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Program assists College juniors

Meghan Price | Wednesday, September 2, 2009

As many Saint Mary’s College students begin their junior year, they start to think about life after graduation and the various career paths they will pursue. Tuesday night’s “Junior Jumpstart,” held at LeMans Hall, saw a large turnout of students eager to hear how the College can help their professional endeavors.

The weight that an internship carries on a graduate’s résumé is surprisingly strong, said Tricia Dunton, Assistant Director of the Career Crossings Office at Saint Mary’s.

“If it is between a résumé ­with an internship and one with other leadership or summer job experience, the one with the internship will get the job offer,” Dunton said.

She illustrated the various benefits that internships carry. Besides bolstering a résumé, they help students to network, award many students academic credit and often provide compensation, Dunton said. Many interns receive a full time job offer and enter their senior year with plans for after graduation already set, she said.

Another benefit, Dunton said, is that internships help students to decide where they want to take their career path.

“From internships, students learn what they like, and more importantly, what they don’t like,” Dunton said.

The Career Crossing Office at Saint Mary’s College is designed to help students prepare for interviews, write résumés and find internships and job openings. The Office helps student to connect with alumnae and different companies in their field.

“We want to help you realize what you want before you get a job and end up hating it,” Dunton said. “We want you to like your job and want to stay there.”

Ashlee Girard, an accounting major, said she found this talk helpful but that it also made her nervous for the future. Girard wants to get her CPA and possibly work at one of the larger marketing companies in Chicago.

Girard believes that an internship would help her achieve these goals.

“I will definitely be using the services of the Career Crossing Center,” Girard said.

Five Saint Mary’s students who had participated in internships last summer through various programs also attended the forum. These students, who had participated in internships in a number of different locations including Georgia, Oklahoma, Michigan, England and Germany, answered questions and offered advice to the juniors.

They said that as interns, students should be outgoing and take initiative. They encouraged the juniors to be comfortable ask questions and communicating with their superiors.

Rachel Eisterhold, a senior communication major, benefited from this talk last year and returned Tuesday to share her experience with the juniors. Eisterhold had an internship with a public relations company in her hometown of Tulsa, Okla.

Eisterhold said as a junior, this event helped her to plan for the future.

“It really helps students to get started thinking ahead and creating goals,” she said.

Career Crossing has an office in Spes Unica Hall and will also have a both set up every Wednesday in the atrium of the student center starting Sept. 16. The staff encourages al Saint Mary’s students to use their services.