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Students stay busy over summer holiday

Sara Felsenstein | Thursday, August 26, 2010

This summer was anything but lazy for Notre Dame students, who kept busy interning at various companies across the country, working at their summer jobs close to home or traveling to foreign countries.

Senior Claire Brosnihan had been studying abroad in Angers, France, last semester and traveled straight to Dublin, Ireland, after the semester ended for an internship.

“My finals ended on Friday and I flew to Dublin the next day. I got home in August and hadn’t been home since January,” she said.

Brosnihan lived in a flat with other Notre Dame students. She did legal research for the Department of Justice and Law Reform and worked on their Judicial Review.

“Getting to live and work in another country was really rewarding. You just get a different perspective on what the culture is,” she said. “By seeing the Irish justice system from the interior, I really got to learn what it is all about, and how it’s different than the justice system in America.”

Brosnihan ended her European travels with a weeklong biking excursion through the Irish countryside.

“I started in the southwest of Ireland in Killarney and ended up in the north by Galway,” Brosnihan said. “I went by myself with nothing but three outfits and a map. It was so great seeing all the little towns and meeting so many people along the way.”

Junior Molly Hunter also spent the summer abroad, completing a Student International Business Council internship in Benque Viejo, Belize.

Hunter analyzed and compiled math test scores of students in the Catholic schools across the country. She also helped to create a report for the government and school management that highlighted the need for a mathematics curriculum in Belize.

“Living in a developing country was an eye-opening experience which I was very fortunate to have,” she said.  

Other students stayed closer to home, completing internships related to their respective majors.

Junior KC Youm logged up to 70 hours a week between his two summer jobs at Notre Dame. Youm, a graphic design and marketing major, interned at Notre Dame’s internal design agency, AgencyND, and worked for DormDrinks, a food and beverage product delivery network for students, as a freelance graphic designer.

Between the two companies, Youm said the intense experience helped him to quickly improve as a graphic designer.

“I received a lot of advice and feedback from senior designers. Much of my experience was about trial and error,” Youm said. “I must have spent hours redesigning the same project over and over.”

Junior Matthew Frustaci, a finance and history major, also completed an internship related to his field of study. He interned at the Philadelphia branch of the Unisys Corporation, a company that partners with businesses and governments to improve their operational efficiency.

Frustaci said his internship helped him to learn skills not covered in textbooks, especially because seniors at the company mingled with the interns, offering them advice and guidance on their careers.

“A lot of [seniors] there were telling us that what you learn in school is not exactly what you’re going to use in the real world,” Frustaci said. “The real world is not necessarily about learning the theories — it’s about having a problem and finding the solution.”

Frustaci said his internship gave him a taste for what corporate life is like, especially how every project directly affects one’s ascent on the corporate ladder.

Sophomore Mark Sonnick, a physics major with a pre-med intent, spent the summer doing clinical research on HIV testing. He worked for the Jacobi Medical Center in The Bronx, New York — an area with an HIV prevalence rate of 1.5 to two percent, which is considered high, he said.

“I learned how to interact with people, especially how to speak properly about a loaded issue like HIV, he said. “Many people there are affected by it in one way or another.”