Cynthia Huasipoma, a junior double majoring in art history and public relations, has taken full advantage of the internship resources at Montclair State University. She is currently interning at 3EPR, a public relations firm located in Montville. Huasipoma credits her advisors and the University for providing helpful resources in her pursuit of an internship.
“Montclair State has definitely helped me a lot,” Huasipoma said at an internship discussion event, which was held at Morehead Hall during Internship Week this past February. “There’s so many resources that are free that a lot of people don’t know about or don’t know how to take advantage of.”
Unlike many other colleges, Montclair State allows students to get internships for credit and pay rather than just offering unpaid internships. The number of credits available from completing an internship depends on the major of the student, but it typically ranges from three to eight credits. Four credits are earned with 20 hours of work a week, six credits for 30 hours a week and eight credits for 40 hours a week.
At her current internship, Huasipoma works about 20 hours a week and compiles media roster lists, writes press releases and pieces for blogger outreach campaigns and learns to deal with clients through email, phone calls or meetings.
Huasipoma earned her first internship the summer after her freshman year at the George Segal Gallery on campus. She then was hired afterwards as a student assistant. She makes it clear that internships won’t fall on to your lap.
“I’ve been to a lot of the leadership events, a lot of the career services events, and I’ve also definitely visited frequently my advisor, Courtney Fitzgibbons, in my career service department for the College of The Arts,” Huasipoma said.
Each college at Montclair State has its own career counselor who can help students in the internship search. They can serve students as outlets for internship applications, resume and cover letter help, business card designs, interview tips and social media assistance, such as creating a LinkedIn.
“The idea, in exchange for your time and your services, is that you’re getting mentored,” Fitzgibbons said. “If someone in this world is willing to give you feedback, you’re very blessed.”
Experience in a student’s desired work field is important, but so is the knowledge gained by working with professionals in the same field. Huasipoma considers networking to be a huge factor when it comes to interning. Connections and relations with people can go a long way.
“I think the most important aspect is having a mentor within your internship,” Huasipoma said. “I think having someone who can really give you advice on things besides your internship is great, because that’s a connection after your internship. It doesn’t just end there, but you’ll always have that one person to email or call, about how you can go about things.”
Employers offering internships believe an intern can be a vital part of a company’s goals.
Beanne DeGuzman is the director of civic engagement at the Bergen Volunteer Center in Hackensack, a company which strives to strengthen the community by connecting people through service and developing civic leaders. “When we interview interns we ask them, ‘What are your passions? What are you passionate about? What are the things you want to learn or get out of this internship?” DeGuzman said at an internship event in Schmitt Hall, during Internship Week. “More than us helping you, we also want you to help us. We want you to build skills to help you to land a real job.”
Huasipoma has acquired valuable experience through internships, which she believes will help her in the real world.
For many Montclair State students, internships are important, but finding them may be difficult. Huasipoma considers herself a proactive person. She looked through websites and asked friends, professors and advisors what type of internships would be beneficial for her field. She stresses, self-initiative is key.