The Harry and Bernice Vermeer Banquet Hall was buzzing with activity at the Central College Internship Networking Fair last week.
Companies, government entities and nonprofit organizations ranging from fine arts to economics converged on Central with the intent on finding qualified interns.
“Internship fairs like this expose students to the wide array of internships available,” says Dawn Reece, associate professor of sociology and the new faculty fellow for academic internships. “Students are given a chance to present themselves face-to-face and work on their interpersonal communication skills. It is a win for both the students and the internship sites.”
Grace Hirl, a junior business management and Spanish major working at Central’s Career Center, was pleased with the turnout this year. “We had 33 organizations and 62 representatives present for the students to meet and learn about internship and job opportunities,” says Hirl. “More than 100 students attended to find out about new opportunities. The fair was a huge success.”
Some of the organizations present were Pella Corporation, Cambridge Investment Research, Pella Regional Healthcare, the Army Corp of Engineers, Iowa Governor’s Office, Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge and Lutheran Services of Iowa.
Many students like Susan Elder, a sophomore communications studies and philosophy major from Pilot Mound, Iowa, gained valuable contacts from speaking with many organizations.
“I had a great experience at the internship fair. I heard of several internship opportunities in and around Pella that I was very interested in,” says Elder. “I feel now that I definitely have a plan to follow up and find an internship.”
For some students, the fair produced more than just contacts. “I actually had an interview during the internship fair,” says Hirl. “I had previously emailed the individual in charge of internships at LS2group, which is a marketing and public relations firm. After interviewing with them at the fair, I got a call that afternoon that I was selected as a summer intern.
“This event is a great way for employers to have a face to remember when it comes time to review resumes and could possibly be a student’s ticket to the top of the pile,” continues Hirl. “It’s good to network as a young professional and interact with various companies and organizations eager to meet Central students.”