Students are building résumés for future careers by thinking of internships as bridges to employment, graduate school or service positions like the Peace Corps. These students—from a variety of majors—are taking advantage of the many opportunities available in Naperville, Chicago and the surrounding area.
A head start on a law career
Kerby Kniss is one of two North Central students who landed a prestigious internship to learn more about fair housing law. The John Marshall Law School Fair Housing Undergraduate Intern Program combines a class in fair housing law and a supervised internship at a legal clinic that serves community members who have housing needs. “I’ve wanted to help people who are less fortunate and believe I can do that best by being a lawyer,” says Kniss, who is majoring in political science with a minor in conflict resolution. “I was looking for an internship focused on law and this program came highly recommended.”
Kerby is living in Chicago during her internship as a participant in North Central’s Chicago Term program. In her class at John Marshall, “we’ve discussed many topics such as the housing discrimination in Chicago and Supreme Court cases. And I’m interning at Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc.”
For humanity’s sake
Alex Pirela, social science/history major, and Callie Clay, anthropology major, spent their summer at The Field Museum. “This was the best professional experience I’ve had,” Alex says. “One of the most valuable skills I gained was confidence. Walking into a world-class institution on the first day was both exciting and intimidating, but as time went on I became competent in the skills I had learned, including professionalism.”
Gloria Levitt, a North Central alumna and associate registrar at the museum’s Department of Anthropology, offers scholarships and intern experiences to North Central students. They learn about acquiring, labeling and storing new items. “I actually got to help bring a collection into the museum—the interns and staff had to wrap delicate Mexican artwork and pottery and make sure none of it got lost or broken,” says Callie.
“Networking was also another extremely valuable aspect of this internship,” Alex adds. “I got to know a collections manager, who also does archaeology work, and now he is going out of his way to help get me on a dig. Overall the internship reinforced my passion for this area of work and I’m positive I want to work in museums.”
Training the trainer
Kristi Lishman, an athletic training major, is interning at the College of DuPage with the football team, as well as with volleyball and soccer players.
”I am involved with the injury evaluations and rehabilitation of those injuries,” she says. “And I do a lot of the taping for the football players before practice and games.” Her supervisor has also been showing her the paperwork and records aspect of the profession.
In preparation for a Saturday football game, Kristi starts taping players around 10:30 a.m. so the team can be ready to take the field by 11:15 a.m. Game time is 1 p.m.
Kristi has faced some unexpected adversity but is learning to overcome the obstacles. “The college’s athletic training room is currently under construction so we’ve been moved into a much smaller room, but we have taken full advantage of the space we have.”
Klariza Alvaran is completing a second corporate internship that uses her major in interactive media studies and her writing skills. After finishing a summer position at Allstate corporate headquarters, Klariza moved to work at the offices of a major corporation in the Willis Tower in downtown Chicago. “I provide customer support on Facebook and Twitter and I draft periodic engagement posts with users,” she explains. “I will also be doing some content management and creation for the company’s in-house social media channel.”
Marcella Wirtz is applying her majors in psychology and sociology: community studies to learning more about at-risk children at Christopher House in Chicago. The organization delivers family support services and education programs to children up to age 18.
While mentoring and tutoring at-risk teens, Marcella’s internship is helping her better understand adolescent psychology. “I’m looking at social issues, such as lack of resources and poverty in preventing kids from finishing high school.”
Physics majors finish with a big bang
North Central physics majors are benefiting from Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI) and are gaining high-level research experiences that will prepare them for graduate school as well as careers in engineering, physics and other technical fields. The SULI program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and accepted students receive funds for housing and travel along with a stipend.
SULI internships expose students to researchers who can open doors to their futures. “These students may attract the attention of researchers from Ph.D.-granting institutions,” says Paul Bloom, associate professor of physics. “This can open the door to the top graduate programs for our students.”