Go Offline

Posted on October 11, 2013. Filed under: Career, Internship, Jobs, Life | Tags: , , , |

Using social media as a means to conduct an internship search or explore career options is a requirement.  It has become crucial for those looking for career opportunities to understand how to appropriately use Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as job searching tools.  However, any successful job search must also include offline activity.  In fact, it’s the offline interactions that can take your search from exploration to employment.

How do you take your online search offline?

• Pick up the phone.
• Pick it up again after no one calls you back.
• Deal with people who may not want to talk to you.
• Ask for recommendations and introductions.
• Go to a lot of coffee meetings and informational interviews.
• Make a list of companies you’d like to work for then use online tools to see who is connected to those companies. Once you connect with them, take the relationship offline.
• Stop judging your progress by the number of online job applications you sent into a random company where you know no one. Instead, monitor your progress based on how many meetings you set up.
• Set up meetings with all of your favorite professors. Chat, listen and get career advice. Maybe they will introduce you to some great people too.
• Go to a lot of events whether they are networking events, Greek life events, campus speakers, or parties.
• Ask everyone you meet a lot of questions about themselves and what they do. People love talking about themselves. The more you talk about them, the more they like you and want to help you.
• You’ll also learn a lot of things about a lot of industries by talking to people. Regardless of if their industries are similar to yours, having these discussions will broaden your perspective and conversations when you start interviewing.
• Don’t say “I need a job” when you are engaging in these offline activities. Rather, ask them about their job.
• Email authors, bloggers, and speakers and introduce yourself.
• Talk to people at the bar, at sporting events, and at the gym.
• Tap into your alumni network. Receiving an email from a current student often makes an alumnus’ day
• Disarm people you meet by asking, “What would you do if you were in my shoes?”

What we’re really talking about here is networking the old fashioned way. Validate and personalize your online brand with offline interactions. Understanding how to use social networking as a part of your career exploration is necessary, but supplementing your online activity with offline connections makes you memorable and sets you apart from the rest of the online pack.


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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.

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Boston Featured Intern: Meet Kelly Dunnigan

Posted on August 8, 2013. Filed under: Career, College, Featured Intern, Internship, Life, Michigan State University, Personal Growth, Professionalism | Tags: , |

Here is our next installment of MSU’s Study Away Program’s Featured Intern.

Meet Kelly Dunnigan.  She just completed a summer internship in Boston where we were fortunate enough to meet Kelly and her internship supervisors on a site visit in June.

Kelly highlights something significant in her interview; challenging yourself, instead of limiting your experience based on specific career expectations, can result in a richer learning experience.  I think that she would agree that she leaves her summer internship with an unexpected skill set that adds value to any career path she chooses. 

Dunnigan in Boston

Name: Kelly Dunnigan

Major: Psychology

Graduation date: May 2015

Internship placement: FCD Educational Services

Internship location: Boston, MA 

How did you learn about MSU’s Study and Internship programs and why did you choose to apply? I saw a sign advertising the program in the psychology building and I thought it sounded interesting. I looked up more about it online and thought I should apply. I’ve always wanted to go to Boston and live in a big city, so it was perfect to get to do that and do an internship.  

What are your primary responsibilities at your internship? I did a few different things at FCD. I started out doing administrative tasks while I learned more about the operations of the company, then eventually started updating and redesigning their email marketing system, helped redesign the website, did some infographic design, and started researching for and writing an ejournal about mental health and substance abuse for their email list.  

What’s your favorite thing about working / living in Boston? Boston is a really great city. Everyone told me before I left that its actually a small city and easy to get around, and it was very true. There’s so much to see and do but you can get anywhere within half an hour.  

How has your internship experience impacted your academic and/or career plans? My internship definitely taught me more about my working style and my professional skills. I wasn’t completely sure what I wanted to go into after I graduate, and now I have a better idea. 

Tell us one amazing or surprising highlight of your internship. Are there any “AHA” moments? I had no clue that I could do graphic design. I saw an opportunity for FCD to grow and modernize, suggested it, and challenged myself. It worked out much better than I thought it would! 

If you were speaking to an MSU student who was thinking about applying to an internship program, what would you say to convince them? Internships are really the best way for college students to get quality references and real experience. Having this internship made me feel a lot better about my potential to get a job after I graduate. That sense of security alone is worth the work, even if your internship is unpaid.

Are YOU interested in a Boston internship Be sure to explore to learn about study and internship programs in Boston, as well as in our other off campus locations.

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Washington, DC Featured Intern: Meet Steve Ciranna

Posted on July 25, 2013. Filed under: Career, College, Featured Intern, Internship, Life, Michigan State University, Professionalism | Tags: , , , , , |

photoWelcome to a new series of blog posts highlighting Michigan State University students participating in College of Social Science Study Away Programs.  Stephen Ciranna is the first student being featured. He is part of one of the most popular programs offered at MSU, the Washington, DC Summer Internship Program.  Meet Steve Ciranna!


Name: Stephen R. Ciranna

Major: Economics specializing in Political Economy 

Graduation Date: May 2014

Internship Placement: Congressmen Bill Huizenga’s office

Internship Location: Washington D.C. 

How did you learn about MSU’s Study and Internship programs and why did you choose to apply?

 I wanted to intern in DC ever since my sophomore year of college and stumbled upon the program while exploring the Social Science website.  I quickly realized that this program was the best way for me to achieve my goal of interning in DC.

 What are your primary responsibilities at your internship?

 My main roles are to work directly with the Congressmen’s constituents, whether I’m working on phone calls, writing letters or leading Capitol Hill tours.  I research current and future policy and write memos on committee meetings, briefings and other events occurring on Capitol Hill.  I also, conduct any task that the office needs me to do which can vary a lot which keeps me on my toes each day!

 What’s your favorite thing about working / living in Washington, DC? 

 I love how the work being done all around this city is so important for the entire world and is directly impacting American citizen’s lives.  I like to believe the work that I am doing has a small, but positive impact for Americans as well.

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

This internship has helped me see the real impacts of the economic policies that I have studied intensively in East Lansing, helping me to deepen my knowledge in the subject I enjoy so much.  Also, through networking, I have learned countless new career possibilities that I can pursue here in DC that would go along with my studies, interests, and career goals.

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

 Every day I experience a surprising “AHA” moment on Capitol Hill here in DC.   Whether, it is encountering Congressmen Huizenga’s interactions with other members or constituents, something new I learn through intensive research, discussions with knowledgeable and experienced staffers, or just running around the Capitol doing a task for the office.  The most surprising highlight however, is the fact that everyone here in Washington wants you to learn and grow and that is what allows you to experience these “AHA” moments that I will remember for the rest of my life.


Are YOU interested in a Capitol Hill internship?  Representative Huizenga’s Office has opportunities available each semester.  Visit his website for details: If you are pursuing a career in policy or law, a Capitol Hill internship is a major asset to your resume.

Be sure to explore to learn about study and internship opportunities in Washington, DC, as well as in our other off campus locations.

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Insights from Hawaii Program Interns

Posted on September 27, 2012. Filed under: College, Internship, Life, Michigan State University, Personal Growth | Tags: , , , |

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Washington, DC Internship Program Update

Posted on June 8, 2012. Filed under: Career, College, Internship, Jobs, Life, Personal Growth | Tags: , , , |

Last week we welcomed a group of MSU students to Washington, DC where they will be working as interns for the summer. We spent a couple of days preparing them for their experience and showing them around the area.

Thanks to all of our DC Program alumni and supporters for giving so generously of their time and energy to help ensure a great learning experience.  This is indeed their opportunity to begin a successful transition to the world of work.

If you would like more information about Michigan State University’s Washington, DC Internship Program, and other programs offered, please visit our Facebook page MSU Study Away Programs, or call 517-432-4541.

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Doing the Right Thing

Posted on November 21, 2011. Filed under: Career, Life | Tags: , , |

As an intern or entry-level employee, you will make mistakes.  This is normal, should be expected to some degree, and it doesn’t have to be a big black mark on your employment record.  What makes the difference is how you handle your mistakes.

 Do you ignore your error, even if it’s small, and hope no one notices?  No.

Do you deny responsibility? No.  Blame someone else? No.

Do you own up to it immediately, correct it and move on?  Yes!  This is called doing the right thing.  It might seem obvious, but it can be difficult in practice.

No matter how small the mistake, taking responsibility demonstrates ethics in the workplace and reveals something about your character to your employer and others.

Doing the right thing is never wrong, but it might not be easy.  It might not be popular, it might not be acceptable in a particular work culture, it may anger supervisors, and it may even jeopardize your job.  However, it is worth it to know that you acted in a way that is representative of your personal values.

Doing what is morally right, as opposed to legally or in accordance with work policy, may not be popular, but it defines who you are.  YOU are the one who gets to decide if your actions are morally sound.  Others may determine if you acted legally or within company policy, but the question of morality is one only you can judge.

How do you determine what is morally right?  My personal test involves my gut and a mirror.  We all have instincts that often appear as a bubbling in your stomach that rises up when something just doesn’t seem right.  Don’t ignore your gut.  Am I able to look at myself in the eye (mirror required) and like what I see? 

 If the answer is yes, I have stayed true to my personal values.  If not, I need to go back and fix it.

I’m not attempting to equate making a minor mistake on a report at work to the events as serious as those unfolding at Penn State, but how both of these situations are handled speaks to the character of those involved.

Values, morals and character are somewhat subjective terms, so it is left up to the individual to define them.  It’s not something that is established one day and known thereafter.  Instead, it’s a lifelong process of learning from mistakes and experiences that makes you better able to judge whether or not you have done the right thing.

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What the Heck is Work Ethic?

Posted on November 4, 2011. Filed under: Career, Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

According to, work ethic is “a belief in the moral benefit and importance of work and its inherent ability to strengthen character.”  Okay, but what does it look like, and why should you care?

What Work Ethic Looks Like

A person possessing a good work ethic arrives at work a few minutes early, they don’t drop everything just because the clock says it is break time, and they offer to help others get their work done when theirs is finished.  That’s not an all-inclusive list, but I think it gives you an idea.  Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that they don’t take breaks when they need to or occasionally enjoy some down time on the clock, but they understand the value of hard work.

Why Should You Care

I could write all day long about the personal and character building benefits of hard work, but since that’s not feasible here is just a sampling; it gives you a sense of accomplishment, a feeling of worth, and overall allows you to feel good about yourself and your place in the world.  Of course, this is assuming that you enjoy the work you are doing. (But, that’s a blog topic for another day!)

While I would argue that the personal benefits of a solid work ethic are reason enough to care, there is another compelling reason for employees and job seekers to care. Today published statistics on the topic of what employers are NOT looking for, or what they call “employer turnoffs.” Four of the five items listed could be described as demonstrating poor work ethic; unwillingness to work when needed, negativity, selfishness, and no commitment to the organization.

I am a firm believer in a strong work ethic as the single most important factor that will set you apart from other employees or job applicants.  That’s why you should care.  That’s it.

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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.

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A Wonderful Place

Posted on October 7, 2011. Filed under: Life | Tags: , , , , , |

Adolescence is often thought of as a painfully turbulent transformation in one’s life. Maybe it’s the eternal optimist in me, but from my perspective it is a magical time filled with opportunities, challenges and life lessons.  It’s the metaphorical butterfly emerging from a cocoon; the entire world opens up to a view of all that is possible!

Unselfishly (or so I thought) I have always been happy to offer up survival tips and cautionary tales to the young people in my life as a way to help them navigate tough transitions.  Ah, but I had ulterior motives.  By choosing to make advising adolescents and young adults my life’s work I have found a way to vicariously relive my younger days while absorbing a steady dose of ageless energy. Yes, I’ve found my own personal fountain of youth. My fountain doesn’t do much for wrinkles, but it works wonders for my outlook on life!

The intention of my blog is to provide practical information, as well as personal insight, to those approaching career and life transitions.  Based on my career, which has seen several incarnations of its own, as well as my education, the message I wish to bring to youth, as well as to my peers, is that where there is transformation, there is opportunity for learning.

Take the opportunity to live, to learn, and to come to the next experience with a greater understanding of yourself and the world.  If you are lucky (yes, luck plays a role) one day you will arrive at a wonderful place.  It’s the place you were headed to all along, but were not prepared for without the knowledge acquired during transformational times.

So, if you are transitioning from campus life to the professional world or from secretary to social activist, I invite you to make Tales of Transformation a part of your journey.  In the meantime, I will be in a wonderful place drinking from the fountain and watching the butterflies emerge.


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