By Dani Palmer
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. — While many college students are enjoying their time off and taking a break from classes this summer, many others are still working their tails off undergoing internships to prepare themselves for future employment.
Anderson University student Mackenzie Scholte is interning at the Sagamore Institute, a political think tank in Indianapolis, where she’s one of six research interns, each working on their own projects.
An unpaid internship, Scholte said they get to pick their own hours and that she decided to go with 40. She “wanted to get the most out of it.”
Is it a bit of a bummer not to have a summer vacation? Yeah. Scholte’s from Michigan and loves to be outside, near the water, but she wants to learn what she can to be a good employee, she said.
“I definitely understand why students don’t want to intern in the summer,” she said, “but I just want to get ahead and get the most experience I can.”
Having the ability to “devote all your time to one thing is really helpful,” she said.
Plus, there’ll be vacation time later, she added.
Scholte said it’s a great idea for students to take an internship because “there’s just so much more competition” in today’s market and a degree of some sort is necessary.
That experience is what employers are seeking.
Sagamore isn’t Scholte’s first internship. A political science and economics major, she worked on a month-long campaign during election time.
Each experience is an invaluable one that provides networking opportunities and the chance to learn if the job is something someone wants to do for the rest of his or her life, she said.
Her boss at Sagamore was an intern at the company first. The communications guy was one just the year before and “got his foot in the door.”
Purdue University College of Technology student Chad Clark is an intern at Echo Automotive where he works closely with the engineers on a hybrid system.
“I work with very, very intelligent individuals,” he said. “I learn at least one new thing every day.”
Clark, receiving pay for 35 hours a week but often putting in a few hours more to really learn all he can, said he doesn’t see any downfalls to interning in the summer.
“Anything you can learn at work to take with you for life is beneficial,” he said. And, he added, he feels like he gets that at Echo, where he’s treated as a member of the team.
While these companies are getting extra help, the interns are taking away valuable lessons they can use for future employment; to make them more marketable, Clark said.
“I love coming to work,” he noted. “It’s not a job. It’s an experience, a learning experience, and I love it.”
Anderson University audio and visual communications major Nina Munroe is interning at TV’s Fox 59 in Indianapolis for 30-plus hours a week unpaid. She attends meetings and goes with the reporters to observe and learn as much as she can from them.
She also writes intros and outros and puts together packages. Munroe worked at a radio station in Anderson for a couple of years before wanting to gain TV experience.
She can work long hours, but said it’s a “fun atmosphere” and definitely worth the experience as she’s built rapport and connections -- “I wanted to get the most out of it.”
“Anyone can sit in a classroom and listen to someone teach, but this (an internship) shows you can get out and do it,” she said.
She, Scholte and Clark all said their professors encourage internships.
Scholte said having the education is important, but that students now need to be “willing to go the extra mile” to get that experience as professors can “only give you so much in class.”
Munroe added that she’s gotten a real feel for what the job’s like; the stress, the competition and the fun times that can come along with it. And because of her experience, she added TV broadcasting is the direction she wants to continue in.
Each of the interns said they’ve enjoyed their internships and that they hope to leave behind their own marks. Whether it be showing others they’re not afraid to take on difficult tasks or assisting the company in solving problems that will benefit the general public, each said giving up their summers has been worth it.
You can only “get what you put” into an experience, Munroe said.
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