As students in the Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) program gear up for their internships, we asked several alumni to reflect on their work with community organizations last year. Three former program participants from three different fields of study describe their internships and offer advice for current students as they seek out placements.
Ignacio Soriano, Dominican Republic
Edmonds Community College, 2013-2014
I studied the Project Management Certificate at Edmonds Community College. As a requirement to finish my certificate, I had to apply my newly gained skills in an internship. I always wanted to work in the government and for my internship I had the opportunity to work at the City of Lynnwood’s City Hall. During my time at City Hall I was responsible for developing a proposal for the establishment of a new program at the city. I had several meetings with the city staff and elected officials of Lynnwood and other cities. At the end my internship I had to present a proposal for the establishment of a sister city program to Lynnwood’s City Council. They adopted my proposal as the first step towards establishing the program. I also contributed to the development of other initiatives. The internship allowed me to apply my learned skills into my project. I had to develop schedules, identify deliverables and the most importantly deliver a “down to earth” proposal that the city may adopt in the future.
In order to secure an internship, you should feel confident that this is the job you want. When you feel confident, your interviewer notices you positive attitude. Practice your interview skills with different people and study the organization you want to join. Record your interview to watch yourself in the process and correct excessive gestures. Dress professionally even if in the place you want to work it is not necessary.
Claudia du Plessis, South Africa
Edmonds Community College, 2013-2014
Web Application Development
I studied the Web Application Development Certificate and in order to complete my certificate I had to complete a 4-credit internship. I did my Internship at the Student Technology Advice and Resource Team (START), which is located on campus. During my time at START, I designed more than 30 Google websites for the clubs at Edmonds Community College and I also helped students with technology problems. I learned a lot in class but working at START gave me a chance to use what I learned and apply it in the workplace. Working at START also allowed me to develop skills like communication, leadership, being able to work in a group, and learn how to deal with difficult situations. In class I was then able to break the barrier of being afraid to ask questions and through that I gained confidence. My time at START and in class taught me that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Today I am still be looking for a job but I am inspiring others to follow their dreams the way I did and to value who they are because they the ones who can make the difference. The world has so much to learn and see, all we have to do is be ready to share what we know.
The advice that I would give on securing an internship is to prepare! Know why you want this job and prepare in advance. Go over interview questions and rehearse them while looking in the mirror. Practice your elevator pitch everywhere like with your friends, on your own or even with people you just met. Dress professionally and most important, be on time.
Rara Yulianingtyas, Indonesia
Pierce College, 2013-2014
I was pursuing a certificate in Journalism when I did an internship at The News Tribune in Tacoma as a reporter. It’s the second largest newspaper in Washington state, yet everyone at work was extremely nice and very helpful. While I was there, I had to come up with story ideas myself and pitch them to my supervisor. The story that made to the paper was the one about host families. Although it was accessible for me to reach some host families, I still had to come out of my shell and interview a couple of people I had never met before to make the story more thorough and objective. From this project, I didn’t just develop tangible skills like managing priorities and writing long composition, but I also grew my confidence. This helps me in my current job as an advertising copywriter as I am expected to be able to present ideas to our clients.
My advice for students on securing internship is to join the business trips that your advisors arrange and introduce yourself to the important people in that business. Ask for their cards and write them e-mails. This will help you build connection even earlier. So when it’s time to do an internship, you’ll know who to contact. (Read Rara’s article in the The News Tribune here!)
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The opinions expressed in this blog by writers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Northwest Community College Initiative program, Edmonds Community College, Whatcom Community College, Pierce College, the United States Department of State or any employee thereof. NWCCI and Edmonds Community College are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied by the student bloggers.