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Internships Abound for Motivated Students

July 20, 2007

Internships Abound for Motivated Students

Josh Franco knows all about hurdles. He once ran hurdles with a shoe untied and still finished in third place.

So managing multiple tasks, competition and his own self-doubt didn’t prevent him from taking on two important intern positions this year. He works in the office of Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi and also as the state coordinator for California Students for Barack Obama.

Both internships were awarded competitively. Franco wrote cover letters, submitted applications, resumes and letters of recommendation, and was interviewed numerous times.

Franco, who graduated in May and was last year’s student body president, is one of hundreds of UC Merced students filing through the office of
Career Serviceseach week, looking for full- or part-time employment, internships or volunteer opportunities.

UC Merced students have found internships this summer as diverse as the student population itself -  some are working with area television stations, at group homes for the developmentally disabled, with companies like Pacific Gas & Electric and in marketing firms.

Leslie Lawson, employer relations and internship coordinator, contacts potential employers and internship directors to introduce them to UC Merced students.

That way, she said, students aren’t making cold calls. When students contact Kelly Patterson, assistant director of the Career Services Center, about career or volunteer opportunities, Leslie provides contacts. The Career Services Center also posts job listings online at the UC Merced site.

While finding jobs in the Central Valley can be a daunting task, often employers are looking for volunteers; these unpaid positions are great additions to resumes.

Some internships are paid, but others, like those that Franco won, are not.

But Franco, 21, has learned invaluable lessons on how state government works (or, as he puts it, does not work), managing grassroots organization, and how policy is affected by politics and personalities.

Perhaps most importantly, he is on the ground floor of the next generation of politics - the Internet Generation.

Ultimately, there is no ultimate career plan for me, he said. But as I recently learned, ‘chance favors the prepared mind.’ Thus, I work to ensure that my mind is prepared for whatever endeavors or opportunities the world offers.

… Students, and anyone else for that matter, should consider a job description as a launching pad to take greater action. Ultimately, we are bound only by the limits of possibility in our mind.

Interested students should contact the Career Services Center.