FIU Student Body President Liane Sippin knows the value of an internship firsthand.
As a senior majoring in communication arts, Sippin interned with the FIU Alumni Association, where she worked with various alumni chapters on events and with the Cassandra Martino PR firm.
“Internships, in general, are about trying to figure out what you want to do in your field or what field you want to be involved in,” Sippin said. “It really helps you understand what you are getting yourself into after you graduate.”
In today’s competitive job market, relying on a college degree and good grades may not be enough to secure a job right out of college. Internships have become the gateway for students to gain real-world experience and display their talents directly to prospective employers.
To help more students have a chance at an internship experience, FIU and the Student Government Association (SGA) recently partnered to launch an online internship portal, at internships.fiu.edu.
Sponsored by SGA and spearheaded by the Office of Engagement with assistance from Career Services, the portal helps students and employers obtain information about internships, search for internships by college or school, identify helpful outside resources and view student intern success stories.
“The internship portal will be a vital tool for FIU students to find out about internships, as well as for employers to identify potential interns at FIU,” said Irma Becerra-Fernandez, vice president for engagement at FIU. “We hope the internship portal will be the first step in leading students to attaining quality jobs upon graduation.”
The idea for the portal came from an identified need for students and employers to access internship information in one central location. Many students and employers did not know where to start in searching for an internship or setting up an intern program, Sippin said.
“We wanted to create an easier way for students and employers to find out information about internships,” Sippin said.
During construction of the portal, student suggestions were taken into consideration in terms of what appeared on the site. Two focus groups were used to determine what features students wanted most and emails were sent to students and faculty to request feedback prior to the site’s launch.
Divided into three categories – Learn, Find and Succeed – the internship portal provides an easy-to-use structure of information for students and companies.
The portal includes links to Career Services, as well as department or major-specific internship listings, off-campus organization internships and multimedia accounts of internship success stories.
There is also a new internships Tumblr account where students are encouraged to post stories and photos of their own internship experience.
An employer section of the site provides information for companies looking for interns, as well as tips for structuring their programs around student schedules. Employers can also post internship opportunities directly on the Career Services job site Panther JOBlink.
With plans to obtain another internship before she graduates, Sippin said she hopes all students will use the portal to seek out internship opportunities.
“I want students to see that internships are going to be useful and beneficial to them in the future,” Sippin said. “They will become more competitive in the workforce.”