Whether you’re a freshman or a senior, experience is valuable. This year’s Internship and Civic Engagement Fair is the prime opportunity to meet and talk with organizations of all kinds, including Wasatch Mental Health, Make-A-Wish, and the Waterford UPSTART Program.
The fair will be held at the WSC Garden Court from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 29th. Stop by when you can to learn how you can enhance your time at BYU and talk with various organizations while enjoying free refreshments.
Experiential learning means you don’t come to BYU for a degree alone. It means gaining unique experiences you can use in the workplace. Life is integrated; not only are you here to learn in an academic setting, but to learn as you interact with others and discover your own strengths and weaknesses. The Internship Fair is a fantastic way to gain exposure to the needs of the community and find your place within that context.
“There was a plethora of employers there,” said Madelyn, “from Allyse’s Bridal,Make A Wish,The Family Academy and BYU On Campus Internships. When I first arrived I was ready to go; I was going to find my internship and just feel like such an adult. Walking around and talking to many vendors, I found quite a few cool internships. Allyse’s Bridal was looking for students who could alter wedding dresses for them and would continue to work for them after the internship was complete”
She also met with a representative from the Provo School District who was looking for interns to work with their truancy officers, be able to make home visits, and facilitate good outcomes to sometimes difficult conversations about education, housing, mental health needs, and/or medical needs. The Make A Wish Foundation of Utah wanted interns for:
Corporate and Community Outreach and Development
Operations and Volunteer Management
Madelyn said: “The overall feeling I got from the fair was that what they really wanted was business people; students who take what they learned and apply it to some form of business, be it in the the traditional sense or in a more abstract way. Many of the internships seemed tailored to specific majors, such as Psychology, the School of Family Life, and Social Work.
Overall, she reported that the fair did what it said it would: introduce students to various employers who wanted interns.
Did You go to the Internship Fair? If so, was it helpful?
George Washington once said, “A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government… And what duty more pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?” Brigham Young University understands this and, to further political education, has an internshipprogramwith the Utah State Legislature.
FHSSPolitical Science professor Dr. Adam Brown, faculty advisor of the project, says that its purpose is to teach students “how to run a state. The Utah State Legislature is comprised of seventy-five representatives and twenty-nine senators…who only meet for seven weeks out of the year. During that time, they have to pass all of the year’s laws. With a few exceptions, these legislators have no personal staff. In Washington, each legislator has thirty to forty staff and all year to get their work done. The Utah representatives and senators do two to three times the amount of work in a much shorter time, and with no staff, than the national legislature does.” Therefore, interns are able to get a good amount of resume-building experience during their time at the Capitol.
A Student’s Perspective
Former intern Trevor Guy can attest to that: “I was the sole assistant to Senator [Lincoln] Fillmore during the legislative session. My duties included: maintaining the daily schedule, arranging meetings with other government officials such as fellow state senators and state school board members, obtaining and distributing documents necessary for the Senator’s committee meetings, managing the Senator’s daily blog, coordinating a lunch the Senator had with county delegates from his district. I also would attend committee hearings, town hall meetings the Senator held, and Senate floor deliberations but my main responsibility was constituent correspondence. I would answer most, if not all, of the Senator’s phone calls, emails and physical mail.”
Student intern Jenessa Taylor did similar tasks. Working with committees and on the House floor, she learned much through her experiences. She added that the internship was extremely valuable in that she had ample one-on-one time with Majority Leader Jim Bennigan.
There is another, less obvious, benefit from this internship: it gets women involved in politics. Political Science student Rachel Finlayson says, “…politics are a means of dialogue, of improving society, and of championing ethics and freedom of choice.” Encouraging women to become active in government will empower them and other women they come in contact with. She adds, “…as American citizens, our responsibility should be to help women to see politics as an option for them.” The Utah State Legislature Internship accomplishes this.
What About You?
Jenessa and Trevor offer the following advice to incoming and prospective interns:
Take a lot of initiative. Be involved and take everything as far as you can.
Get to know the other interns; you may form lifelong friendships.
Eat it all up. Get involved in every way that you can. Go to every event or program that interests you.
Go the breakfasts hosted by the House Rural Caucus. According to Trevor, “they have the best bacon I have ever had.”
Currently, the Utah State Legislature internship is ongoing. However, if you wish to participate, you can visit the FHSS Internship Office located in room 945 of the SWKT. Application and deadline information can be found here.
Does a student with a social science major have a potential place in the police department? The police department seems to think so. Otherwise, they probably wouldn’t have set up shop at the FHSS internship fair last month.
For the past four years, the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences has supported an Internship Fair for social science majors and minors. The fair has grown from 30 Internship Providers and 300 participating students the first year to 50 Internship Providers and 700 student participants this year. There were several kinds of internships offered at this year’s fair including:
Karen Christensen, Internship Coordinator for BYU’s College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences, has been organizing the event since its outset. “Often students think they need to finish up all of their coursework before they consider what they can do with their degree,” says Christensen, “But the best way to make the most of your undergraduate program is to integrate experience opportunities all along the way. Students can participate in basic volunteer opportunities early in their program and then participate in more meaningful internship experiences during their junior and senior years.”
“Sometimes social science majors start out planning on graduate school and then decide that is not the right plan for them. At that point, they think there are no other options available for them. That’s when internships can be really beneficial in trying out some other options. There are a wide range of opportunities available to students in the social sciences; it’s just a matter of getting out there in the mix to discover some of them.”
Social science majors can actually pursue a wide variety of careers, Many organizations are recognizing the benefits of hiring people who can think critically, problem-solve, communicate effectively, and understand people and relationships; and a background in the social sciences is the perfect fit.
That being said, social science graduates need to be able to connect the dots for the employer to show how their training and background has prepared them to be well-suited for the organization. And internship experience can be what demonstrates that match. This is not only because it shows they have work experience, but because it can give them a chance to explain how they’ve applied the skills they acquired in the social sciences to real-world scenarios.
“It’s critical to get experience along with your coursework. Doing so really helps you to apply the skills you’ve learned in the classroom – and that experience helps you be more marketable at graduation,” says Christensen. The Internship Fair helps students see the many opportunities available and can help them make connections with organizations that will strengthen their resumes and grad school applications in the future.
If you missed the fair, you can still find out about internships by calling 801-422-2168 or coming to 944 SWKT, or checking out their social media channels.