This story is part of a series that looks to highlight the benefits students derive from internships. FIU students are encouraged to seek out these opportunities by working with FIU’s Career and Talent Development Department as well as professors and mentors. Social work major Alessandra Krause is currently a fellow in the leading association for the advancement, health and sustainability of the student affairs profession – NASPA. Below Krause shares her summer internship experience at University of California Berkeley. Read more internship profiles here.
By Alessandra Krause
Currently, I am a fellow in the NASPA Undergraduate Fellowship Program (NUFP). This fellowship program pairs students with a mentor from FIU staff and administration to further discuss topics and interests in the field of higher education and student affairs. Being a part of the NUFP program allowed me to apply for summer internships at different colleges and universities.
In the application process, we were limited to ranking five schools. I was fortunate enough to interview with three out of the five schools I ranked: University of Vermont, University of California Berkeley and University at Buffalo. These were all phone interviews, my first time to do that as well. It was a good experience to see what a phone interview was like and learning certain techniques to use while you are doing one.
After interviews were done, it was a waiting game for a little while. After all was said and done, I was extremely excited to have accepted an internship position in the LEAD Center at the University of California, Berkeley (also known as Cal).
I worked within the LEAD Center at Cal with two other NUFP Fellows from Loyola University Chicago and Washington University. Imagine parts of FIU’s Campus Life office and Center for Leadership and Service put together in one office, that was basically what comprised the LEAD Center at Cal.
During my time there, I designed workshops on meeting facilitation and effective communication for the Cal Facilitation Team (equivalent to FIU’s Lead Team) to present to student organizations on campus. I also created assessments for their student programming council, known as SUPERB events.
Another project that I did with SUPERB was benchmarking for late-night programming. I called similar institutions to Cal and asked what their budget looked like, their marketing strategies and other similar topics related to late-night programming.
Also, the LEAD Center interns and I were fortunate enough to attend “Mentoring Moments” sessions with summer graduate interns from ACUHO-I and NODA [Association of College and University Housing Officers – International and National Orientation Directors Association]. These sessions allowed us to hear experiences from other administration across Cal, and expand our network in the Cal community.
What I enjoyed most about my internship at Cal was the willingness of the staff to help us with our projects and their openness about their life experiences and how they got to higher education and student affairs. It was obvious that the Cal staff had a desire for us to learn and they made it their mission to make sure we got the most out of our internship experience.
I encourage all FIU students to seek internships. Having the opportunity to work in an unknown environment is possibly one of the most valuable experiences you can ever have, as odd as that may sound. When you’re in the unknown, it offers you the chance to get out of your comfort zone and grow!
Aside from growth, in an internship you get to see things you like, and sometimes you see things you don’t like. Being able to know both will help you professionally and in the job search!