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Work experience helps students plan careers

staff writer

Published: Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 13:01

 “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed a man a lifetime.”
    Cassandra Stewart, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, said she incorporated this saying into her education at USU.

    Stewart worked in a nutritional lab one summer when she was still considering a major in chemistry. Stewart said she found her internship when searching the KSL classifieds after she went home for summer break.

    “By working, you learn a lot that you don’t learn in classes,” Stewart said.

    The popularity of internships, externships and fellowships has grown during the past several years. According to Reader’s Digest, 75 percent of college students complete an internship prior to graduation today while 3 percent completed an internship in the 1980s. Internship search engines such as and Fastweb and other career specific websites such as CubReporters are emerging tools that are helpful for students looking for such opportunities.

    While having a good resume, good grades and lots of extracurricular or club experiences appeal to those entities offering internships, networking still is one of the best ways to get a solid foot in the door at most places, according to Jill Montgomery, a sophomore studying geology.

    “Make connections now,” Montgomery said. “I actually was offered the internship because of a geology teacher I had at Dixie State College before I transferred to USU. Also, communicate with your advisers and show a desire for internships.”
    USU has on-campus resources to help students apply for internships. Career Services, located in the University Inn, provides free drop-in resume and cover letter editing, career coaches, practice interviews and general advice.

    The Huntsman Business College provides classes and social events focused on networking. Other departments provide similar networking support with alumni for their students.

    The Institute of Government and Politics helps students from any program across campus participate in internships in Washington, D.C.

    Montgomery interned at USU-Eastern’s Prehistoric Museum. She worked with dinosaur bones and turtle remains. She said it was really helpful for a student planning to do graduate studies in paleontology. 
    There are other useful experiences other than internships that can help develop a resume after graduation.

    Candie Richardson, a pre-veterinary studies student, said she works as a student instructor on campus.

    “It helps me a ton because you have to know the materials really well,” she said.

    She said she believes the job will help in her future education.

     “It will help me in my upper-division courses and with leadership experiences,” she said.

    Jake Anderson, a junior in accounting, took a different path. He worked for Liberty Tax last year and found that the experience helped him in his tax class this past semester.

    “It really helped some people out who did not know a whole lot about taxes and it really solidified my desire to do accounting,” Anderson said.


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