Approximately 40 undergraduate students met in Binghamton University’s Appalachian Collegiate Center on Thursday to discuss navigating internship searches at the Mountainview Spring Semester Internship Panel.
The event, which was held for the first time, was organized by several Mountainview College resident assistants (RAs). Henry Castillo, an RA in Windham Hall of Mountainview College and a senior majoring in economics, said that the event was designed to give students information on searching for and obtaining internships.
“We aim to put an emphasis on internships through events like this,” Castillo said. “Students get encouragement and inspiration from listening to their peers.”
The panelists were BU undergraduate students who have had prior internships. Panelists answered questions from the audience and talked about their own experiences at locations including PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, Kapetanos & Belibasakis, LLP, the High School for Community Leadership and the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development.
They also offered advice to students seeking internship opportunities. Panelist Delisa Hamichand, a junior majoring in English, stated that internships are important for students because they help them explore career options.
“It’s scary to start off looking for an internship, but it is necessary and something that you have to do to progress,” Hamichand said. “It’s helpful to figure out what field you want to go into.”
One attendee wanted to know more about ways to balance academics and work during the academic year. Panelist Ioanna Pefanis, a senior double-majoring in political science and English, interned with the Fleishman Center during the spring 2015 semester. She said that working during the school year was difficult, but far from impossible.
“It mostly is about being straightforward with the people you are working with,” Pefanis said. “It’s doable if you keep those lines of communication open.”
Others asked about the best ways to look for internships and learn about opportunities. Jacob Groezinger, a senior majoring in industrial and systems engineering, said that he obtained his internship at Deloitte by networking with recruiters.
“I demonstrated a lot of interest and built relationships with recruiters,” Groezinger said. “By the time that recruiters started hiring for internships, they knew I was a good candidate. You have to start early and be proactive about it.”
After the panel, students mingled and socialized over pizza. Laura O’Neill, a career and professional development consultant in residence at the Fleishman Center, helped facilitate the event. She said that peer-to-peer interactions afforded by events like this can help students learn how to network.
“The best teachers on campus are your peers,” O’Neill said. “When students talk with other students, they can learn so much. You want to listen to other students and their experiences.”
Many attendees like Ji Ni, a junior majoring in economics, said they came to the event because they wanted help with finding summer internships.
“I am trying to see what other students got out of their internships,” Ni said. “Hopefully, I can apply that to my own experience.”
Adrian Rivera, a junior majoring in economics, said that he felt the panel allowed him to gain perspective on the internship process from students much like himself.
“I came because most of the people on the panel were people we can relate to,” Rivera said. “Just learning what they did to succeed is something we can learn from and emulate.”