For two years, the Career Resource Center (CRC) and the Office of Alumni Relations have worked together to connect first-year SUNY New Paltz students with alumni employees for internship opportunities. On May 5, program participants gathered to catch up and look back on the mutual benefit of their time spent working together.
“Internships are one of a category of experiences that are known in higher education as high-impact practices, and one thing we know about these practices is that there’s value not only in going through them but in reflecting on what they mean,” said President Donald P. Christian. “As I’ve spoken with students here today I’ve been impressed with how you’ve reflected on what you’re learning in your internships and how that connects with your major. I’m so thrilled with how this program is evolving, and want to thank the Career Resource Center, the internship providers and all of the students who have seized this opportunity.”
First-Year Internship Program positions are neither paid nor for-credit, but they confer valuable professional development and allow students to develop lasting relationships with mentors. In exchange, the interns freely offer their time to make meaningful contributions to the campus community.
“I would absolutely recommend this to future first-year students,” said Maddy del Caño ’19 (Communication Studies – Public Relations / French), who worked with Composition Program Assistant Joann Deiudicibus ’00, ’03g (English). del Caño not only performed clerical and office assistant duties, but also was given a chance to research and propose shared course content materials to supplement the New Paltz common summer reading.
“It was a fun experience that provided a strong connection, at a time in my life when I was unsure of what I wanted to do,” she said. “Having that support system in an alumni supervisor, someone who can teach you and recommend you for future opportunities, is just fantastic.”
The success of the program is a two-way street, and depends equally upon the dedicated guidance and instruction of faculty and staff mentors.
“I wish to sincerely thank my colleagues and fellow alumni,” said Internship Coordinator Beth King ’95 (Psychology), who helps facilitate the First-Year Internship Program and herself works with a first-year student. “You have given these students the most precious gift you could possibly give them: your time in mentoring and helping them.”
King is joined in administering the First-Year Internship Program by fellow alumna and Service Learning Coordinator Erica Wagner ’08 (Humanistic/Multicultural Education).
The commitment of all participants has enabled the First-Year Internship Program to show a steady increase in internships created. For the 2015-16 academic year, First-Year Interns gave more than 1685 hours of service time to the College community.
More information about the Career Resource Center is available online.