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SMC teams with non-profits for internships

Ashley Charnley | Thursday, January 14, 2010

Saint Mary’s Cross Currents Program — an advising program designed to help students identify their calling and course of study as well as their career paths — is trying a different approach to coordinate summer internships at non-profits organizations.

Tricia Dunton, assistant director of the Career Crossings Office (CCO), said the program selected five organizations out of pool of 10 to team up with. The Family Justice Center of St. Joseph County, the Literacy Council of St. Joseph County, the Logan Center, the Northern Indiana Cancer Research Consortium and the Suicide Prevention Council of St. Joseph County are currently meeting with the Cross Currents Program for training sessions to learn how to create successful internships for students.

“They were chosen based whether they needed internship programs or they needed to refine their program,” Dunton said. “We wanted to make sure they would offer opportunities Saint Mary’s would find interesting.”

The positions being created will be available for students in the summer of 2010. Dunton said the internships would be released to students during the middle or end of February. At least five positions will be available, possibly more depending on what the organization has prepared, Dunton said.

The positions will probably not be paid, however Dunton said Indiana Summer Internship Grants will be available for students who apply for these positions.

Dunton said she would like to continue connecting with new organizations every year if the previous internships created are well established.

“Our goal in the end is to have these internships sustained, and develop it so we can offer it every year, maybe even in the fall and spring,” Dunton said.

She said she hopes the program will offer positions that will interest Saint Mary’s women.
“We wanted to give students new opportunities in places where we have holes or are lacking,” Dunton said.

She said the program allows the Cross Currents Program to be sure they are offering internships to students they are confident in.

“This puts our fears to rest, so to speak. We know the types of internships students are working on,” Dunton said. “I can even encourage specific students who I know will fit in well for that position.”

Overall, Dunton said she is trying to fulfill the goal of the Cross Currents Program, which is to create a stronger connection between Saint Mary’s and the surrounding community.
“This gets students off of Saint Mary’s campus and into the community more,” Dunton said. “It brings together a lot of the facets of what Cross Currents really is.”