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Internships critical to students’ future success

Falcon News Service

November 5, 2015

For college juniors and seniors, having an internship in the field that they are studying can be the stepping-stone to acquiring a full-time job once they take off the cap and gown and trade it in for a suit and briefcase.

Internships not only provide experience in the specific field, but also could lead to a job after graduation at the business or organization where the student completed his or her internship.

According to Career Service’s page on the UW-River Falls website, employers look favorably on candidates who have one to three internships during their time in college, and that does not happen overnight. Students with internships network with professionals to get to get their name out in the business world.

Michael Kline is a senior agricultural business major and he used the recent Career Fair to network and put his name out in the business world. He has had two internships while he has been in college and he said that his involvement in clubs and the Career Fair helped him acquire them.

Career Services and even two of the colleges at UW-River Falls have a specific staff member to help students with the process of getting an internship.

The College of Business and Economics (CBE) and the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences each have an internship coordinator designated for students in those colleges. While not all colleges have a specific staff member designated for helping out with internships, there are professors and department chairs who take on the role as the internship coordinator.

Audrey Ternes is the internship manager for the CBE and she helps the department chairs have a good experience with the students.

“I help find internships for our students, and then once they have gotten the internship, I try to help make sure everything is accomplished on time so that it’s a good experience for the student and the department chair who would serve as their advisor,” Ternes said.

Students from the CBE have success in obtaining a job with the company where they served as interns.

“I would say two-thirds of the time our students are given the offer of a full-time job,” Ternes said. “Sometimes, if they are a beginning junior status they’re given the opportunity to continue working for that company after their internship.”

CBE does not have any permanent partnerships with local businesses because internship opportunities fluctuate based on finances, but Ternes said that businesses do call the college to notify it when they have internships available.

Another one of Ternes’ duties is visiting websites of past businesses that have had internships available, seeing if they have them available again, and notifying students. Ternes and CBE sometimes team with Career Services.

“We work together a lot. If somebody calls and it is not something that I deal with, I refer them to Career Services and vice versa,” Ternes said.

Greg Thompson is an accounting major and Ternes’ assistant. He has had an internship and has another one in his future.

“Putting the knowledge you learn in class to the test because you don’t really know if what you learned in class is going to help in the real world,” Thompson said.

Thompson also said that the experience of his first internship helped him land his upcoming internship.