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Why Take a Credit-Based Internship?

Maureen Pham
Career Center Intern

Internships are a way to bridge knowledge learned in the classroom to a real-world setting. They can be valuable in allowing a student to explore what they do (or don’t!) want in a job while building important skills. At the Mount, students may also register their internship to receive college credits. The Career Center recently sat down with three current Mount students completing credit-based internships to better understand their experiences from both personal and professional angles.

sydney-verdecchia-picture-in-text.pngSydney Verdecchia, C’22, is an administration and advocacy intern for the Rape Crisis Intervention Service in Carroll County. Her responsibilities as a crisis helpline responder allow her to work remotely and come into the office when hands-on involvement is required. As a human services major with an internship requirement, she had the experience to be “the bridge between people and resources.” She found that her internship reinforced her coursework, such as lessons from her social inequality class, and gave her concrete working experience.

Verdecchia’s internship search was over a year-long, as she wanted to specifically work with victims, particularly women, of sexual and domestic violence. She began looking for internships proximal to her hometown; when no options were forthcoming, she looked at opportunities in Frederick County. Eventually, she met with Career Center Interim Director Matthew Pouss, who recommended she apply to her current position. Verdecchia encourages students, especially fellow human service majors, to begin looking early and stated, “Once you start, keep going.” She admits that one of the reasons it took her so long to obtain an internship position was that she did not follow through with email responses. Searching for internship opportunities is important, but appropriate follow-up is crucial.

Verdecchia demonstrates that it is possible to find an internship specific to your interests. The Career Center can help connect you to these resources, especially if you find yourself seemingly stuck. Verdecchia reminds students looking for internships, “Know that there are options in neighboring communities.” Camden Casey, C’22, who is working with FEMA’s National Continuity Program, seconded this reminder. One of the Mount’s advantages is having Washington D.C. within reasonable commuting distance. As a political science major looking for federal employment post-camden-casey-picture-in-text.pnggraduation, Casey took advantage of this through a combination of personal connections and an application through USAJobs.

Casey particularly recommends that seniors take advantage of credit-based internships. He works two 6-hour shifts weekly, something he would not have had the time to do with a full-time undergraduate course load. Furthermore, Casey stated that he prefers the credit-based internship experience to taking electives, as it better prepares him for his next steps. The skills he learned in the classroom, particularly writing and document analysis, have transferred well to his credit-based internship. Even the challenges encountered – such as connecting with colleagues through a virtual environment – have allowed him learning opportunities not possible in the traditional classroom.

Sophia Culmone, C’23, a business major, concurred that her internship managing social media platforms expanded on what she learned from the Mount. As a student with a concentration in marketing and a minor in business analytics, she felt her coursework was largely data-based. Being able to take real-world data, analyze it, and create algorithms for a social sophia-culmone-picture-in-text.pngmedia presence was a practical application of the knowledge and skills she already had. It also made her realize the importance of having concrete communication experiences, allowing her to tackle the challenge of adopting her client’s voice.

When asked what she would advise Mount students regarding internship experiences, Culmone stated, “Any experience is good experience.” She has already had two credit-based internships as a current junior, accrediting both to keep her options open. Taking career professional Jillian Bradley’s Internship Preparation course and being the social media coordinator for the Women in Business Club enabled her to be confident in both experiences. Culmone highlights the importance of taking advantage of the opportunities offered to you as a Mount student.

Credit-based internships are commonplace at the Mount and several majors require them for graduation. If you’re uncertain if your major requires a credit-based internship, talk to your academic advisor. The Career Center is ready to assist you in finding an internship to practically implement what you already know and to learn more about what you can do with your degree post-graduation.

Maureen Pham
Career Center Intern