After just a week, FIU senior Jennifer Vidal felt as if she knew the ropes at her internship at Baptist Hospital. She was already charting, learning medical terms and seeing patients. Vidal, a recreational therapy major, completed her internship in February.
“From the very first day, you feel at home and that’s something that you’re not going to get everywhere,’’ she said.
Because of the quality of its internship program, Baptist Health South Florida is one of 10 companies recognized this year by FIU for providing students with learning experiences related to their career paths. The companies were honored recently at the Torch Awards as members of the 2nd Annual President’s Internship Honor Roll.
“We wanted these companies to be shown as role models,’’ said Vice President for Engagement Irma Becerra-Fernandez, who helped select the 10 companies from more than 60 nominees. “These are companies that are doing great work with internships. It’s a big thank you to our partners.”
In addition to Baptist, the honorees for 2013 include: Deloitte, Florida Power and Light, Marriott, Miami-Dade County, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami Veterans Administration Healthcare System, OHL, Scripps Howard Foundation and Ultimate Software. This will be the second year that Baptist Health and Miami-Dade County are recognized for their internship programs.
Another 43 companies were recognized as “Dean’s List” honorees and received a letter thanking them for their work with student internships.
FIU’s Office of Engagement, in conjunction with the Division of Human Resources and Career Services, is working to match more students with on and off campus internships that provide a learning experience geared toward their career paths.
“Internships undoubtedly help students grow,’’ said Ivette Duarte, interim director of career services. “They allow students to decide from their experiences if that’s what they want to do in the future.”
Molly Blaes, Deloitte’s campus recruiter, said she felt honored to represent a company that provides great learning experiences for FIU’s interns.
“Working with FIU is great,’’ she said. “The students are hard workers and Career Services is very helpful. We have a great partnership with them.’’
In an internship experience, Blaes said Deloitte tries to provide leadership development opportunities, professional and technical skills, as well as networking opportunities.
The effort is having an impact on the number of FIU students securing internships.
In the 2011-12 year, 4,183 students participated in internships. In 2012-13, the number increased by more than 11 percent to 4,650.
“Students are now seeing that internships are valuable and employers want mainly graduates with significant experiences related to their careers,” said Becerra-Fernandez.
Duarte said her office always tries to align internships with meaningful career-related experiences.
“Not every job can be an internship but when there is an opportunity, we try to structure it in a way that gives students exposure to their field,” she said.
To learn more about internship opportunities at FIU, visit internships.fiu.edu.
– Simone Garvey-Ewan