Internships: Where Will UB After You Graduate?

The Spectrum

Sweaty palms. Racing heart. Is my tie on straight? How's my hair?

Interviewing for an internship can be a nerve-wracking experience full of worry and anticipation. Although it is only one step in the job application process, it is sometimes the most difficult to master. Applications, r?(c)sum?(c)s, connections, and interviews can get students in the door for an outstanding internship or can completely ruin their chances of receiving the job of their dreams.

UB has students seeking internships in most fields of study. As a top-tier research university, the school offers unique experiences that attract students with drive to get internships with some of the best companies out there.

According to Career Services, located in 259 Capen, internship experience is consistently the number one item that employers consider when selecting college graduates for career opportunities.

In making sure that students are best prepared not only for getting internships but also performing well when they get them, UB provides many services for students who need help.

Counselors from Career Services specialize in preparing r?(c)sum?(c)s and providing one-on-one interview practice. In addition, the Career Services website offers a wealth of information and resources designed to help students prepare themselves.

The website features organizational tools for r?(c)sum?(c)s, a program designed for interview practice, and contact information for employers looking to hire interns.

Freshman computer science major Nick DiRienzo has a sense of what he wants to do in life, and he recently accepted the opportunity of a lifetime.

This summer DiRienzo will travel to Mountain View, Calif., as a paid engineering practicum intern for Google. Although he isn't sure exactly what kind of work he will be asked to do, DiRienzo is extremely grateful for the opportunity and excited to begin his work in June.

"It's going to open a lot of doors and expose me to cutting-edge technology and industry practices that a top-tier company like Google uses," DiRienzo said.

The program that DiRienzo will be participating in is specifically for freshmen as part of a fairly new internship opportunity offered by Google. Over the summer, DiRienzo will be assigned two mentors at Google while also being a part of a student intern team assigned to work together on a project.

DiRienzo became aware of this special opportunity after Google recruited at UB in the fall. After expressing his interest, he was given the information to apply for the program, and Google recognized his potential and moved him through to the interview process. For this phase, DiRienzo sought the help and guidance of the faculty within his department.

"They were really nice and really approachable. They're willing to sit down with any computer science student, or any student really, who has interviews to prepare for," DiRienzo said.

Dr. Atri Rudra, Dr. Geoffrey Challen, and Dr. Steve Ko from the computer science and engineering department worked one-on-one with DiRienzo by asking him difficult questions that could potentially come up in an interview.

This preparation proved to be enough for the two 30-minute technical interviews that DiRienzo successfully completed before getting the notice that he was accepted into the program. Although the details of his interview are classified, DiRienzo said that the process was fair and designed to meet the level of experience in the field that a freshman should have.

While many freshmen don't seek or have the chance to participate in an internship, DiRienzo breaks the mold with his various networks on campus and passion for his field of study. By joining various clubs and approaching the right people, he obtained the necessary help to give himself a chance.

"If you have an idea, roll with it. If you want to meet somebody, find a way to do it and don't stop until you do," DiRienzo said. "Networking is key."

Fortune tends to favor the bold in seeking internship opportunities, and UB has the resources for those needing an extra bit of help to prepare or begin the process to kick-start a special academic experience.

While many take advantage of the opportunities offered by UB, others believe that the majority of the work has to be done by students on their own. Students with internship experience know that drive and determination are required in order to pursue a dream career and the special internship that may lead to it.

"The majority of my looking and organization for an internship was because of my own determination, I didn't really have any help," said Karrina Vattana, a junior double majoring in Spanish and biomedical sciences.

Vattana has completed two internships in the health services field that gave her credit toward satisfying honors experience requirements.

Her first internship was with Gilda's Club of Rochester, a support group for families of cancer victims and survivors. Vattana was exposed to the harsh emotional realities of dealing with cancer patients and their families' struggles during hard times. This position helped her realize that a job in this field would carry too much of a burden for a long-term career choice.

Vattana's second internship, through Rochester's Sunset House, was a position she enjoyed more than her first. Sunset House is a member of Hospice, and Vattana assisted with all the daily activities and necessities for patients living in the home. It was at this internship that she found her niche and envisioned herself enjoying similar work down the road in her career.

"I definitely feel that my internships have given me a sense of what I'm comfortable doing and what I dislike," Vattana said. "My internships really helped me solidify the fact that healthcare is a field that I truly want to be a part of, and they helped me outline how to reach my end goal of becoming a physician."

Internships guide students to careers they dream of and steer them away from ones they aren't cut out for. By establishing a network and utilizing campus resources, internships can become a step into the future in any field.