School increases its internship percentage

Gannon University students increased their interest in internships and co-ops during the year 2010-2011 by 23 percent as 174 students took a sneak peak on what their lives could be like once they graduate.

According to a report by the university’s Center for Experiential Education, nearly half the students secured a job with their respective agencies and organizations and continued to work for them beyond the initial placement. Students earned more than $16 an hour, an increase of 5 percent over the year period.

Cheryl Rink, assistant director of Gannon’s Center for Experiential Education, said in a press release that she felt optimistic about internship placements throughout the year.

“The significant increase in the number of students who secured internships and co-ops is very encouraging in light of the continued economic challenges and a national unemployment rate hovering at or above 8 percent,” Rink said.

In addition to positions secured through the center, hundreds of other Gannon students complete internships, co-ops and similar placements through their academic departments as well as their personal network of contacts, the report said.

Ben Speggen, managing editor of the Erie Reader – where many Gannon students have and continue to intern – said students looking to do a lot of magazine-style writings in a non-traditional way might find an internship at the Erie Reader interesting.

“Internships are crucial to students looking to open the door for career opportunities,” Speggen said.

Erika Greco, a senior communication arts major, currently has a radio internship at Connoisseur Media. From working the soundboard to writing commercials and meeting deadlines at different locations, Greco has her hands full in her hands-on learning experience.

“There is a lot more work and hours that go into radio production than what people think,” Greco said.

“I am learning to be more flexible and adaptable as I am constantly required to do more than one job and transition from one station to the next.”

Placement sites for the 2010-2011 academic year encompassed a number of industries and included the American Red Cross, Elderkin Law Firm, Erie Art Museum, Erie County Department of Health, Erie Times-News, FMC Technologies, GE Transportation, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, PNC Bank, SafeNet, UPMC Hamot, WJET, WQLN and Zurn Industries.

Seven students secured positions at more than one site.

Also, students worked an average of 15-20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters.

Hoping to leave the university more confident and prepared to move forward to their next step, students look for ways to utilize the skills they learn at school in internships they secure from the sources provided to them.

Natalie Pertz, a junior theatre major, just recently finished her acting and directing training at the National Theater institute in Waterford, Conn.

“My internship taught me that I don’t have to limit myself to being billed only as an actor, but I can direct and write as well,” Pertz said.

“It encouraged me to do and create rather than waiting for someone to set up creativity for me.”



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