The typical summer internship involves working in an unfamiliar setting with strangers. However, a group of Washington University students did not have to leave the friendly confines of campus for their internships.
Nineteen students took part in the Summer Associates Program supported by Human Resources and the Career Center. The program offers WUSTL students internships and builds on theory and skills learned in the classroom.
“I was able to build on my graphic design and typography skills and my ability to create consistent branding,” said senior Chloe Reibold, a communication design and marketing major in the Sam Fox School. She interned as a graphic designer at the Career Center. “Plus, I was in a familiar and comfortable environment.”
“I had a great experience this summer,” said Albert Byun, who interned with Information Services and Technology (IS&T), providing technical support throughout campus. Byun, a biochemistry major in Arts & Sciences, graduated in May. “I worked at Student Technology Services last semester, and working at IS&T this summer allowed me to continue that work.”
The Summer Associates Program also offered professional development seminars throughout the summer on subjects such as networking, interviewing and résumé building.
“The seminar on behavioral interviewing was very useful,” Reibold said. “I find the interview process the hardest part of a job search, and I am always looking to get better at it.”
Departments hosting interns included Alumni & Development, the Career Center, Investment Management and IS&T. Students applied for the positions through the Career Center.
Lauren Stapel, Reibold’s supervisor at the Career Center, said the Summer Associates Program was unique because it encouraged dialogue about expectations and ways the students could work with the office to grow throughout the summer.
“As a manager who wanted our summer associates to get a lot out of their experiences, I found that the structured conversation benefitted us throughout the summer,” said Stapel, communications manager at the Career Center.
Byun was recruited and hired for the IS&T internship by Colleen Corbett, programs manager in Student Technology Service in IS&T. She said her department “greatly profits from the talents, new ideas and energy of our student workers. It is a win-win situation, with both students and the university benefitting.”
Ric Land, chair of the Summer Associates Planning Committee, said this pilot program may be continued next year. The committee will review feedback from the students and their supervisors to assess what worked and what changes to consider.
“If we do it next year, we would like to see the program expanded, and the committee has already been generating ideas on how to do just that,” said Land, manager of employment and training in Human Resources. “We started small this year since it is considered a pilot program, but if we do it next year, we’ll market it to more departments.”
Reibold and Byun also got a taste of what awaits them after college.
“I have learned that I really value flexibility in the workplace,” Reibold said. “I hope to find a job after college that has flexible hours.”
“I learned that professional life isn’t nearly as structured as school or college is,” Byun said. “Random things can pop up at any time.”
Reibold said she would recommend the program to other students.
“It was a great opportunity to get more experience and create work for my portfolio,” she said. “The internship was flexible and easy to fit into a busy schedule, and the team was extremely welcoming and a pleasure to work with.”