available this fall, one he is co-teaching, that will help students prepare for their internships — the REAL Projects Honors course.

“A student once told me that she found out about that class through this very conference,” Ameling said. “That’s a very large measure of student success from this event.”

Both Rich and Ameling encouraged students to start their internship journeys early, and not just in their senior year. They further shared it would be the best way to start their Weber State story.

Breakout sessions commenced to provide more information on various programs that will lead to internships throughout campus. These sessions covered topics such as the APEX certificate for students in the College of Arts & Humanities, the inaugural Wildcat Advantage program, on-campus internships and the aforementioned REAL Projects course.

These sessions were led by faculty and staff members with knowledge about these programs. APEX guides Andrea Baltazar and Youn Soo Goldstein led the session on the APEX Certificate. Wildcat Advantage coordinator Jenny Frame led the session on the Wildcat Advantage program. Student employment coordinator Sarah Seefried led the session about on-campus internships.

Students who missed the conference or have questions about the material covered in these breakout sessions can find these recorded sessions online on the Career Services website in the upcoming week.

The conference concluded with a short closing keynote address given by Ameling about what to do after students have achieved an internship. Citing a banquet that WSU President Brad Mortensen had with potential employers, Ameling asked those in attendance what they thought employers wanted out of their students.

“The answer to that question is that employers want students to do what they say they are going to do,” Ameling said. “The method Weber State has of doing that? ePortfolios.”

The ePortfolio is a resource readily available through a student’s Canvas account where students can document all their progress with their college career and their intership. Ameling encouraged all student to keep their ePortfolios up to date with all the work they are doing in both their college and employment careers.

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About the Contributor
Tim Costello
Tim Costello, News reporter