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“A good internship is important and priceless. Take the time to choose a place that is right for your skillset or the skills you want to develop because that internship can blossom into so much more.”
- Donta Henson ’14

As students return to campus for the fall, many are sharing stories of a summer spent traveling with family, hanging out with friends and taking extra classes.

But for UMBC students who took advantage of the time off to engage in professional experiences, summer was also a chance to step outside the classroom and into the workplace. From managing corporate events for a top fashion designer to analyzing data at a Fortune 500 technology company, their internship, co-op and research positions have helped set them on a path to a successful career.

"I love being able to apply the skills I have learned in the classroom on real-world problems that need solving," says Alec Pulianas '14, Computer Engineering, who interned as a systems engineer for SAIC.

It's no secret that an increasing number of employers are looking for candidates with the practical skills necessary to hit the ground running. According to a 2012 National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) survey, more than 40 percent of new hires were expected to come from a company’s internship program. Additionally, NACE shared that nearly 60 percent of 2012 college graduates who completed a paid internship received at least one job offer.

"A good internship is important and priceless," says Donta Henson '14, Health Administration & Policy, who interned at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). "Take the time to choose a place that is right for your skillset or the skills you want to develop because that internship can blossom into so much more."

"Internship, research and co-op experiences play a critically important role in helping students find successful and meaningful careers," says Christine Routzahn, director of the Career Services Center. "We want our students to obtain the training and learn the skills necessary to not only find a job, but a career they are truly passionate about." She encourages students to meet with her staff to learn about the internship and job search resources available, such as UMBCWorks, a Web portal that serves as a hub for viewing job listings, organizing documents, and learning about upcoming career events.

This summer, nearly 800 students in the UMBC internship program applied their skills—and passions—to help non-profits advance their mission, support research integral to better understanding diseases like diabetes and cancer, and assist in developing real-world products and programs. Other students raised awareness of the benefits and impact of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), curated manuscript collections at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and worked in the packaging department of Baltimore’s Domino Sugar plant.

For students planning future internships, there's good news: according to a recent Internships.com survey, 53 percent of employers surveyed said they expect to hire more interns in 2013 than they did in 2012. But, before starting your search for the perfect internship, some of UMBC's recent summer interns would like to offer a little advice.

  • Kevin Johnson

    Kevin Johnson

    Internship: Domino Sugar Refinery
    Major: Mechanical Engineering, May 2015

    MY ADVICE – “Branch out of your comfort zone – it gives you an appreciation for all there is to learn. It is also important to experience a variety of professions before entering the job market as a new graduate. This will allow you to really narrow down your future plans to what you definitely know you're passionate about.”

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  • Jennifer Wachtel

    Jennifer Wachtel

    Internship: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Major: History, May 2015

    MY ADVICE – “Talk with professors in your department. They are invaluable resources, but you must seek them out on your own. I also highly recommend networking with professionals (including professors) in your field; don't be afraid to ask them about how they first started their career.”

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  • Kabish Shah

    Kabish Shah

    Internship: The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company
    Major: Mechanical Engineering/Mathematics, May 2014

    MY ADVICE – “Get started as soon as possible. The earlier you put a foot in the door, the better off you will be. Internship experience is invaluable.”

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  • Joshua Gehret

    Joshua Gehret

    Internship: Bridging Urban Mission Project (BUMP)
    Major: Ancient Studies/English Communications, May 2014

    MY ADVICE – “It's never a waste of time to connect to other people, since you never know what kind of opportunities may arise. There are plenty of service opportunities in Baltimore and other cities, and they're always looking for help, so just spend some time searching them out.”

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  • Polly Muangrat

    Polly Muangrat

    Internship: T. Rowe Price
    Major: Information Systems/Science and English Literature/Arts, May 2014

    MY ADVICE – “Don't be afraid to talk to ‘big name’ companies. If you express a genuine interest in the company and what they do, recruiters can see that and, in turn, show an interest in you.”

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  • Chris Harried

    Chris Harried

    Internship: HOPE worldwide
    Major: Political Science, May 2016

    MY ADVICE - “Internships are an invaluable source of real world experience that allows one the chance to explore different career options while still being in school. UMBC's internship and service-learning staff are extremely knowledgeable and offer access to an array of resources to help move students forward in their college career.”

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  • Meghann Ryan

    Meghann Ryan

    Internship: University of Maryland, School of Medicine
    Major: Chemical Engineering, May 2016

    MY ADVICE – “Apply to research opportunities even though you may not be entirely certain if lab work is something for you. Either way, you gain a plethora of hands-on lab experience and techniques that are bound to assist you.”

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  • Kyle Baker

    Kyle Baker

    Internship: Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)
    Major: Graphic Design/Media Communication Studies, 2014

    MY ADVICE – “Never feel intimidated by the position you are taking on or that you lack the experience to perform well.”

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  • Omolayo Fatola

    Omolayo Fatola

    Internship: University of Wisconsin—Madison
    Major: Biology, May 2015

    MY ADVICE – “Students should be open with their choices and also understand that, although they may know what they want, there are different ways to get there. It may not be the sort of experience that they hoped for but as long as they remain focused, they gain more than they expect from every opportunity.”

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  • Perry Ogwuche

    Perry Ogwuche

    Internship: Redbeacon
    Major: Computer Science/Mathematics, December 2014

    MY ADVICE – “I advise computer science students to look for internships that will allow them to work on real code. In my opinion the Silicon Valley runs the technology space, so if you are starting a career in computer science it must include Silicon Valley.”

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  • Rebecca Borland

    Rebecca Borland

    Internship: Globe Dye Works
    Major: Visual Arts, May 2015

    MY ADVICE – “For visual arts majors, I suggest visiting art shows (there's one in Baltimore in the spring) where you can meet and speak to artists from all over the country.”

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  • Stephanie Okpara

    Stephanie-Jane Okpara

    Internship: The Arc of Prince George's County
    Major: Psychology, Spring 2014

    MY ADVICE – “Look for it! Internships are out there, and sometimes the best ones don't offer money.

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