Learning on the Job: The Importance of Internships
Forget coffee-fetching or copy-making.
Though these tasks may still be on the to-do list of many interns, Malone students - past and present - have enjoyed the benefits of some extremely meaningful internship experiences.
Brit (Railing) Steiner ’08 is now working as the adviser on communications, private sector engagement, and donor coordination for USAID in Pakistan, to which she credits her two internships within the Consortium of Christian College & University (CCU)’s Best Semester internship program.
“I did both the American Studies Program where I interned with my current employer the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Middle East Studies Program when it was still based in Cairo, Egypt.” Steiner says. “Both played a huge role in my future. While ASP gave me a direct link to a job where I can follow my passion for international development, it was actually MESP that helped me realize that's what my passion was. Without it I'm sure I wouldn't have requested the internship at USAID that I did.”
Steiner says she fell in love with Washington D.C. during her first internship – and loved doing meaningful work.
“I was able to work on a religion and conflict toolkit there that is now used as a resource for those in the field who work for USAID to understand how to work in a religious-based conflict environment, as well as how to leverage religious actors for development objectives since often in these environments, religious leaders are also community leaders,” she explains. “And without community support, development programming will surely fail.”
While in Cairo – where she also visited all of Egypt, parts of Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine – Steiner witnessed desperate poverty, and volunteered several days a week at an orphanage in the middle of a landfill run by the Sisters of Charity.
“Giving my time to help feed and care for the children was rewarding, but the volunteering made me want to contribute something on a larger scale to broaden my impact,” Steinersays. “That's when I thought about working in the field of development.”
Abigael Snyder ’13, a double major in political science and communication arts, also interned with the Best Semester - American Studies program in Washington D.C., as a communications and marketing intern for the American Apparel and Footwear Association in Arlington, Va. in the spring semester.
She eventually wants to become a television reporter, and thought the experience with the AAFA would help her gain practical experience. The AAFA is the national trade association represents apparel, footwear, and other sewn products companies and their suppliers.
She had a lot of fun – attending galas, sightseeing, mingled with the likes of the president of Ann Taylor, dined in the same restaurant as Bill and Hillary Clinton – but she says she learned more than she ever could have imagined about issues such as public policy, immigration, the economy, and more.
And shortly after returning from D.C., Snyder left again to intern at a television news station in Pensacola, Fla., where her most memorable moment was landing an interview with U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney's wife, Ann, who was visiting breast cancer patients at a local hospital. Snyder's questions focused on Mrs. Romney’s own triumph over breast cancer.
Being able to make a meaningful impact as an intern also has helped Stephen Nzishura '13 find his calling.
A senior majoring in nursing and minoring in Bible, he pursued internships in both areas of interest in which he helped provide healing for both body and soul.
His first internship was with the Canton House of Prayer executive director of the Canton House of Prayer and Gateway church pastor, Mark Engel ’78; his second was on the oncology floor at Mercy Medical Center in Canton on the oncology floor for a year, where he helped care for patients.
“With my first internship, I learned so much about the value of having deeper intimacy with Jesus and intercession for others; and at Mercy, I was able to minister to cancer patients in a holistic way – physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally,” says Nzishura. “When you have a personal encounter with God’s love, He really does help you as you comfort and care for others in the midst of their suffering.”
He learned from other nurses as well – as he watched the professionals care for the whole person. He wants to deliver that kind of care overseas – either in his home country of Burundi or perhaps in China.
Last summer, Nzishura’s young brother David, 13, died of typhoid fever, an illness Stephen says could have been prevented.
“I want to improve medical care in other countries,” he explains. “And I hope I can be an example for others who choose to use their degrees to serve God in the same way – integrating their faith into their work.”
For help in searching for your own internship, see our Career Development section or talk to your academic adviser for suggestions.