What They Did on Summer Vacation
Article by Carol Woodruff - Career Services
More than 30 students entered the third annual Career Services Internship Photo Contest submitting photos highlighting their summer 2016 internships and vying for a first place prize of a $100 gift card and a second place prize of a $50 gift card. The contest rules were simple. Send photos “that capture a great internship moment, whether it is a shot with a mentor, company CEO, the internship in action, or at an event connected to the internship. Photo should include visual reference to ECU (ECU logo, apparel, no quarter gesture, hook, etc.)” However, selecting only two from the many extraordinary options was far from simple.
Students were engaged in a surprising range of activities---underwater, on land, in corporate America, rural Belize, small towns throughout the US, and metropolitan Quebec. ECU interns could also be found this summer in Washington DC, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Georgia, Charleston, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Greenville. Internship experiences involved water and soil testing, disaster relief planning, underwater examination of shipwrecks, project management, training with the Green Berets, medical treatment, media writing, video production, working with legislators, delving into administration at the UNC General Assembly, teaching public health through puppetry, and more. One Biology major who had just completed her freshman year worked on phenotypic assays and DNA sequencing at the McGill AIDS Centre in Canada. Another student coordinated an outreach clinic providing free mammograms to uninsured and underinsured women, while another worked in the AOL Virtual Reality Lab, beta tested the HTC Vive Virtual Reality System, and pitched ideas to The Huffington Post, Mapquest, and TechCrunch.
Gurnoor Sangha’s photos were awarded first place. A Biomedical Engineering major, she interned at the ECU Innovation Design Lab. She explains,
This summer, I've been a summer intern at ECU's Innovation Design Lab (IDL). IDL is a MakerBot Innovation Center, the only one of its kind in the state, 10th in the country, and 12th in the world. At the IDL, I've been 3D scanning and printing dental impression using the MakerBot printers in our lab. The hope is to one day being able to go to a dental office with a broken tooth and leaving with a new permanent tooth in 2-3 hours. I've also been working under the collaboration of IDL and ECU's School of Dental Medicine using 3D technology to print dental surgical guides, which assist in positioning and angulation of the implants in the bone. The attached photos show me scanning a dental impression, working with a MakerBot printer and standing next to an IDL poster.
The second photo selected was from intern Lauren Forrest, who is completing her Masters in Occupational Therapy. Lauren spent her summer in the UNC Hospitals Newborn Critical Care Center. She wrote, My summer internship, or fieldwork as it is called in occupational therapy, was an amazing experience. For the past 11 weeks, I have learned and carried out the role of an occupational therapist (OT) at UNC's Hospitals Newborn Critical Care Center (NCCC). OTs in the newborn intensive care units support infant health by providing developmental interventions and parent education. Working in the NCCC has been both challenging and rewarding. There have been moments of joy when an infant showed progress towards a goal, and moments of sadness when a fragile life ended too soon. All of this has taught me something beyond occupational therapy—that is, to cherish life and be grateful for the little things. I am grateful for the “little ones” I had the pleasure of working with this summer and for the guidance my instructor, Lisa Bostic, OTR/L, has provided. This has been an experience I will never forget.
Interns were from nearly every academic division in the university community and majors included Biology, Biomedical Engineering, Nursing, Finance, Management, Counseling and Substance Abuse, Communication, Construction Management, Criminal Justice, Engineering, Hospitality, Human Geography, Industrial Distribution, Technical Communication, Public Health, and Social Work. While 30 interns reported 30 very different experiences, many of them talked about giving back to the communities and helping others. Others talked about the value of the hands on experience and the value of applying what they learned in the classroom to real world experience, and others referenced the opportunity to interact with professionals in their field.
“Internships are high-value learning experiences that help students develop technical skills but also promote development of teamwork, the ability to obtain and process information, organizational and planning skills, verbal communication skills, and decision-making/problem solving skills,” explained Jim Kuras, ECU Career Services Associate Director and Co-op Director. They also very often lead to employment. According to the 2015 National Association of Colleges and Employers Internship and Co-op survey, 51.7% of internships and 37.8% of co-ops were converted into jobs. ECU Career Services sponsors this annual contest to help bring attention to the excellent work being done by our students, the partnerships that the university holds with companies and organizations the world over, and to help parents, faculty, students and community understand the importance of students completing at least one internship during college.
Selected Excerpts from Intern Submissions
- I learned more in 10 weeks than in 2 years at my old job.
- What made my experience so memorable and awesome was the unbroken realization that I am now in a new chapter of my life, working professionally in a field I have wanted to be part of for over a decade. This is about more than a grade; it’s a major life achievement, and I didn’t take a second of this experience for granted.
- I now understand more about the intricacies of higher education and how education will play a role in my future as a healthcare professional.
- I can't wait to apply all that I am learning to my senior year and future career.
- Having the chance to become more educated about the role of a social worker in a medical setting, interacting with patients daily, researching and visiting outreach organizations and assisting patients with applying for resources are just a few duties I have begun to embrace, that will transmit into my future.
- During the project that this photo was taken the archaeologists and I were investigating possible shipwrecks that were reported by volunteers. The photos and measurements taken along with historical documents help us determine what ship these remains belong too. Being able to discover and share something that was lost so long ago is what made this internship amazing.
- This internship program has helped us understand that we are all here for one mission, to help people help people.