April Marvin, Staff Writer
Want to know what the internship experience is really like? We talked to students who have completed internships or are in the process right now to get the inside scoop.
Having a Ball at the Ballpark!
Briana Wooten – Intern for the Detroit Tigers (2022)
Briana at her internship site, Comerica Park, with the Detroit Tigers. Photo//Briana Wooten
Most students say they are nervous about internships. Were you nervous about anything?
“I was very nervous about finding one, and I almost didn’t have one in time. I was actually completing another internship when I got my call back from the Tigers. I ended up working with their premium sales, it’s the people who manage the suites at Comerica Park. I was nervous about being in sales and having to go on my own to make the connections related to my actual communications major.”
So many internships are different, what was a day in the life like for you as an intern?
“Luckily it wasn’t anything like stuffing mail envelopes or getting coffee. I was involved with the team and was in charge of my own projects. On a typical game day, I would come in, answer emails, prep and look over suites to identify any issues, and then stay on call for issues that came up during the game. I would work on budgeting items and help plan events in my downtime. Since I worked in premium sales, I was allowed to sit in a suite to eat lunch or do work with the ballpark in view, which was definitely the best part!”
What was your experience like in your time with the Tigers?
“The Tigers play 81 home games, which made for a super busy summer, as I had to be in the office for every single one of them, start to finish. There was once a rain delay, and I left the ballpark at 12 AM after starting at 1 PM that day. There was a lot of pre-game prep, lots of interaction and coordination between different departments, and lots of self-initiative. I learned a ton about sales and made important connections. The networking piece probably is the most important thing I got out of the experience.”
That’s a lot of time at the ballpark! There are so many students who think they may not be able to handle the workload of an internship. How did you manage your internship with school, life, work, and other responsibilities?
“I was really fortunate that my regular job allowed me to reduce my hours while I did the internship. The Tigers required me to work 40 hours per week. The season was still going when the fall semester started, and while they accommodated my classes, I was still expected to be there as much as possible, which was tough. Staying organized and sticking to a schedule is what got me through that September.”
Sometimes time management, organization, and determination are the only ways to get through a hectic schedule. What is any advice you would offer to students thinking about an internship?
“I know that internships are optional for most students, but if you really want to be able to compete for a job after graduation, it’s a necessity. Start early to really find an internship that you will learn from and/or will provide some networking opportunities for you. Put your best foot forward and ask questions! You’re surrounded by people who have their job for a reason, so use them as mentors or just pick their brain about what they do. Use the time to learn and decide if the field is a good fit for you. Even if you don’t end up in that field, never spare an opportunity to do something meaningful that can tie back to help you in the future. It’s a really great experience!”
Seeking Skills at the Smithsonian
Ava Abramowicz – Intern for The Smithsonian, Washington D.C (2022)
Ava on the steps of the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. during her internship. Photo//Ava Abramowicz
Did you have any nerves throughout the internship process?
“When I started my internship, I was most nervous about living alone in Washington D.C. for two months. I didn’t know the district very well nor anyone in the area. However, by the time my internship came to a close, I did not want to leave all the great friends I had made and the area I had grown to love!”
Being far away from home had to be tough. What was your overall experience like at the Smithsonian?
“I had the experience of a lifetime. The Smithsonian Institution offers interns the opportunity to learn and grow in a network of outstanding professionals doing incredible work far beyond the borders of D.C. As a member of the Emerson Collective Youth Collaborative (ECYC), the Smithsonian gives interns chances to network with one another, network with professionals from the Smithsonian and other ECYC affiliates, receive professional mentorship, attend social outings (such as baseball games, museum tours, e.t.c.), and participate in seminars featuring prominent individuals throughout the nation. D.C. is also brimming with vibrant city life, which allowed me and my friends to explore and experience D.C. culture!”
What was a day in the life like for you as an intern?
“No two days ever looked the same for me as a Smithsonian Institution intern. The aim of the internship was to enrich the lives of the interns through learning opportunities, so I attended many seminars that discussed pressing issues facing our nation today and learned about the individuals involved in such work. I was placed in the Office of International Relations, so I also attended office meetings revolving around the Smithsonian's global engagement, created a content package for the American Spaces program, and developed a Smithsonian Learning Lab.”
That sounds like great and interesting work. Was it hard to manage your internship with school, social life, family, work, etc.?
“My internship took place during the summer semester from June to August, so I personally did not have many other commitments to balance outside of my internship.”
Do you feel like your internship prepared you for your future?
“Yes, my internship helped to prepare me for my future career. A career in museum work had not been on my radar prior to my internship at the Smithsonian, but I am definitely considering it now!”
Is there any advice or last words you would offer to someone thinking about an internship?
“Go for it! Personally, it has been one of my most memorable experiences from my collegiate years thus far. Internships can offer you experiences, skills, insight, and memories that you had not anticipated gaining from the initial position description.”
Concentrating on Communication
Holly Lalicata – Current Intern for Detroit Public Schools Community District (2023)
Holly displays her official intern badge for DPSCD. Photo//Holly Lalicata
You're doing an internship as a sophomore, what made you want to start at this point in your college life?
“I have gained a lot of connections and friends through PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) on campus. From these connections and experiences I’ve had in the organization, I knew that it would be possible for me to start so early. I have always had the thought that I wanted to gain ‘real world experience’ early on in my life so that I have a true understanding of what my future career will look like. While I gain a lot through our classes on campus, you never truly know what you’re getting yourself into until you’ve done it. And I wanted to have that experience sooner rather than later.”
What attracted you to an internship with Detroit Public Schools Community District?
“I wanted to work for DPSCD because I love working with kids. While I won’t be directly involved with the children, the community and this experience revolves around them and their futures. I love that DPSCD is creating a better future for children, and I love that I can be a part of that. I also love the fact that I will be working in downtown Detroit. I have been wanting to be more involved with this amazing city and I am so lucky to be placed at the Fisher building, in the center of it all!”
Most students say the process of being an intern can be nerve-wracking, but that it goes away after some time. Have you had any nervous moments with placement or starting?
“I officially start my internship in person next week, so this week has been filled with a lot of doubts. I am a sophomore, so I have taken minimal classes, and have even less professional experience on the topic of public relations and communication — which is what I will be doing with DPSCD. The only nerves I have is the thought that I will not be good enough for the job. I feel very unprepared for the job personally. However, I think that the connections I have made on campus have helped me realize that I can and will be able to do this job. If not for the support of CASL staff and my peers, I know for a fact that I would not have even thought about doing an internship so early in my professional career.”
I think we all can feel like that sometimes whether it’s with work, school, or internships. Has the CASL internship office helped prepare you in the process?
“I could not have asked for a better experience with CASL’s internship office. I had a lot of issues with paperwork and prior experiences before starting my internship. Liz Clark and Professor Anthony Luckett were amazing through the entire process. They were extremely time efficient in responding to my questions, to my concerns, and to paperwork. I have gone to both of them with struggles I endured through the process, and they were so open and helpful through the entire situation. I literally could not have asked for anyone better.”
For the Humanities/History internship there is a class seminar required with associated coursework, can you talk about the class that coincides with your internship?
“This class ranks in my top three classes easily! I believe that college classes should better prepare you for what you will actually be doing in the future — and that is exactly what it does. In just the first month I have revised my resume and learned how to efficiently write a cover letter. Both of these assignments are things that I will be using for years to come, and I can start having amazing resumes and cover letters sooner than a majority of young adults. By the end of the semester, I will also have an online portfolio that consists of my work samples, general information, and more.”
The class is great in preparation for the real world and your professional portfolio. How has this process helped you overall in looking to the future?
“Well, now I know what I still need to fix with resume content and layout, and what employers actually want to see. It also helps because while I have done these assignments on my own before, the structured class forces me to put my best work out there. From here, I can finally finish my digital portfolio that I have been putting off and show potential employers what I can bring to the company.”
What do you look forward to in your internship this semester?
“I look forward to having real pieces I can put into my work samples. I love the idea that I will be given actual assignments and I can be proud of the work I put into them. I have been wanting to build up a portfolio for over a year now but have not been given work besides the assignments I have through school organizations. I am excited for a new chapter in my life and to be able to put the practice into action at last.”
The Bottom Line
No two internship experiences are the same, but the consensus is that the experience is well worth it. Internships can help students on the path toward a fulfilling career and future, while teaching some very important life lessons along the way.
All you have to do is fight the nerves, start early and prepare, put your best foot forward, and go for it! It can be game-changing. From developing important initiatives in Washington D.C. to knocking it out of the park with a home run for the Tigers, you hold the power to impact the world. An internship could be the very thing that helps decide your future.
Resources for internships at UM-Dearborn
Many of the other colleges on campus offer internship programs like CASL. If you are student in search of resources, check out the Office of Career Services: https://umdearborn.edu/office-career-services
For the College of Computer Science and Engineering, the Co-op Education program is a way to earn credit toward your degree while gaining experience as a practicing engineer. Students can contact Assistant Director of Experiential Learning, Anthony DeLaRosa at firstname.lastname@example.org
313-593-5145 or visit:
For the College of Business, students can reach out to the Internship and Career Management Center (ICMC). Not only does ICMC help with internships and job searches, but also offers career counseling, interview prep, mentoring, networking events and job shadowing opportunities. ICMC is open to all COB students, graduates, and alumni. Feel free to stop by FCN Suite 285, make an appointment via Career Connections, email email@example.com or visit: https://umdearborn.edu/cob/life-cob/internship-and-career-management-center
For the College of Education Health and Human Services, internships are field placements. These real-world placements help students develop skills toward becoming a professional educator. They offer clinicals, practicums, in-class service learning, apprenticeships, internships, and student teaching. Additionally, HHS field experience involve internships and in-class service learning. Students can contact CEHHS Office of Student Success at 313-593-5090 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: https://umdearborn.edu/cehhs/cehhs-office-student-success/field-placement-office