Daily Egyptian

Students gain experience, connections in 2019 Extern Program

By Emily Cooper, Staff Reporter

35 students and 28 sponsors celebrated participants in this year’s externship program, a collaboration between the SIU Alumni Association and the Career Development Center. 

Angel Sanders, a senior studying TV and Digital Media Radio, was an extern at the Daily Herald newspaper in Arlington Heights.

“I personally don’t want to work for a newspaper, but I went in looking for skills to help strengthen my writing,” Sanders said. “Coming out of the extern program, I found a lot of connections.”  

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At the ceremony guest speaker Jacob Rose, a 2015 SIU graduate with a degree in architecture and history, spoke about his experience in the program and how it helped him get to where he is today.

“It gave me that first step in to networking with the local community I wanted to work with,” Rose said. “From there, I was referred to one job placement, which it was with someone they knew, and they automatically trusted who they were referred.”

Rose said when he participated in this program, he was an extern at Trivers Associates and Makey Mitchell in St. Louis.

Rose said the contacts gained through this program are really important because typically when someone moves into a new area, they won’t know anyone.

“Most likely, your chances are your initial contacts will be cold contacts, which you don’t know the person whatsoever, you’re approaching them coldly,” Rose said. “If you get to know the community beforehand, then you have an idea of who the right people are to talk to when you’re looking for work.”

Sanders said her experience helped her as much as she thought it would.

“Going into the externship, I was worried because I didn’t want to work for a newspaper, but coming back from it I got my work published in their paper,” she said. “I felt 10 times better because if someone asks me for a writing sample, I can easily show them my work on the Daily Herald.”

Sanders said her externship was nine-to-five, Monday through Friday of spring break.

“I invested in myself,” she said.

Jessena Fields, a senior business management major, said she externed at Vysnova Partners in Maryland, a public management and administration company who focuses on health administration.

“Since it was a small company, everyone took on multiple roles,” she said. “I actually got to work with a lot of different departments and do different things. I was working with the accounting, management and human resources departments.”

Fields said she already recommended this program to other SIU students.

“[The program] lets students get out there and [they] can be offered actual jobs,” she said. “It lets them figure out what they want want to do and what they don’t want to do.”

Rose said this program is all about getting to know people and networking.

“You may not necessarily get offered a job or an internship, but it is simply the fact that you’re making contact with people, and that you already have that contact established before you are even looking for a job,” he said.

This program is definitely worthwhile to anyone who even might have the slightest interest of participating in it, Rose said.

“They may not think it guarantees them a job, but it guarantees them a network start,” he said. “I always recommend this to anyone who is trying to look for something. This is the perfect place to start.”

Staff reporter Emily Cooper can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @ECooper212.

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