Emily von Qualen, graduating May 2011
I spent this summer in Minnetonka, Minnesota, interning for Syngenta, the world's leading agribusiness company, in the Human Resources Department. When starting my internship search last fall, I started by looking at large corporations because I had already interned in a non-profit and was currently interning at an entrepreneurial company. I wanted an understanding of how big business worked. I started by researching on the web and applying online, but had difficulty making contact with anyone, especially because I am not a business major. I am a sociology and environmental science major, and hardly any job listings called for my educational background. In the spring, my mom gave me the name of an intern coordinator at Syngenta. I called her, and told her that I what I was looking for in an internship. She eventually suggested a human resources internship, and I began the interview and hiring process. My advice for other students looking for an internship is use your connections and be persistent. I had to make several phone calls to the internship coordinator before I was hired.
For my internship with Syngenta, I worked on two main projects, creating a database of college and university rankings and also compiling a report and recommendation on exit interview processes. In addition to the projects, I was able job shadow various people within and outside of the Human Resources Department, attend a management training course, speak with various members of the leadership team, and visit several Syngenta offices in Minnesota and Iowa. The internship gave me a better understanding of what Human Resources entails and how a large corporation operates, while also improving my research, writing, interviewing, computer, and networking skills. My writing and researching skills which I learned at Valpo were very helpful when creating reports. Valpo has also helped me to manage my time more wisely between my activites, jobs, and class work which helped when I had multiple tasks to complete with limited time.
My experience with Syngenta has definitely exposed me to an international corporation and given me a better understanding of how big business operates. I found this especially helpful since I am not a business major. I definitely recommend internships as a valuable part of your education since they give real world experience. Even though I still find the thought of entering the "real world" a little overwhelming, I definitely feel more prepared for it because of my internships.
Gabby Bladdick, graduating December 2010
Communications and Public Relations major
It is almost imperative that public relations students obtain internships while they are still students. Companies look for the amount and quality of experience a student has, as well as their education. Since I am graduating in December, I knew it was important to acquire an internship during the summer before graduation. I began looking for internships in February, interviewed in March and accepted my offer in April.
My three-month internship at a small PR/marketing agency was one of the best experiences I have had. Instead of sitting in class and learning out of a book, I was able to learn by tackling hands-on projects. One of my major responsibilities was to create a blog and newsletter campaign schedule for two of
During my internship, I was able to work with graphic designers, web developers and SEO (search engine optimization) specialists, which gave me a very well-rounded experience. One of my favorite parts of my internship was the amount team collaboration that our office had.
Overall, I could not have asked for a more engaging learning experience this summer. Everyone I worked with taught me something new every day, and I am confident that my internship experience has prepared me for acquiring a job after graduation.