Career center helps students obtain a diversity of internships

by Dawn March, Staff Writer

The Career Center has been helpful to many students, and can be utilized by all students. The Career Center can help students obtain aid in perfecting resumes and cover letters, “career exploration, the full-time job search and the graduate and professional school application process,” as well as obtaining internships.

Courtney Baum, the Director at the Career Center, explained the process of obtaining an internship through the Career Center.

“We encourage students first through junior year (and even seniors if they have not yet completed an internship) to come to the Career Center and set up an appointment with our Internship Coordinator, Christine Sundry-Gregorini,” explained Baum.

Baum explained that Sundry-Gregorini sits down with students and aids them in writing their resumes and cover letters. Sundry-Gregorini also makes connections with employers about possible internships and career positions. She provides tips and techniques on searching for internships of any student’s particular interest or major, as well. Sundry-Gregorini also walks students through the “internship-for-credit” process. “Students are able to receive internship credit, if they obtain a position in their field or career of interest,” Baum explained.

“The Career Center also invites employers to campus to interview students for specific internship positions.  All internships are posted in our large database of positions at http://www.collegecentral.com/stvincent,” Baum said.

The Career Center has helped placed students at Bayer Material Science, BNY Mellon, PNC Bank, Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh, Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, Hillman Cancer Center, Allegheny General Hospital, Department of Psychiatry and also their Department of Neuropsychology, Loyalhanna Watershed Association, Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, and WTAE.

“To obtain a user ID and password to College Central Network, or to learn more about internship searching and opportunities, students should contact the Career Center at 724-805-2070, and ask to meet with Christine [Sundry-Gregorini].”

David Kaser, a sophomore biology-psychology double major, recently obtained an internship at the National Aviary located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Specifically, Kaser is a “Show Staff Intern” in the aviary’s show sections, where he works with various birds and other aviary staff members who are involved in the educational programs and shows.

Kaser found the internship position through a job listing on the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) website. Kaser said he used the Career Center to help him put together his resume and cover letter. “I did have Christine [Sundry-Gregorini] from the Career Center proof read my cover letter and resume,” Kaser said.

Kaser said that his internship applies more to his psychology major, but that the staff at the aviary do work in that involves knowledge in both biology and psychology. Kaser hopes to gain experience in both working with and training the birds.

“I wanted this internship because I knew that experience is going to be very important when I apply for full time job positions and also because this internship is in the same field that I want to eventually work in, so I find it to be enjoyable and very educational as well,” Kaser explained.

On any given day, Kaser works with a variety of birds, such as parrots, Amazons, Macaws, and birds of prey, like Hooded Vultures, Eurasian Eagle Owls, and Bald Eagles.

Kaser talked about his daily duties as a Show Staff Intern. The department is split into three sections, and each section’s daily routine is different. “For the most part, the day starts out with preparing all of the diets for all of the birds in our department. The birds we are currently using in shows or that are being trained are weight-managed, meaning that we record the birds’ weight each day and adjust their diets accordingly to keep them at their optimal weight for performing behaviors.” The birds that are not actively participating in shows or educational programs are referred to as being “one vacation,” and are given a “feed-up” diet, “meaning we give them plenty of food to keep the fed and healthy,” Kaser explained. “We aren’t as concerned about keeping them at a specific weight.”

After preparing the diets, Kaser said the interns are responsible for cleaning the enclosures of the birds’. Kaser said that the cleaning of the enclosures normally involves hosing out the enclosures to rid of any waste and leftover food. The enclosures are then scrubbed out. The birds’ water tubs are also cleaned, and “depending on the section, we also fully disinfect all of the enclosures once or twice a week,” Kaser explained. “To do this, we use a special type of disinfectant that is safe for the birds to be in contact with.

After the diets are prepared, and the cleaning is done, Kaser is responsible for helping to “crate and carry any birds used in the show to the theater so we can get them to their proper places where they will be released during the show.”

Kaser also serves as an usher for the show, showing guest to seats, and making sure all guests are seated. “We also pick out the volunteers that will have parts during the show.”

During the show, Kaser usually runs the computer system that controls the audio, visual, and lighting elements. “Or I am backstage helping to get birds released, caught, and moved to various spots during the show,” Kaser explained.

After the final show of day, the interns and employees disinfect all of the food dishes used throughout the day, and then begin the training sessions with the birds.

Kaser also spends some of the afternoon creating enrichments for the birds. “Enrichment can be pretty much anything we want as long as it is safe for that particular bird.” Kaser explained the interns build toys out of boxes, paper, wooden blocks, and cardboard disks, and the birds enjoy tearing them apart. “More or less, enrichment is pretty much anything that keeps the birds mentally and physically stimulated,” said Kaser.

Chad Meholic, a senior Marketing major, is currently residing in Nashville, Tennessee, where he is working with Country Music Television (CMT). Meholic, a Social-Media Intern, is in charge of “driving tune-in to CMT’s televised programs,” such as My Big Redneck Wedding, The Singing Bee, and Dukes of Hazard. Meholic explained that he uses Facebook and Twitter to promote the shows.

Meholic explained that his marketing major background has helped him “accomplish every task that has been assigned [to him] so far.”

“For every task, I assign myself an objective and then a strategy on how to achieve that objective. The consumer has to be happy in the end, in this case our television viewer, we try to engage our viewers within the social realm of marketing by providing exclusive clips and behind the scenes footage for them because it adds value to their perception of CMT as a brand,” Meholic explained.

Through the internship, Meholic hopes to become more aware on how social media can positively impact a company and their brand image.

Meholic said he wanted the internship to gain further insight in the corporate business world. “It would be easier for me to gain this insight with a company that I was already familiar with and had a passion for.”

Meholic explained that Saint Vincent Professor Dr. Dawn Edmiston’s Online Marketing class was highly appealing, and “highly influenced me to pursue a career in marketing.”

When Meholic saw that CMT had a position for a social media intern, he knew it was the perfect position for him, and believed it was a great opportunity for him to utilize what he had learned in class and apply it to the real world, and learn how to become a marketer.

Meholic explained that obtaining the internship was not easy, nor was it quick. He obtained the position with “a lot of hard work, dedication, and a little luck.” Meholic actually applied for the internship summer of 2010, and had an interview with the Social Media department, which, at the time, was a brand new department. Meholic did not acquire the position, but reapplied for a different internship through CMT again for the spring 2011 semester. Meholic moved further through the interview process. “The day after my second interview occurred, the coordinator called me back, with the manager of the Social Media department, and remembered interviewing me the year before and just wanted to see how I was doing.” Two weeks later Meholic received a call offering him the position as an intern in Social Media.

Meholic explained his daily routines and activities working with CMT. “Every day is different. The entertainment industry is constantly changing. I am Facebook posting and tweeting regularly about CMT’s television programs. Yet other days I could be sending out guitars signed by John Schneider (“Bo Duke” on Dukes of Hazard) to sweepstakes winners, or helping out with huge events to promote the CMT brand.”

Meholic explained how the entertainment industry is constantly changing, and stressed the importance of staying ahead of the trends and “listen[ing] to what our viewers are saying.”

“We know what shows are most popular among our viewers and what they liked about a specific show [or] episode by constantly keeping track of Facebook posts and tweets. Thursdays and Fridays we promote new episodes that will premiere during Friday primetime. Mondays we typically follow up with fans about Friday’s episodes and also encourage people who missed the show to catch up and watch them online through cmt.com,” Meholic said.

He also had Sundry-Gregorini help him file his paperwork. “She was a life saver in helping me coordinate my schedule for the spring since I would have to move to Nashville and be away from campus for a semester.”

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