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Path to Employment

Career Services collaborates with SDSU colleges to enhance student internships.
Linda Guzzo, center, checks with Adam Seperack and Lucy Velasquez on the progress of their internships.
Linda Guzzo, center, checks with Adam Seperack and Lucy Velasquez on the progress of their internships.
Students enrolled in “professional” majors such as journalism and hospitality and tourism management know that internships are a fundamental piece of their university education.

Now, a new twist on the traditional internship is enhancing the educational experience for these majors and thousands of other San Diego State University students.

Guided internships are paid, for-credit internships completed in conjunction with an academic class that helps students merge classroom and professional experience.

More than 5,600 SDSU students were enrolled in 228 internship classes across the academic spectrum in 2012-2013.

Student success


Many of the internships are developed and maintained through SDSU Career Services, a division of Student Affairs. Over the last decade, Career Services has built partnerships with companies and organizations in the San Diego region to create career opportunities for SDSU students.

The division has also established a network of Aztec alumni who, through their employers, provide internship opportunities for SDSU students.

“SDSU alumni are active in San Diego and want to make a difference here on campus,” said James Tarbox, director of Career Services. “Many of them want to contribute to the development of SDSU students through internship programs.”

Tarbox characterized for-credit internships as high-impact experiences, central to student success.

He noted that student success is one of the three primary goals of Building on Excellence, the recently completed strategic plan that established the direction and priorities of the university for the years ahead. Other goals are research and creative endeavors; and community and communication.

Sharing experiences

Tarbox teaches BA 401, a guided internship class for undergraduates in the College of Business, in which the group discusses resume-writing, networking, job interviews and related issues. He has set up a Linkedin group for the class to exchange information, articles, advice and experiences.

In a recent post, finance major Adam Seperack shared his experience working for Hackett Herman, a wealth management group associated with global banking giant UBS.

“I have dabbled in everything from preparing tax packets for top clients to coordinating marketing events,” Seperack said. “Some of the work is marketing, rather than directly finance-related, but I think it will be useful in a number of different starting positions.”

Lucy Velasquez is also a student in BA 401. Her internship with the advertising and branding agency i.d.e.a. has opened up new opportunities for the marketing major, who will graduate this month.

“I’ve done research when the agency is attempting to pitch a new client, and I’ve also analyzed the traffic to clients’ websites using Google Analytics,” said Velasquez. “It’s interesting to learn what the consumer wants and what the clients are looking for.”

Hundreds of opportunities

Linda Guzzo supports the students in BA 401 and other guided internship classes in SDSU’s College of Business Administration.

She is part of the college’s Center for Corporate and Community Involvement, dedicated to creating and maintaining relationships in the San Diego business community.

“We have service learning agreements with more than 500 companies,” Guzzo said, “and we look at every one to be sure both students and companies are benefiting from the internships.”

Career dreams

In SDSU’s Department of Journalism and Media Studies, former journalist and current faculty member Nicole Vargas supervises as many as 100 student interns per semester.

"For students in our majors—journalism, public relations, advertising and media studies—internships serve as the bridge from the educational experience here at San Diego State to the career they dream of pursuing after graduation,” Vargas said. “It is for many the first real taste of life in a professional setting.”

Amanda Guerrero is a print journalism major, but an internship at KPBS opened her eyes to the opportunities in radio, television and online journalism.

“I've been able to apply the skills from my journalism classes in a professional setting,” said Guerrero, who was accepted as the sole copy editing intern at the Seattle Times for summer 2013.

Graduating seniors and recent alumni are invited to attend Career University, an intensive four-week training to help with the job search. Call SDSU Career Services at 619-594-6851 or visit Aztec Career Connection for more information.
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