Kick-Starting Careers

The lazy days of summer? Not so for many Ursinus students. Instead, they spent their break developing skills, building their networks, and exploring their future career paths through professional internships. The Ursinus internship program stands out from other college internship programs  because faculty members guide the students throughout and make sure each student gets the most from the experience.

A student meets with their faculty advisor prior to the internship to develop intentional learning goals,” explains Carla Rinde, Director of Career Services at Ursinus.  “The student and faculty member reflect on the experience and what the student is learning. Additionally, internship hosts provide substantive challenging work experiences related to the student’s discipline.”

As a result, Rinde thinks when it comes time for a student to land a full-time job, UC graduates stand out among the sea of job applicants across all fields.

“Ursinus students feel more prepared to enter the world of work after completing an internship,” says Rinde. “Our internships that connect knowledge gained in the classroom with work in the ‘real world’ can be the key to success in the job market.”

Here’s where and how some of our students spent their summer.

Grant Bloomdahl 2013, History
Chester County Historical Society, West Chester, Pa.

The Chester County Historical Society (CCHS) is a nonprofit educational institution whose mission is to promote understanding of Chester County and Southeastern Pennsylvania. Through Bloomdahl’s internship at the Historical Society, he came to understand that  knowing Southeastern Pennsylvania is crucial to the study of American History.

“As both an Ursinus Student and History Major, I sometimes ignored the significance of the area that the College calls home,” he says.

Although Bloomdahl’s official title was Collection Management Intern, he was given a variety of responsibility. He helped manage the hundreds of thousands of pieces and objects in the museum, assisted in the storage and presentation of objects, and engaged in research that exposed him to the great diversity of the CCHS.

“I cannot emphasize enough how important this Internship will be for me as a newcomer to the job market, says Bloomdahl. “The things I’ve learned, as well as the fact that I can now list this on my resume, is invaluable.”

Shanita Brown 2013

Shanita Brown, Environmental Studies, 2013
John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, Tinicum Township, Pa.

The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge works with area educators to provide educational opportunities for local students. “Reconnecting Children and Families to Nature” is a national program and priority of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which administers the Refuge.

Brown’s internship allowed her to work in a wildlife setting like never before. She worked closely with trained biologists eradicating invasive plants, conducting bird surveys, and bird banding, a technique used to study wild birds. She also learned about bird and plant identification, maintained trails, and built boardwalks. She even ran summer camp activities for grade-schoolers, honing her teaching skills to educate them about wildlife and habitat.

“This internship allowed me to travel to other refuges in the region as well as meet so many people to build up a great network,” Brown says. “It will help me build a career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by giving me the experience and the knowledge in understanding the National Wildlife Refuge System.”

Liz Chatburm 2013

Elizabeth Chatburn, Biology, 2013
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia

Chatburn’s internship in the genetics department at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) confirmed that working as a genetic counselor would be a perfect career choice. These types of counselors are health professionals who are trained to help families understand genetic disorders by providing information, support, and guidance.

“My time spent at CHOP gave me great insight as to how daily life would be as a genetic counselor,” Chatburn says. “I worked alongside students that were already enrolled in genetic counseling masters programs and was able to ask them many questions about applying to a program and choosing the right school for myself.”

Additionally, Chatburn helped prepare patient charts for appointments,did rounds with doctors, and shadowed patient appointments with the genetic counselors and geneticists.

“I learned so many things about a multitude of genetic disorders,” says Chatburn. “The experience opened my eyes to the many opportunities within the genetic counseling field in specialties such as cancer, prenatal, and pediatrics. This information will be carried with me for the rest of my career.”

Gregory Fontaina 2013, Business & Economics
Fitch Ratings, New York City

Fitch Ratings is one of three nationally recognized statistical rating organizations that issue the credit ratings that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission permits other financial firms to use for regulatory purposes.

Fontaina worked with the Asset Backed Securities (ABS) department at this global company, updating and maintaining the company’s Student Loan Database. Fontaina felt landing a job at such a prestigious company was invaluable, but he also felt coworkers and bosses reached out to teach him how to get a full-time job when the time comes.

“My bosses taught me that, when in an interview, there is a difference between trying to sell yourself and trying to sell yourself to the point where you sound full of yourself,” he says.

Stephen Hayman 2013 (Major to come)
Advanced Alternative Media, New York City

Advanced Alternative Media (AAM) represents artists, songwriters, producers, mixers and engineers in a management capacity. Hayman was hands-on right from the beginning. He helped maintain the website by adding new talent and moving the current and older ones to different sections of the site.

“All the interns and employees were responsible for keeping our ears out for new music that the company might want to work with in the future,” says Hayman. “I was in contact with hundreds of radio stations, record labels, and managers in the music industry. I felt like I got a grasp on how the music industry works. But most importantly I learned if you want to succeed, you can’t be afraid to ask for new things to do, be as helpful as you can, and be willing to try and learn anything.”

Sean Kelley 2013

Sean Kelley 2013,
Business & Economics

Aberdeen Asset Management, Philadelphia, Pa.

Kelly never saw himself working in an office setting until he did his internship for the Compliance Department of Aberdeen, a global investment management group with U.S. headquarters in Philadelphia.

“The company itself is social and promoted interaction through an open floor plan,” explains Kelly. “No one has an office, including the CEO. Everyone is approachable and easy to talk to, so for me this was right up my alley.”

Kelly spent his days doing a company-wide review of the Gifts and Entertainment budget —a job normally done by a full-time employee. He also performed everyday tasks such as scanning and filing broker statements, and sending out derivative reports to Aberdeen’s offices in the U.S. and London.

“The time and effort spent at Ursinus really paid off in the workplace,” says Kelly.  “Aberdeen has a strong reputation within the business world, so an internship here will help pave the way to potential jobs in the future.”

Max Koren 2013, Math and Computer Science
Booz Allen Hamilton, Washington D.C.

Booz Allen is a strategy and technology consulting firm, and Koren was put on the Cyber Technologies team, working on a project about key management.  “Key” refers to a cryptographic key, like a password, that lets you securely communicate with another person by encoding your message. “Key management” deals with distributing millions of keys, changing them constantly to make it difficult for hackers to break the codes.

“When I first got here, the project was daunting,” says Koren. “But after several conversations with the experts of key management, I started to figure out how it worked.  There is no easy way to determine answers. We had to look through all the documents they gave us, searching for information on how many types of transmissions there were, how long they were, and how often they occurred. It was challenging work.”