SARASOTA, Fla. (Feb. 15, 2018) – From government service positions to accounting jobs, USF Sarasota-Manatee students are finding success with internships.
“I really enjoy the work,” said Breanna Glover-VanRensselaer, a senior working part-time at Manatee County’s human resources department. “It’s a professional environment.”
With graduation a few months away, the 22-year-old is hoping to use her internship as a stepping stone to full-time employment. So far the signs look promising. She’s been asked to research the county’s benefit program, comparing it with programs at other Florida counties. At the end, she’ll present her findings to the county administrator and possibly Manatee commissioners as the officials look to attract and retain key employees.
The USFSM student is one of hundreds yearly who pursue internships to discern possible career paths while gaining valuable work experience. Glover-VanRensselaer landed the position after visiting Manatee’s offices last fall as part of USFSM’s County Career Connections program.
She says the job is a good fit overall and dovetails with her interests. So far, her research is showing how younger workers’ views on benefits differ from previous generations. Her insights could make a difference as the county considers modifying its benefits.
“I’m interested in the people side, what motivates them and makes them happy in their job,” she said.
Like Glover-VanRensselaer, Jordan Laterreur is hoping to transition to a fulltime job. The junior accounting student is interning at Sarasota-based Miles & Thirion. Laterreur says he’s good with numbers and with an accountant in the family – his mother – he’s long been interested in the profession. But it was an introductory accounting course a couple of years ago that convinced him he’s on the right path.
“It gave me perspective on what my mom does every day, and that helped me to see myself doing what I’m doing today,” he said.
Entering USFSM a year ago, Laterreur joined the campus Accounting Society to network with students and professionals. After a meet-and-greet last fall, a Miles & Thirion representative contacted him about a possible internship.
To prepare, Laterreur visited USFSM’s Career Services to run through mock interviews with Ben Heins, coordinator for internships and service learning. The exercises definitely helped, he said. Laterreur is interning four days a week, helping with tax preparation and extensions for businesses affected by Hurricane Irma. The experience is enhancing his education, as well.
“The internship is allowing me to apply what I’m learning in class, which in turn, when I take classes, is helping me to be successful in those too,” Laterreur said. “Every day I’m learning something new and it confirms to me that I definitely made the right career choice.”
Sami Araboghli said he’s also on the right path. The interdisciplinary social sciences student is helping with constituent services at Congressman Vern Buchanan’s district office in Sarasota. For some residents, he’s the first person they encounter when calling the office for help.
“My favorite part of this internship is that every day has a new task to be completed and a lot of what I get to work on is what I see on the news,” the junior said.
A Marine reservist, Araboghli is focusing on criminology and international relations and aspires to work in government, possibly the Foreign Service, after he graduates next year. The internship is allowing him to interact with constituents while gaining an up-close view of national politics and government.
“It opens your eyes to the behind-the-scenes work that goes on and a lot of what happens in everyday life in the district,” he said. “Some people on the phone want help and they’re appreciative for any assistance you can provide them. I feel honored to be a part of this office to help people with their personal matters.”
Heins said internships can make a difference when students want hands-on experience in their field of study.
“While interning, students not only get the chance to build relevant industry expertise, but they also have a unique opportunity to prove themselves to respected professionals and make lifelong connections,” he said. “I definitely would recommend that students consider an internship.”
To learn more about USFSM’s internship program, visit usfsm.edu/career-services.