Thursday, October 19, 2017

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Summer interns at SDSU. Summer interns at SDSU.
 


Finding Talent at SDSU

SDSU Career Services expanded its efforts for students seeking internships.
By Tobin Vaughn
 

Monte Wylie knows an intern with potential when he sees one.

As a regional talent acquisition specialist for Enterprise Holdings, the world’s largest rental car company, it’s his job to identify promising young people for his company’s internship and management training programs.

He spends a lot of time on college campuses, particularly at San Diego State University, looking for the best and brightest for his company. A good intern, he emphasizes, is someone who is smart and ready to work.

“We're looking for someone not really (only) trying to gain experience,” he said. “I want individuals who are looking for a career path.”

Wylie said at SDSU he finds what he’s looking for. During a recent reception for summer interns and employers, he spoke highly of the university’s Career Services staff and the students they help prepare to work in a professional environment.

"I find them very well prepared,” he said. “This university has done a great job emphasizing the importance of internships and I know the Career Services program offers a lot of career development for internships by helping students find out how to get them, how to succeed while they're in there, and how to close it and get a job offer at the end of the day."

Early intervention

That’s exactly the kind of feedback Heather LaPerle likes to hear.

She is SDSU’s campus internship coordinator who says Career Services is making a specific effort to intervene with students earlier in their educational experience to emphasize the importance of professional internships and to assist young Aztecs in preparing for them.

 “We did a lot of work in the fall on the things they should be doing,” LaPerle said. “Resume review, interview skill prep, attending internship workshop series (and) doing any other two professional development activities — career fairs, other workshops, networking activities — to help them start their career and professional development."

Many departments on campus require internships as part of the degree program. Business students, for example, expect to complete at least one internship before graduation.

Other programs don’t require internships, but recommend them. LaPerle makes it clear her office will help prepare students for success in landing an internship, but will not go as far as matching students with employers.

“I'm not going to sit down myself and say, ‘Okay, this is the one you should apply for,’ she said. “But we definitely guide them to the available resources.” Those resources include career counseling appointments, workshops and a career resource room that's open 40 hours a week where staff will guide students through an informational website.

“But as far as placement goes, that is really on the student,” LaPerle said. “I tell students it's that ownership piece - having that initiative and that motivation to really find the opportunity that works best for them."

Confident and prepared

Over the course of his SDSU experience, Caesar Amparo (’15) found three opportunities that worked well for him. The recent mechanical engineering grad had never had a job before his first internship at a San Diego defense contractor between his sophomore and junior years.

Most recently he has interned with the City of San Diego. The former president of SDSU’s Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers says his internships combined with the preparation he received through Career Services make him feel much better about his prospects for landing his first real job.

“They give you mock interviews and pretty much train you to interview and that helped me prepare for my other interviews,” he said. “That helped tremendously.”

Amparo said he “can’t even count” the number of jobs he has applied for, but he isn’t worried about finding a suitable position just yet. He plans to travel Europe for a month at the end of the summer then be more persistent in his job hunt after he returns.

“I feel very comfortable with SDSU Career Services and the resumes (tailored) and workshops I've been to,” he said. “The mock interviews that they have and the leadership and intangible skills I learned from other organizations as well as school. I'm fully confident and feeling prepared."


If you or your company can provide an internship for an SDSU student, please contact Heather LaPerle at 619-594-3493 or via e-mail.