Aside from flowers blooming, concerts and carnivals, springtime is also a very busy time of year for applying to summer internships. Luckily for students, Eckerd has a skilled team right on campus ready to help with this stressful but exciting process.
According to Internship Coordinator for Environmental Studies David Himmelfarb, an internship is much more than a resume builder.
“They’re a great opportunity for students to use the skills that they have, whether that is communication or graphic design or GIS or research or any of the things that you are developing in class,” Himmelfarb said. “[You can] use those skills to contribute to the needs that organizations have and to benefit the community as a whole.”
One of the trickiest things is finding an internship that works best for you. Luckily, Career Services and Himmelfarb have made that process even easier with a huge database of internships.
“There are all of these different, great opportunities floating around, but they don’t all live in one place,” Himmelfarb said.
The Eckerd College Environmental Studies Opportunity Database creates a “first stop” while students are looking for internships, research experience or a job. Updating daily, there are opportunities from all over the country and around the world. Students can contact Himmelfarb or Career Services for more information.
The application process for any internship is long and a lot of work. Students have to apply to many in order to secure a spot in just one. It can be daunting to have so many tabs open on your computer, so many cover letters to write and a resume to make absolutely perfect.
Senior Camille Harkenrider has plenty of experience with this. One of her biggest pieces of advice is to go to Career Services.
“I love how Career Services has revamped their whole system and tailored it more to the students and what they need, and made it more accessible,” Harkenrider said. “I go in there all the time for help with cover letters or resumes, tailoring them for a certain position, and also with the job search.”
Most of the time the work pays off, and students can have some of the best experiences of their lives. Or students can discover what they do not want to pursue in their academic or career paths. Harkenrider saw this from her internship during her junior year over Winter Term.
“I am very much about environmental education, and I thought that was what it was going to be, but it wasn’t,” Harkenrider said. “It wasn’t the one-on-one education experience that I am looking for. So it was good in helping me figure out what I do not want to do. Still worthwhile for sure.”
However, during an internship this past summer she was able to gain a new perspective. She worked at Little River Wetlands Project in Indiana helping to run the urban turtle research project.
“It was really fulfilling for me because I could see how much the day-to-day research and surveying can help with conservation. And that what I want to do is conservation,” Harkenrider said.
If a student is left without an internship, Himmelfarb recommends persistence and communication.
“It is really important for students not to wait for the opportunities to come to them,” Himmelfarb said. “That can be scary but you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone. And that is what internships are supposed to do is to expose you to new situations.”
The process is grueling, and the experience can be scary. But internships are a way for students to gain professional skills, engage in the community, set themselves apart for future opportunities and make decisions about academic or career paths.
“On a personal level, [internships help in] figuring out what you want to do and don’t want to do, learning about yourself, how you work with others, how you work individually and how you can improve in those areas,” Harkenrider said.