Internship program proves resilient in time of social distancing

Grove City College’s highly-ranked Career Services Office (CSO) has adapted to the “new normal” of the coronavirus pandemic and is finding ways to connect with and help students who are in a remote environment find the internships they need to ultimately secure great jobs.

Internships are one of the College’s hallmarks, according to The Princeton Review. Last year it ranked Grove City College number eight in the nation for great schools for internships based on the accessibility of internship opportunities at the College. Transitioning students from campus to home to keep them and the public safe during the pandemic hasn’t been a problem, according to Mandy Sposato, director of Career Services.

“Transitioning to virtual services has gone pretty seamlessly,” she said. “We are able to continue offering our students opportunities to schedule virtual appointments with our office and are driving students to robust offerings of online resources available to assist them in their search.”

Employers are considering various internship options in this time, she said, including reducing the length of the internship by delaying its start, transitioning to virtual internships, reducing the number of interns or cancelling all internships. “We are trying to follow up with employers and their decisions, as many are still in process,” Sposato said.

This spring, the CSO’s 2020 Internship and Summer Experience Survey revealed that 70 percent of respondents secured an internship, internship offer, had plans for a summer experience, such as a research experience for undergraduates (REU), or a summer job.  

History major Connor Schlosser ‘22 expected to get an offer for a paid internship with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) at the Erie Maritime Museum in Erie. But the pandemic required a change in his plans. Instead, a connection from home offered him summer work, and he is searching for museum opportunities that allow him to volunteer and to still receive hands-on experience. Schlosser also hopes to teach a church history class at his home church.

Caleb Vits (assistant director for employer relations and internship development) in the Career Services Office helped me connect with a museum which I hope to volunteer at and encouraged me to pursue serving my church community,” Schlosser said. “Especially, amidst COVID-19, the CSO continues to be available and has assisted me in pivoting my summer plans.”

Molly Marino ’21, a mechanical engineering major, will intern at CJL Engineering in Pittsburgh focusing on Mechanical Design in the Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) field. She’ll begin her experience working remotely. “I’m looking forward to this unique opportunity to work from home, as I think it’s an important skill to have in today’s technologically reliant world.”

“The CSO has been very helpful and resourceful during this time,” Marino said. “I took advantage of setting up a virtual meeting with Mandy Sposato to revamp my resume and get feedback to improve my LinkedIn profile, which is important, as people are using online resources on their devices even more during this time, and recruiters are more likely to check sites like LinkedIn for candidates.”

Computer science major Shaun Jorstad ’21 received offers from two companies in early May and accepted one of them. The following week both companies advised him that the positions were cancelled due to the pandemic. Alternatively, he plans to find local employment, and contribute to free open source software projects in his spare time. He said the CSO has been “very beneficial” in this time and he spoke with both Vits and Amy Evans, associate director. “I had reached out on very short notice, but the CSO office was able to set up a convenient time to meet with me quickly,” Jorstad said.

Kala Wooten ’20, had secured a spring internship with Packer Thomas, a CPA firm in New Castle, Pa. Due to the pandemic, her internship was cut short. Though she will not be receiving as many credits as she had anticipated, she is still on track to graduate this spring and learned from the unintended consequences her experience provided.

Grace Tarr ’20 was teaching fourth grade history at Grove City Christian Academy for her spring internship. Though the in-person experience was shortened, she is receiving full course credit teaching online classes. “Taking online classes for college as well as creating content for students in an online environment are nowhere close to being in the classroom, but I’m happy to remain connected to the students that I’ve gotten to know over the course of the year,” Tarr said.

“We continue to communicate regularly and strategically with Grove City students—especially our seniors. During this difficult time, we are encouraging students to focus on what they can be doing right now: staying positive, flexible, proactive and strategic, targeting employers/industries that are hiring right now,” Sposato said. “And ultimately, we encourage them to trust in God’s provision for them.”

For more about the Office of Career Services at Grove City College, visit gcc.edu/cso.

Internship program proves resilient in time of social distancing

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