Summer Internships Take Students Around the World
LISA Y. GARIBAR | July 02, 2015 | UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS
David Bowens, a senior majoring in health promotion, outside the headquarters of one of his summer internship opportunities in Detroit. Photo courtesy of David Bowens.
There and Back Again: With a gentle nod to J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, this is the 11th article in an occasional series covering the off-campus experiences of UTEP students with study abroad, internships and externships, because what students learn outside the classroom is as important as what they learn inside the classroom.
Taking their academic prowess out into fields far and wide, students from The University of Texas at El Paso are applying what they've learned in the classroom to an impressive range of professional opportunities during summer internships.
David Bowens, a senior majoring in health promotion, is in Detroit on a double mission. He secured a spot in the Future Public Health Leaders Program (FPHLP) at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and also was selected as a Center for Disease Control Undergraduate Program Scholar. The latter position has him serving as a health and equity intern with the Generation With Promise program at the Henry Ford Health System and as a public health intern at Eastern Market, the country's largest historic farmer's market.
"I decided that I would commit to this internship because it is every future public health professionals dream to work at the CDC and the simple fact that I got to spend a whole week at the headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, to jumpstart the internship was a dream come true," Bowens said.
During his time in Michigan and Atlanta, Bowens took full advantage of the fellow staff members, guest speakers and business professionals around him. "They will go out of their way to help us answer any questions we may have, even if you just want to sit and chat with them," he said.
Maria Laura Rodriguez, a senior majoring in industrial engineering, was accepted into the UT System Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) 2015 Summer Research Academy (SRA) Abroad program. She is conducting electrochemistry research at L'École Polytechnique in Paris.
"One of the goals I have as an undergraduate is to be exposed to different universities that conduct STEM related research," Rodriguez said. "I hope that at the end of my internship, I will have a reinforcement of my teamwork, time management, task prioritization and research skills. I also hope to strengthen my scientific writing and critical skills in addition to be able to define my areas of interest in research and engineering."
Elizabeth Delgado is working her first-ever internship and views it as a priceless step toward the work she aims to do after completing her master's degree in systems engineering.
"I strongly believe that internships are a great work experience opportunity and that it will help you to grow professionally," Delgado said.
The advice shared by these ambitious students encompasses action and determination. Bowens urged applicants to showcase their uniqueness and its ability to contribute to their field of interest. Delgado suggested her peers use their relationship with professors to their advantage, making sure that educators know of their goals and can then do some connecting for them.
Rodriguez admitted that the hardest part may be getting up the courage and motivation to simply begin the application, but she encouraged her fellow students not to approach the process by discounting themselves right from the start by believing they're not likely to be chosen.
"I was about to give up on applying for my current internship just because the application asked for an essay and because it is very competitive," she said. "Now I am having a once-in-a-lifetime experience conducting research in Paris. Also, those few days you take in the time for application preparation will seem difficult, but will always be 100 percent worth it once you get your internship."
Vianey Alderete – who received her bachelor's degree this past spring just as she found out she was awarded a Scripps Howard Multimedia Journalism Summer Scholarship to intern at Al Día, the Spanish-language arm of The Dallas Morning News – wanted all Miners to know that they can go wherever they set their mind to.
"Don't think you are not good enough to intern at the White House, New York, Los Angeles or London," Alderete said. "For many years I thought I was not good enough to be working in a great place because I came from a low-income neighborhood, and I believe making myself less almost stopped me from achieving my goals at one point. Where you come from does not determine where you are going. You may keep dreaming big and realize your goal by working hard."
Editor's note: If you have a story or an experience you think would fit this series, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: There and Back Again.