Mapping from Student to Professional

Posted on May 5, 2015. Filed under: Career, College, Confidence, Internship | Tags: , , , |

As a college student you are usually told exactly what is expected of you by your professors in the form of a syllabus. During this same time parents are letting you know what they expect of your academic performance, especially if they are paying for your education. In this respect, college is laid out like a road map that you must follow to arrive at your desired location – graduation and a job.

In the professional world it is unlikely that you will receive such clear mapping from your employer. There may be a job description with a list of related responsibilities, but unlike a course syllabus you will rarely find a step by step guide to success. An employer may even expect that a fresh-out-of-college hire comes with innovative ideas to improve their established systems. YOU are expected to decide how to approach each task or create your own map to achieve the desired outcome.

How do you go from map-follower to mapmaker?

Internships provide an opportunity to test out your analytical and critical thinking skills in a supportive learning environment. As an intern you take what you’ve learned in the classroom and apply it in a professional setting as you test what works and what doesn’t. Students can practice that balancing act between asking too many questions and not asking enough. At your internship it is expected that you will have questions, even make some mistakes, and then receive constructive feedback so you can move forward with new knowledge and skills.

folded-maps-27675895One way to approach this transition is to write your own syllabus. Institute you own deadlines with benchmarks that let you know that you are on the right track, grading yourself as you move forward. Using available resources such as work manuals, mentors, supervisor consultations, and Google, an intern or young professional can create a map to navigate this new world.

You may not have considered following a syllabus to be a significant learning outcome of your college years, but knowing how to create your own can be an asset as you transition to life after graduation.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Washington, DC Summer Intern: Andrew Koprowski

Posted on September 5, 2014. Filed under: Career, College, Confidence, Featured Intern, Internship, Jobs, Michigan State University, Professionalism, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , |

Meet Andrew Koprowski, James Madison/Economics major who interned in Washington, DC during summer 2014 for Senator Debbie Stabenow.  Andrew was also MSU’s DC Program Ambassador. Read on to learn about the work he accomplished during his internship on Capitol Hill and how it will help him as he continues to explore career options.

Andrew Koprowski portrait

Name: Andrew Koprowski

Hometown: Flint, Michigan

Major: Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy and Economics

Graduation: Fall 2015

Internship Placement: Legislative Intern at the Office of Senator Stabenow

Internship Location: Hart Senate Building in Washington DC

What were your primary responsibilities at your internship?

I was assigned to a legislative team that specifically focused on tax legislation, economic development, small business development, and mortgages and housing legislation. As a legislative intern I researched current events that focus on the areas of concern for my legislative mentors as well as attended hearings and wrote memorandums for both the LA’s and the LC’s. In addition to research, I performed administrative tasks such as answering phone calls, data base management, as well as responding to constituent concerns via email and telephone calls.

What was one of your biggest projects that you had worked on?

One of my biggest projects focused on developing a co-sponsor memorandum for Senator Stabenow. The memorandum discussed the Commercial Real Estate and Economic Development Act. My legislative mentor wanted me to address what the CREED Act was, why Senator Stabenow should co-sponsor it and other background information about the piece of legislation. The project took over a week to complete simply because it required very in depth research that addressed the possible benefits and consequences of the CREED Act.

What was one of your fondest highlights of your internship?

One of the highlights of my internship was on June 17. I had volunteered to help the Agricultural Committee set up for a large event that they were hosting and I felt obligated to volunteer because Senator Stabenow is the Chair person on the committee. This experience was so rewarding because I was able to work one on one with Bill Sweeney, the Chief of Staff for Senator Stabenow. I had the honor to speak to Mr. Sweeney and it turned into an informational interview. I learned a lot from Mr. Sweeney and he offered me great advice on networking, how to secure a job after graduation on Capitol Hill, and his personal advice about graduate school and when to go. Not only did I get to meet Mr. Sweeney, I had the opportunity to meet with CEO’s and representatives from major corporations like Coca-Cola, GM, Ford, etc.

Why should an MSU student apply to this internship program?

I highly recommend this program to any MSU student who is serious about their future academic and career goals. The MSU study away program in DC is an incredible experience and can open so many doors. Students will learn so many valuable life lessons, including how to properly budget and save money, as well as how to network in a professional setting. The relationships you create while you are in DC are very important and the program introduces students to many networking opportunities. In addition, Vicki Shaver does a wonderful job connecting students to potential internships and works extremely hard to find students the right internship. She was the reason I got my internship and I give her so much credit because she does her job extremely well.

If you would like to learn more about MSU’s College of Social Science Study and Internship programs you can visit or email to schedule a meeting with a program coordinator. Washington, DC programs run every semester!


Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

New Orleans Intern: Jamie Jackson

Posted on September 5, 2014. Filed under: Career, College, Confidence, Featured Intern, Internship, Jobs, Michigan State University, New Orleans, Personal Growth, Social Work | Tags: , , , , |

The beginning of a new academic year brings the continuation of MSU Study Away Program Featured Intern series.

Meet Jamie Jackson who participated in MSU’s New Orleans program during the summer of 2014.

 Jamie Jackson Portrait

Name: Jamie Jackson  

Hometown: Detroit, MI

Major: Psychology

Graduation: May 2015  

Internship Placement: Volunteers of America  

Internship Location: Metairie, LA  

What were your primary responsibilities at your internship? I worked with staff to develop a new initiative called the Family Economic Security Program and performed initial case assessments.

What were some main projects you had worked on? I developed a community resource guide and a “strengths- based” case assessment plan for the Family Economic Security program. Also, I have assisted in a grant application for the program.

How has your internship experience enhanced your academic and  career plans? My internship confirmed my career choice of social work as right for me, and I plan to apply to graduate programs for social work.

Why should an MSU student apply to this internship program? A MSU student should apply for this internship because they would gain a lot of skills and knowledge in a positive and motivated working environment. Not only would they gain a great experience with the city of New Orleans and its people, but they will also learn more about themselves!

If you would like to learn more about  these internship programs, please contact MSU’s College of Social Science Study Away Programs Office at 517-432-4541 or

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

New York Featured Intern: Rachel Petro

Posted on September 15, 2013. Filed under: Career, College, Confidence, Featured Intern, Internship, Jobs, Michigan State University, Professionalism, Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Below is an excerpt from an interview with Rachel Petro, an MSU Psychology major who completed a summer internship in New York City through the College of Social Science Study and Internship Programs.  You will have an opportunity to meet Rachel and other students who have completed Study Away programs in other cities, such as Washington, DC Honolulu, New Orleans and Boston at an informational meeting.

Study Away Informational Meeting

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 5:00pm

109 S. Kedzie Hall

We are expecting a crowd, so get there early!  In the meantime, read on to learn a little bit about Rachel’s experience.

Petro in NYC

Name: Rachel Petro

Major: Psychology

Graduation Date: December 2014

Internship Placement: Doe Fund, Inc.

Internship Location: Brooklyn, NY

What are your primary responsibilities at your internship? 

My primary responsibilities are administrative work and chart filing.  I also helped assist in GED classes and sat in on employee interviews.  However, my biggest responsibility was to be there for the trainees whenever they need advice or guidance.  

What’s your favorite thing about working / living in New York?  

My favorite thing about New York Living is all of the possibilities.  It is the perfect place for people who are into fashion or if you are a foodie.  Working here is very convenient because of the subway and your networking possibilities are endless.

How has your internship experience impacted your academic and/or career plans?

This internship experience has definitely taught me a lot about the “real world”.  Going to class is a great way to learn, but it is nothing close to the experience and knowledge I have gained at the Doe Fund.  This internship has just solidified that I am making the right career choice.  I truly love counseling and helping those in need.

If you were speaking to an MSU student who was thinking about applying to an internship program, what would you say to convince them?

No other program will help you get an internship.  I loved that I had a placement manager help me, since searching for an internship on my own from Michigan would have been impossible.  Plus you need internship experience no matter what major you are.  So why stay in East Lansing?  Get out and travel while you get the experience you need for your resume!

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Hawaii Featured Intern: Aubree Loznak

Posted on August 14, 2013. Filed under: Career, College, Confidence, Featured Intern, Internship, Life, Michigan State University, Personal Growth, Professionalism | Tags: , , |

Loznak in Hawaii

Here’s another installment of MSU featured interns.  This intern is lucky enough to still be in Hawaii finishing up her assignment.  Meet Aubree Loznak!

Name: Aubree Loznak

Major: Human Development and Family Studies

Graduation Date: May 2014

Internship Placement: Kokua Kalihi Valley Community Center

Internship Location: Honolulu, Hawaii

What are your primary responsibilities at your internship?

At my internship I have many different responsibilities. Some days I am be a manager of a project, other days I go up to the valley and harvest vegetables and herbs to cook for the staff. It all depends on what the day is, but I have learned to be flexible and diverse.

What’s your favorite thing about working / living in Hawaii? 

My favorite thing about living in Hawaii is the people. The people are so loving here and they would do anything for you. They give beyond what they even have, just to make their visitors happy. The people in Hawaii will really impact your life.

How has your internship experience impacted your academic and/or career plans?

My internship has impacted my career plan by showing me there is more to nursing than just in the hospital. It all starts with what kinds of food you eat and, beyond that, if you give to the land, the land gives back to you. To add on, it has shown me how I can take care of myself so I can continue to help the ones who are in need.

Tell us one amazing or surprising highlight of your internship.  Are there any “AHA” moments? 

One surprising highlight of my internship was being able to get the chance to work with a professional chef and making dishes from the fresh picked vegetables and herbs. This was an amazing opportunity because I learned about how different plants can help … if you eat the right foods, the numbers of diseases began to decrease. You will always hear about this in class but you will never believe it until you have experienced it in front of your eyes.

If you were speaking to an MSU student who was thinking about applying to an internship program, what would you say to convince them?

Do it! It’s a different experience you will never get back home. I’m coming home a whole other person, appreciating life more than I ever have. Hawaii is not only a gorgeous place to be, but the culture is so rich and free. You feel like you’re in a foreign place but in actuality you feel right at home. Don’t hesitate; experience something that you probably have never experienced before.


If you would like to learn more about Aubree’s internship at Kokua Kalihi Valley visit Hawaii internships are primarily in community service agencies and health organizations.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Business Casual – What does it mean?

Posted on July 17, 2012. Filed under: Career, Confidence, Internship, Jobs, Professionalism | Tags: , , , |

business-casual%20WomenIn Dr. Joel Clark’s book, Intern to Success, he advises that, “Punctuality and appearance are crucial to making good first impressions.”  We all know that those first 10 seconds make a lasting impression – good or bad.  What you may not realize is that you will have plenty of opportunity to impress people outside of the office setting  before you even arrive at your internship.

Networking possibilities present themselves at your program orientation sessions, intern workshops, class seminars and welcome receptions, and even at your parent’s house! You are being evaluated at these events.  It may not be an official or formal interview, but connected people are gathering crucial information about who you are, initially based on your appearance. The impression you leave has the potential to impact your career options.

“Business Casual” is a good starting point for interns.  Unfortunately, there are many opinions regarding what fits into this category.  To prepare you for your internship experience, I recommend that you follow these basic guidelines.

Business Casual for MEN:

  • Business or Sports jacket is suggested
  • Styled, solid-colored pants
  • Long-sleeved, solid or striped shirt
  • Tie is not necessary, but suggested
  • Dark socks
  • Matching belt and shoes

Business Casual for WOMEN:

  • Business skirt or pants
  • Conservative blouse or sweater
  • Blazer or cardigan is suggested
  • Closed-toed heels
  • Neutral hosiery
  • Understated accessories

Business Casual is NOT:

  • Jeans, cargo pants, shorts, or low rise pants exposing bare skin
  • Tight or short skirts
  • T-shirts, sweatshirts, revealing or low cut tops
  • Tennis shoes, flip-flops or shower shoes
  • Baseball caps worn indoors
  • Anything too trendy or flashy
  • Large pieces of jewelry
  • Facial piercings
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )

Application and Interview Follow Up

Posted on July 12, 2012. Filed under: Career, Confidence, Internship, Jobs | Tags: , , , |

MP900443229One of my favorite places for internship tips is the YouTern website.  They recently posted a blog by Angela Petrie addressing interview follow ups (YouTern Blog on Interview Follow Up).  She brings up some very important and valid points for job/internship applicants regarding communication after an interview.

Angela suggests that applicants wait at least two days before contacting the organization after an interview, and avoid using words that may reveal desperation or anger on your part in any communication with them.  Both excellent points!

I would like to add that sending a nice thank you note within 24 hours of the interview is also a great way to stand out.  Email is a fine choice for this since it will reach the recipient sooner than snail mail.  You can find thank you letter samples by doing a Google search of “Interview thank you letter.”

Before the Interview

But let’s back up just a bit…how about corresponding with organizations prior to an interview?

Here is what I recommend:

  • Always follow up within a week to confirm that materials were received and to check on the status of your application – Are they missing anything? Is the fax or email attachment clear?
  • Try to determine their selection timeline and a contact person – When might you expect a call? Who should you direct inquiries to?
  • The Two-Week Rule – It is okay to call back to determine your status if it has been at least two weeks between contacts.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to let them know you are still interested. The worst thing you can do is apply (or interview) and then just disappear. Be proactive!

TIP: Find the balance between being a stalker and a stranger.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Confidence Machine

Posted on October 13, 2011. Filed under: Career, College, Confidence, Internship, Jobs, Life, Personal Growth, Professionalism, Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Internships are the perfect vehicle to build confidence.  They are like machines that process confused, sometimes scared, college students and turn out polished young professionals a few months later.  The transformation is physically evident to parents who often don’t even recognize their own child at the end of the progression.  They somehow seem taller, and well…more grown up!

Confidence is the key to it all.  In a survey, 46% of employers revealed that internship experiences and interview skills are what matter most to them. These two characteristics go hand in hand because confidence is needed for either one to help you land the job. Did you think it was your GPA (3%)?  Your new interview suit (2%)?  No, it’s your ability to communicate your experiences and new skills with confidence.

If you have not engaged in an internship experience before college graduation, run don’t walk to sign up for a program, preferably one that takes you outside of the campus bubble. Most university internship programs provide intentional learning experiences that include reflective assignments designed to connect your academics to the professional world.  This is your opportunity to test drive your chosen field, either confirming your choice or realizing that it wasn’t what you expected.  Either way, that knowledge is valuable.

Teddy Roosevelt once said that each time we face a fear we gain strength, courage, and confidence.   As part of an internship experience you will learn about yourself and what you are capable of as you push through the fear and doubt and arrive with confidence at your next destination.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...