A student intern works in the field taking samples from a pond.

One of the most exciting parts of your Middlebury education can be participating in an internship.

An internship provides an opportunity to explore your interests and gain experience—you might follow a personal passion, connect to your academic work, volunteer with a not-for-profit organization, or confirm your interest in a particular career path.

According to a 2019 national survey, employers are seeking candidates who have skills in problem-solving, teamwork, communication, and leadership—and who have completed internships. Completing one or two internships during your time at Middlebury will give you valuable experience that matters to employers.

No matter your interests or what you decide to pursue, CCI is here to help you dream big and accomplish your goals.

What is an Internship?

Middlebury defines an internship as an experience that:

  • Provides real-world experience beyond the classroom.
  • Involves reciprocity, i.e., a mutually beneficial experience for both the student and the internship provider.
  • Includes a high level of supervision, training, and mentoring.
  • Typically takes place in winter term and/or summer.
  • May be credit bearing during Winter Term.
  • May be a self-directed project.
  • Can be local, domestic, or international.

Tips for Getting Started 

  • Apply to internships on Handshake (login is your Middlebury email).
  • Browse other Handshake Resources, such as:
  • Check out Middlebury’s Cohort Internship Programs such as Social Impact Corps, FoodWorks, MuseumWorks, CLIMB, and Privilege and Poverty Internships.
  • Check out CCI’s Career Path Pages for internship news, resources, and industry-specific databases and internships. 
  • Learn about CCI resources and how to start your internship search with a Peer Career Advisor at Quick Questions—no appointment necessary. PCAs can also help you create or edit a résumé and cover letter; first check out our guides, sample résumés, and other great tools and resources
  • Make an appointment to talk with one of our Career Advisors who can give you targeted advice in your field of interest.
  • Research industries and organizations that are of interest to you and then build your knowledge base and make connections by networking with over 3000 alumni on Midd2Midd—our database of alumni who have volunteered to offer you career advice and information about their career field or industry. LinkedIn will also offer you opportunities to connect with 30,000 more alums!
  • Tell your friends, parents, professors, and everyone you know and meet that you are looking. You never know when a conversation will lead to more information, contacts, or a great tip. Get the scoop on networking
  • Use our Self-Reflection and Career Exploration guides to learn more about your skills, interests, and values, or Vault Career Intelligence (in Handshake Resources) for targeted information for liberal arts students about career fields and preparation for entering those fields.  
  • If your summer internship is unpaid, apply for CCI’s funding for unpaid internships

Internship Credit

Please note that Middlebury does not typically grant credit for summer internships, except in cases where an organization requires the student to earn credit or a student on an F-1 visa needs to apply for Curricular Practical Training.  In these cases, the student may enroll in a Field Work course through the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. See the Internship Credit link in the left-hand menu on this page.  

To earn credit for an unpaid Winter Term internship, you must complete an application to request credit. See the Winter Term Internships link in the left-hand menu on this page.  

Student Stories from Summer Internships: A Center for Careers and Internships Panel Discussion

At Middlebury, students don’t just learn how to engage the world—they go out and do it. Even in the midst of a pandemic, our resilient and innovative students participated in meaningful internships (many of them remote) this summer. They gained valuable experience, contributed to research on Covid-19, cancer and climate change, taught children, brought the arts online, and used language, writing, research, and analytical skills acquired at Middlebury to benefit major NGOs, corporations, non-profits, and campaigns.

Check out the recording of our Fall Family Weekend Zoom panel discussion below. Hear directly from Middlebury students about how transformative internship experiences can be and what advice they offer to help students find and secure the right internship for their interests.

Summer Internships Panel

Middlebury students share their transformative internship experiences and advice on finding the right internship. Hosted by the Center for Careers and Internships.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
Thanks everyone for coming and welcome from the Center for Careers and Internships, also known as CCI. I’m Cheryl Whitney Lower. I’m the associate director for internships and early engagement. And I’m joined here today by six Middlebury students who have agreed to share their stories about their internship experiences. Peggy Burns executive director for CCI will join us at the end of this session for questions. And then Rachel Connor is in the background. She’s our colleague at CCI and she is working this webinar. So we’ll have a Q&A section at the end. So feel free to write your questions in the Q&A section that you’ll find at the bottom of your screen. Before we get to the panelists, I’d to give a brief overview of internships and CCI’s internship programs.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
So many people know that internships have become increasingly important part of a student’s college experience. An internship is an opportunity to gain real world skills and experience by working for an organization, being mentored, and learning about different career paths. Supporting opportunities for experiential learning is a strategic priority for Middlebury. And Middlebury and CCI are committed to making these opportunities available for every Middlebury student.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
Employers and organizations love our students because their Middlebury education has taught them to be creative thinkers and problem solvers, strong writers and collaborative team members. They have learned to conduct research, analyze texts, and data. They are smart and they can apply their liberal arts learning to their work and to larger world issues. Internships often result in our students having more clarity about how they want to spend their time at Middlebury, what they want to major in, what classes they’d to take, what kind of senior research they want to conduct, what issues they want to learn about, or get involved with as well as helping clarify their goals for the future.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
All the while they are building networks of people who can help them pursue those goals. Most Middlebury students do internships, lab experiences, or other experiential learning opportunities before they graduate, many do two or more. There are lots of windows of opportunities for students to participate in internships. So they don’t need to feel pressured to do one during their first summer or every summer. One of those opportunities at Middlebury is winter term. When students can participate in internship and earn credit for it. Most students are doing their internships during the summer. These summer internships are not for credit. We have a platform called Handshake where we have thousands of internships posted, and we have many, many other places for students to find internships. At CCI we have seven advisors who can work with students to find or create the right internship that fits their interests.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
The advisors all specialize in different areas, arts, media and communications, help professions in the STEM fields, business and finance, law, policy governance and consulting, social impact and education. If your student is interested in politics or medicine or international development or theater or studying glaciers in Alaska, we have an advisor for that. And if students have no idea what they want to do, that’s perfectly fine. We start with wherever students are and take them to the next step, helping them determine their interests, plan, explore, build their story and prepare for the future. We also have peer career advisors who can work with students to get them started, craft a resume or cover letter and answer questions. And we have a huge network of Middlebury alumni who are eager to advise students and help them find opportunities. Mid to mid is our alumni networking platform that connects students with alums for short term advice or for longer term mentoring relationships.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
There are lots of opportunities for students to find paid internships. The database I mentioned Handshake typically has about 65% paid internships and 35% unpaid internships. We recognize that some internships that students want to take part in are unpaid. So CCI offers internship funding grants in the summer for students with unpaid internships. We have $1000 grants for first year students and $3,000 grants for older students. This money comes mostly from alumni donors who recognize the value of internships and want to support our students.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
So now I’d really to get to the main part of this session and have our panelists tell the stories about their internships and what they’ve learned. I think from hearing their stories, I think you’ll see that there’s a rich display of experiences that they’ve had and what that will also demonstrate the breadth of opportunities available to students. Before we get to these questions, I’d just them to introduce themselves. So panelists I’ll call on each of you in turn, please introduce yourself with your name, your year, your major, and a couple of things that you’re involved with on campus. So Steve, can we start with you?

Steve Cayetano:
Yeah, definitely. Hi everyone. My name is Steve Cayetano. I am currently a junior, I’m part of the class of 2022. My major in Middlebury is neuroscience and I’m also on the premed track. Some organizations that I’m involved with on campus is Alianza Latinoamericana y Caribeña, it’s a cultural org that tries to enrich cultures based in people who identify as Hispanic, Latinex or Caribbean. And we try to promote a safe space and a cultural space for anyone to enjoy at Middlebury.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
Thank you and Mary.

Mary McCourt:
Hi everyone. I’m Mary McCourt. I’m a senior Feb Middlebury. So I’ll be graduating February of 2022. I’m an economics major and I’m double minoring in political science in American studies. On campus I am the social chair for Middlebury Women on Wall Street. I run the TMT group for Middlebury’s Student Investment Committee and I’m also a peer career advisor at the CCI. So if anyone has any questions about what the PCA’s can do, happy to answer them.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
Okay. Thank you. And Jack.

Jack Allnutt:
Hi everyone. I’m Jack Allnutt. I’m a super senior Feb, so I’m on my last semester here at Middlebury. I’m an architectural studies and environmental studies joint major. And on campus, I am very involved in the habitat for humanity community engaged projects that we worked on, with design, affordable housing for Addison County and Virginia. So that takes a lot of my time. I’m also on the log rolling team. That’s fun.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
Thank you. And Francoise.

Francoise Niyigena:
Hi everyone. I wish I could see everybody’s face, but it’s really nice to have everyone to join us today. My name is Francoise Niyigena and I’m a senior graduating 2021, hopefully. But I am doing a double major in neuroscience and psychology with a minor in education studies. And my biggest passion is empowering young people. I’m hoping to do that through rethinking education systems. In terms of my involvement on campus, I am the co-director for the SG Diversity Equity and Inclusion this year. I’m also a social entrepreneurship fellow at The Center for Creativity and Innovation. I’m a Bold Women’s scholar. And finally, I’m a student on the student advisory council for the psych department.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
Thank you, Nate, how about you, go next?

Nate Gunesch:
Yeah, absolutely. I’m Nate Gunesch. I am a senior here at Middlebury. I am a political science major. Here on campus I am involved in a couple of different things. So I’m involved in something called Dolci, which is a student pop up restaurant on campus. Hasn’t been operating this year. It’s a little bit hard for students to be running the show in the dining hall but that’s a really cool opportunity. I’m also involved at the knol which is the college’s organic farms. So I’m one of the interns out there this fall.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
Thank you, Nate, and Slone.

Slone Parker:
Hi, you all. I’m Slone. I am a junior and I’m double majoring in biochem and history. So I used to row with mid crew, but since I’m not on campus this semester, fortunately I can’t. And I’m the secretary of the American Chemical Society branch at Midd.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
Thank you very much. Okay. So now we’d to hear your stories about this summer and what you learned and how internships connect to your academics and plans for the future and any wisdom you’d like to share for other students. And of course, I’m sure in your storage, we’ll probably hear about how COVID-19 impacted your plans this summer. So I’ll just say what the order’s going to be, and then I’ll call on you. So Francoise, we’re going to start with you and then Slone, then Jack, then Mary, then Steve, then Nate. So Francoise, we look forward to hearing about your story and your summer.

Francoise Niyigena:
All right. Thank you. So I guess I’ll start by mentioning that in terms of the different opportunities I’ve had, because obviously I’m a senior and graduating soon. So I’ve been lucky and privileged to have different opportunities from the CCI. And a lot of it has been around education and I’ve been looking for opportunities around organizations that are doing rethinking education in a way that they’re providing more alternative education opportunities. So this summer I actually was going to do an internship in Australia, but that got canceled with COVID. So I missed out on that. I was out here trying to figure out, okay what do I do now? I was going through Handshake and trying to figure out how last minute thing. And I came across an opportunity to work with Team4Tech and Team4Tech actually partners with the CCI, so, which is awesome.

Francoise Niyigena:
It’s an unpaid internship, but we get a stipend of $1000. And so Team4Tech partners with nonprofits from different countries across the world, but really with organizations and schools that are providing tech ed solutions for underserved communities. And so this year we partnered with an organization in Malawi, one in Rwanda and one in Kenya which was great because I also got to work with about 24 girls in Rwanda. I was working on three teams, but I think the ones I was most excited about was working with the girls, one on social innovations that they were all working on. And so I had the opportunity to be their mentor and then the other one was kind of guiding them in the whole college application process. So I guess challenges with that was time difference because these girls were in Rwanda and I was here in Middlebury and it was about seven hours’ time difference.

Francoise Niyigena:
But the other piece of it was also just access to resources because not all of them had access to internet or computers, even though we had to do Zoom calls or WhatsApp calls. I was challenged to be creative around that. I ended up studying a YouTube channel because I was thinking, well, I want this girls… I had a couple frameworks that I wanted to work with them through. I was hoping to really work directly with each of them, but didn’t know how to make that possible if I couldn’t connect with all the groups or all the girls at the same time.

Francoise Niyigena:
So I figured, well, YouTube channel, they can watch these videos ahead of time. And then when I can I’ll check in individually or two or three of the girls when I can and when they’re available and depending on what resources they have access to. I think that worked great. So yeah, just learning to be flexible along the way and my schedule is very, very flexible too, because sometimes they were available at 10:00 PM and other times not available at 8:00 AM and so, we didn’t have a fixed work schedule, but I also really appreciated just the challenge to be creative in the process. Yeah.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
Okay. And does that connect at all with your academics or what you’re thinking about for the future?

Francoise Niyigena:
Oh yeah, absolutely. So in the future, I’m really wanting to work with young people. A lot of, I guess what I want to do is thinking about my own education experience. I feel my own my education experience was very wrought learning, rigid education system. I feel it takes so much away from young people in terms of being innovative and just really untapping their full potential. So what I wanted this to work with young people I was doing over the summer in terms of social change or supporting them and figuring out what opportunities are out there and figuring out their strengths and how they can tap into the different opportunities. And then in general rethinking education systems to integrate things like social change, innovation, emotional intelligence, and so on. And I’ve had opportunities to do that in my other internships for the summers before this one.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
Thank you very much. Yes. It seems you’re making a big impact in education already, and I’m glad that you found that opportunity. So Slone you’re up next. We look forward to hearing about your experience.

Slone Parker:
Hi everyone. So originally I had planned to do research over the summer, but unfortunately it was also canceled. It’s a little bit of a theme here. I also am a premed like Steve, so I had a shadowing opportunity and I was really excited about that also got canceled. So I was in a bit of a panic kind of toward the end of the spring about what I was going to do this summer. So fortunately I’m subscribed to the CCI’s healthcare emails in which they email out several opportunities on a semi-weekly basis. And so I read through some of those CCI emails and I’m also subscribed to this company called Volunteer Match, which I would really highly recommend signing up for it because it finds volunteering in your area.

Slone Parker:
And if you put in some of your interests, it can find topical volunteering interests. So I was able to look through those two and meet with Hannah Benz, who is the healthcare advisor at the CCI. And we talked through some ideas that I had about what good volunteering opportunities might be for me and how I could get involved. Because I really wanted to do something that would help out with COVID because as hopefully a future healthcare professional, I thought it would be a really important thing to be involved with. So I actually was really happy that I ended up changing my summer plans. So I volunteered with the North Texas Red Cross and did online work for a COVID vaccine dashboard company. It’s called COVID-.org. If you want to look it up, but basically it lists out clinical trials of vaccines that are currently being held, if you want to volunteer to participate in one of them, sometimes they’re recruiting healthy volunteers.

Slone Parker:
So I would really recommend looking that up as well. But yeah, I thought the opportunities were really incredible. I got to help some underserved communities with the North Texas Red Cross, and also there is a blood shortage right now, especially with COVID, it’s actually making it worse. And it was really interesting to apply things that I learned about healthcare actually at actually at Midd. So over J term Midd has an internship, an EMT internship program that partners with the Middlebury regional EMS. And over the span of J term, which is just one month in January, you are trained as an EMT and you end the J term with taking the test to become licensed. So because of that experience, I was able to actually really help with the North Texas Red Cross prepping blood stations and also talking with donors about how COVID affects people’s health and proper health care precautions to take.

Slone Parker:
So yeah, I really thought that was an awesome way, integrated things I had learned at Midd. And it also was topical for my healthcare dreams. My second internship kind of opportunity was with the COVID Dashboard, which really helped me apply everything I had learned in mid classrooms about chem and biochem. I am a biochem major, so it was really cool actually reading through real clinical trials and how researchers are currently testing COVID vaccines and therapeutics medicines, and being able to translate those things to a wider audience. So more people can know about what’s really going on and where we’re at with research on COVID. So overall I’m really thankful for having this opportunity because I think I was able to make the most out of a summer that really probably shaped everyone.

Slone Parker:
And I felt I was able to make a difference even in spite of COVID. So I would really recommend looking into things that you’re interested in. The CCI has all sorts of emails and things on their websites for opportunities in your interest areas. So looking into those things and applying early, it’s always a big help. Thanks.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
So thank you for mentioning all those Slone, and I’m glad that you also mentioned the winter term internship that you’ve taken advantage of before, and also glad to hear your plug for donating blood. So thank you. Jack, how about you?

Jack Allnutt:
Yeah. So to give a little bit of context to my summer internship this past summer ever since I had this semester off my first semester of college when I had nothing to do, the only job I could find during that time was a construction labor job in which I was doing residential remodel framing and construction labor.

Jack Allnutt:
And I really actually found it very satisfying to be building tangible things with my hands. So throughout my time at Middlebury, I’ve pursued things that have allowed me to make really tangible, physical changes to the world. So I’ve been working with the Habitat for Humanity Chapter and designing these houses. And I also participated in the Zero Energy School Design competition, which took place, it was J term of 2017. It was a student led project in which we had really interdisciplinary students that were from a number of majors and we all came together and designed net zero energy school.

Jack Allnutt:
And in the process of that, I actually met my mentor for this past summer internship. His name is Addison Godine. And he’s the guy who actually designed one of our solar decathlon houses on campus and he’s a really inspiration person to me.

Jack Allnutt:
I just reached out to him this past summer after I had been living in the solar decathlon house, I had applied earlier and had this very personal connection to him because he had helped with this project that we worked on and which we actually got first place in US Department of Energy. And then, that’s kind of my trajectory into this experience. I was really excited, last spring I was going to be onsite working as a project engineer and also design intern.

Jack Allnutt:
So it was really excited to be onsite and actually guiding… He’s starting is this modular construction company now called Live Light Buildings that I was working for, or that I had arranged my internship for. I was going to be onsite, really making sure that everything got built and producing construction documents for him. That didn’t really work out. I didn’t end up being able to be in person, but as I attended to a remote internship, his entire company because of COVID had to really make substantial pivots to the residential sector instead of, he was going to be designing modular hotel buildings that were factory built, really high efficiency, volumetric modular buildings. But he ended up having to completely change his entire business plan because in the startup world, a lot of people are realizing that, “Oh hotels aren’t being developed anymore and now we need better housing.”

Jack Allnutt:
So seeing how fast things changed remotely was really interesting. And I think over the course of the internship I was really amazed by how much you can do with just a laptop. It’s disappointing that you can’t be out on site really managing things in person, but just with Excel and all these building modeling software and the Adobe Suite, which is great to know that you can produce a lot for the company. So I was glad to be able to contribute throughout the summer and because of COVID and the lack of funding that the company had, I wasn’t able to secure a paid internship. So I was really grateful that CCI was able to step in at the last minute and make sure that I had the funding to do this and work with a guy that I was hoping to work with in the future.

Jack Allnutt:
Everything is so influx now that can’t really know for sure, but yeah, I think I kind of wished throughout my time at Middlebury I had gone to the CCI more frequently because I have a lot of my search for jobs that I’ve done independently. I could have probably found some very interesting experiences earlier on, but I definitely think reaching out to people where you cannot through any experience that you have at Middlebury, trying weird interdisciplinary projects and volunteering for Habitat for Humanity or whatever organizations you can on campus will connect you with some interesting people and reaching out to alumni is always a good idea. So, yeah.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
Great. Thank you very much. And Jack, I know in your reflection this summer, you wrote about an experience that wouldn’t have been possible if the situation hadn’t turned your internship into remote, where you were given a half an hour notice that you could participate in a conference.

Jack Allnutt:
Yeah, I do think the anonymity of Zoom culture that we’re in right now is definitely not something to be overlooked. And the fact that someone me if I were in person walking into an in person conference we were pitching our idea for our startup to develop affordable housing for the city of Boston. Because they have a massive housing shortage problem there. And we were pitching our ideas for zero energy modular concepts and coming from a liberal arts background, a lot of people will see that your credentials if you’re not… You don’t have a master’s in architecture then it’s hard to really get into a lot of these things. But the anonymity of the Zoom background, you can just jump into a conversation with professionals and they don’t know that you’re an undergraduate with no really technical experience in their field. I was able to learn a lot from them and participate and contribute my ideas. So yeah, that’s definitely something to take advantage of you end up in a Zoom or internship in the future. So yeah.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
Thank you very much. Okay, Mary you’re next.

Mary McCourt:
Thanks Cheryl. Over the summer I was fortunate enough to secure a full time well paid internship at Siebert Williams Shank, which is a largest minority and women owned investment bank on Wall Street. Well, I’m not able to discuss exactly specifics of the clients we worked with I can say that investment banking, we were raising capital for large companies, many of which you would know of off the fortune 500 list. And something really interesting about what I did was I joined a very small team of about six people. And in my first week on the job, the first year analyst who was supposed to be kind of my big sister, unfortunately had to leave due to the Visa restrictions and she’s an international employee. So while she was absent, I had to take on her responsibilities and to really step into that full time role from day one.

Mary McCourt:
So a lot of it was drinking out of the fire hose, but being able to learn from senior level management and also working with a small team, we were able to cover a lot of the product groups of investment banking. So I had exposure to investment grade capital markets, leverage finance and equity capital markets, which is very special because most other banks you’re covering one of those sectors, but I had a lot of really great exposure. Other specific things I did, I helped work on pitch books to get more clients, did a lot of Excel modeling, working in the Bloomberg terminal, getting Excel certified. I also wrote our capital markets monitor every day. So I would read the Wall Street Journal, write up a one page report using Bloomberg data and send it out to all of our clients. And it was awesome knowing that my emails were going out to heads of companies all over the US.

Mary McCourt:
In terms of finding my internship, I think so for this one, I was actually able to get it through a family connection, but I think speaking about my internship with Morgan Stanley next summer will be more helpful.

Mary McCourt:
So recruiting for investment banking is very, very rigorous and there’s a real formula that goes to it. Essentially, you need to know that you want to do investment banking by the end of your sophomore year. And had I not been in a Middlebury woman on Wall Street or student investment committee and going to the CCI, I definitely would have missed out on these deadlines. So kind of some advice around finding an internship on Wall Street, definitely subscribe to our SLO newsletters that come out every Sunday. It kind of gives you a picture of different events that are happening, banks that are coming to visit. It helps you know how the process is moving along, getting your resume up to shape.

Mary McCourt:
Your resume, your elevator pitch are extremely, extremely important when looking for a job on Wall Street and the CCI send really great resources to be able to keep up with the extreme process. I also found out a lot about internships to go into diversity events and again, banks coming to visit on campus and recruiting. I am a PCA, so I do work with the CCI. I specifically help students with their cover letters, help approve them, help them start search for internships, give them advice. So definitely the PCA’s are a really great resource to have. I spoke to the PCA’s who are now on Wall Street when I was a freshmen and sophomore recruiting and they were very helpful. And then in terms of COVID-19 and my summer internship at Siebert William Shank, our intern class is usually between 10 and 15 students.

Mary McCourt:
Because of COVID, they cut that class down to two interns. So it was only me and one other intern, the other 10 to 12 students lost their internships. So I was fortunate enough to keep mine, and then we were also moved remotely. So it was very difficult technical wise, just because there’s so many regulations around investment banking, having what you have in front of your computer is very strict. Was not allowed to have headphones in, can’t have your phone out. But other than that, pretty tough trying to mimic a Wall Street trading floor remotely. And then I was motivated to do this internship because I’m interested in finance. I actually had my Morgan Stanley internship before I got my Seabird internship. So that just goes to show you how accelerated the processes having Morgan Siebert almost a year and a half before the internship actually starts is pretty crazy.

Mary McCourt:
But other than that skills from Middlebury liberal arts, I think because we don’t have a finance major, it puts us at some disadvantage, but I also think Middlebury’s liberal arts education really teaches us how to learn communication skills, writing, which are all really, really important. And if you look back on the things that I did at Siebert, I was writing capital markets updates to our clients, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to have a finance major. You really need to know how to write them. You don’t want to send out writing that’s bad to your clients.

Mary McCourt:
And then it definitely enriched my plans for the future. I know I want to do investment banking and I’m glad to know what it’s like before jumping into a more serious internship next year.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
Thank you for all that advice, Mary, and we’re very glad to have Mary as one of our peer career advisors. And in fact, she was just on the Zoom drop in hours that we call quick questions where students can drop in and get help with resumes. So right before this Zoom session, she was doing that work. So Steve returning to you next, and I believe that this summer internship had some relationship to something you did during winter term.

Steve Cayetano:
Yes, definitely. So this winter term, during J term, I was able to have an internship for the month of January, thanks to the help of professor Jessica Holmes who’s in the econ department. And keep in mind, I’m a neuroscience major. So I really don’t get involved with econ at all. I’ve just been curious, but I’ve never taken a class.

Steve Cayetano:
So I actually found it through one of my friends that was also considering taking one because she was offering many internships. And the internship that I was able to get into was working with a nonprofit organization in Vermont, it’s called The Mum Program for Quality in Healthcare. And in during January, I was on tests with sending out a mental health survey to all mental health professionals in Vermont and surveying if they were up to date with suicide prevention specifically. I was tasked with writing a report updating and monitoring the survey.

Steve Cayetano:
So I can see how many healthcare professionals are answering the survey, who hasn’t had training in some five years when he’s to get updated training and accessibility of training and so forth. I also directly contacted those mental health counselors to see if they can try and persuade them to take the survey. And the Vermont program from quality and health care really was something that I resonate with in the sense of their values, because they want to ensure that everybody no matter who lives in Vermont is able to access quality health care regardless of their background. With my premed passion, I really want to go into the healthcare field, not necessarily just to become a doctor, but to help underserved communities really have access to quality care as well. That’s one of my passions, public health policy, and which is why I was so excited to take that internship during J term.

Steve Cayetano:
So moving forward during my spring semester at Middlebury I got a call from the director of VPQHC and they actually wanted me back to spearhead a project that the director has been wanting to do for a while, which was to create a database for both the health regions in Vermont and see what types of healthcare are available within certain health regions. Middlebury’s a health region in Vermont and there’s 13 other ones. But I was tasked with focusing on one specific region in Vermont for the summer. I had created database using Microsoft access. I’ve never used it before. And during the summer I had to basically self-teach myself because the director was always, she’s very busy and no one was really able to directly help me. But if I reached out to anybody in the office, I was able to really get the help that I needed, any advice that I needed as well to help create the database.

Steve Cayetano:
But it was also refreshing having that position to spearhead a whole project by yourself. I think I was able to really apply my liberal arts education into this. And Middlebury has given me so far with writing, research, and compiling all this into a very structural database so that anybody can use it. My main goal was so that I can create the database so that the common Vermonter can give it to a state legislator, can have access to it and have ease of access to easily find what type of community health clinics are in the Middlebury region? What types of dental offices are there? Are there sufficient amounts of mental health counselors within the area? It was a really great experience.

Steve Cayetano:
For the most part the internship was flexible. I didn’t really have to worry about if I had to be in the office or be remote. Most of my work was going to be on a laptop. So it was a very flexible experience. I didn’t really have to worry where I was thankfully, but it did help a lot when I was in the office.

Steve Cayetano:
I was able to safely travel to Vermont and stay there for a month. Obviously following state guidelines and being very precautious. But it was really refreshing as well, being in an office setting, being with other professionals that are really passionate about wanting to provide health care to Vermonters. And it was just nice that they also wanted me back since my experience and the work that I did during January. It was nice to see that all your hard work can really bring you back opportunities with people that are in your field. And so it was really motivating and this experience really and encouraged me to pursue a career other than a neuroscience career, but to pursue a career in public health policy developments that people can really have access to these healthcare resources and no matter where they come from.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
Thank you very much, Steve. And thank you for that important work that you’re doing in Vermont and on behalf of Vermonters. And just one of the points you brought up, I hear over and over again from interns about they’re in their internship and being asked to do something that they’ve never done before, but because of your Middlebury’s skills and your approach to the liberal arts, you teach yourself how to do it. I know employers are impressed over and over again. So obviously they were impressed to have you back, so great. And we’re going to finish up with you, Nate. I know you were involved in some really interesting research and policy this summer.

Nate Gunesch:
Yeah, definitely. Thanks Cheryl. So I had a bit of a funky experience. I think everybody getting situated this summer. I mentioned in the brief introduction that I’m currently an intern out at the Knoll, the organic garden on campus. I was slated to be the summer intern at the Knoll actually. And that is a job that I lined up very early basically in the winter, last winter. But of course everything got a little catawampus as everyone has noted. And so I sort of went back to the drawing board started putting the CCI resources to use in a way that I really hadn’t in the past. Most of my past work experience, in fact, all of my past work experience has been service industry stuff or construction. I’ve always been sort of hands on professional type of guy. So I’ve done a lot of stuff in restaurants over the last several years, but this summer I knew I really wanted to use my mind a little bit more.

Nate Gunesch:
So in light of a COVID-19 I used Handshake and was able to find a position with the Center on Terrorism Extremism, and Counter Terrorism, it’s sort of small, fairly new think tank that has sprung up out of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Like I said, I found a position with them through Handshake, got in contact with the supervisor there. It turns out he was a Middlebury grad from a few years ago who was a policy major who had the same advisor as me in the policy department and went abroad to the same place that I did. So it was really a good example of how sort of useful some of those connections and the network that we have here is. So I really hit it off with him well and was able to line up the internship.

Nate Gunesch:
It ended up being a great position. I ran for a few months this summer, I was able to do quite a bit of really neat research. Because it was remote, I was quite independent. So I really got to use a lot of the research and writing skills that I’ve developed here at Middlebury over the last couple of years here and put them to good use. I would check in with my advisor once, maybe twice a week, get put in the right direction and then work sort of seven or eight hours, the hours that worked best for me, very independent, it was really nice. And ultimately got to do some really cool research projects. So I think the most sort of pressing one was a project we did on Boogaloo movement.

Nate Gunesch:
So I don’t know if anyone is following the news this summer, but the Boogaloo movement is a far right militia group that stood up a lot of trouble at various Black Lives matter protests over the summer. My supervisor and I did some really cool hands on research. We were on Facebook and Twitter late at night, tracking these guys communications. And then looking at the way they would talk to each other in the comments of a Facebook post, they were sending maps of Minneapolis back and forth. It was really, really interesting to be involved in such not literally boots on the ground because we had to be remote, but it seemed like sort of boots on the ground online research, it was pretty neat. And we were able to get published, get referenced by some pretty big profile newspapers.

Nate Gunesch:
And yeah, I ended up having a really good experience, got to do a couple of more projects I’m a little bit more passionate about with them. So really it was funky getting there, but once I had the experience, I had a really wonderful time, and I was really glad to as a poly psych major I’ve been interested for a long time in eventually getting a position maybe not necessarily in Washington DC, but perhaps doing something with policy oriented, think tanks, or various nonprofits, or NGOs. This was a really good dipping my toes in the water.

Nate Gunesch:
I enjoyed doing research with the think tank, getting to know the atmosphere and environment of a think tank. And yeah, it was great. It had a lot to do with my previous research interests, a little bit of overlap with the senior thesis that I’m writing this year. And hopefully next year I’ve already started looking toward positions at think tanks and similar like policy oriented groups. So it was really good experience to get into the field that I am excited to get into. And I’m really glad it worked out. I had a great experience.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
Thank you so much, Nate. So yeah, that sounds like a very different from what you had planned, so to work in the organic garden. So and I think that’s a theme that we’re hearing among all of you, as well as many of the other students that we funded or that we know did internships this summer, that things weren’t working out at the beginning of the summer, but our students are really innovative and creative and created new opportunities for themselves.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
Sometimes having something totally different sort of points you in a new direction or opens your horizons to things that you wouldn’t have expected if you had done what you had planned. So cheers to all of you for taking advantage and making the most of it and really making the most of your experiences.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
So I’d like to thank all of you panelists, you were fantastic, and I’m thanking you for your inspiration and wisdom and advice. I’d want to just end with one last question to all of you. If you could please share a lesson learned or a piece of advice for future interns, and this could be kind of quick and I’ll just run off the order. So who’s who I’m going to call them, but it’ll be Jack, then Francoise, then Steve, Mary, Nate, and Slone. So Jack starting with you.

Jack Allnutt:
Oh boy. So yeah, I’d say, like I said, I touched on earlier the anonymity of Zoom culture is definitely something to be taken advantage of. Even if there’s something that’s a conference or an event that you might not be directly invited to, just be looking for things that you can learn from and share your ideas because it’s a rare opportunity, but also yeah, I’d say reaching out to alumni is always very important. And yeah, I think there are a lot of really interesting people in any fields, but I’ve gotten to know various and are always really excited to talk to you and whether they have a job to offer you or not nowadays they can usually guide you in the right direction you’re trying to go.

Jack Allnutt:
So I’m glad I started really early last year in the process of looking for a job. Even if you’re really unsure of what you want to do, where do you want to go, just talking to alumnus can give you a sense of what things are like in the real world beyond Middlebury. I think there’s a lot to learn from alumni. So yeah.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
Thank you. Okay. Francoise.

Francoise Niyigena:
I would just say I think that’s something that Jack mentioned earlier, but reach out. I think that you might find that maybe the internships that you want to do is not something that already exists, that you might find on Handshake or really anywhere on a site that says, “Oh, here’s an internship that is open or a job opportunity.” But that doesn’t mean you can’t do what you want to do. I think I found that a lot of the opportunities I ended up getting into were maybe I had an idea or a project in mind, but I looked at different sites and couldn’t really find something that excited me, but I did find a few maybe organizations. And I was, this organization doesn’t say they have an internship position or a job application.

Francoise Niyigena:
I mean a job position, but I’m still going to reach out to the founder of this organization. And my first internships, my first year and my sophomore year, I actually just ended up reaching out to the founders and CEOs of these two different organizations. And I told them, “Hey, this is what I’m passionate about. This is how it connects to what you’re doing. This is what I would like to do with you all this summer, is that possible?” And they actually emailed back and were very excited.

Francoise Niyigena:
So I essentially ended up designing my own internship, but with guidance from them. And I think that is something that you can do, but I don’t know how often you hear people say that. Something that I learned during mid-co from a Middlebury alum, this Middlebury alum basically saying you either be the CEO or reach out to the CEO. I think basically what he meant was you don’t have to be limited by what job opportunities or internship opportunities are out there, open, but maybe you don’t find an opening, but that’s something you really are passionate about and you still reach out to those people and tell them what you want to do.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
Okay. Thank you. On to you, Steve.

Steve Cayetano:
I think one piece of advice just going back to me using a new software program that I never used before. Going into an internship it’s easy to like get intimidated by a task or a new challenge, but honestly you got to embrace it. And you’ve just got to make sure that your resources are available and reach out when you need help, because it honestly does help.

Steve Cayetano:
You’re not alone handling this task. With me, it was, I could have easily said you know what? I don’t think I can do that, but now I ended up saying, being confident about it and taking it head on because it allowed me to put a new skill let’s say on my resume. But more than that, it was able to show that I was able to teach myself in something and be proficient in it in the end and produce something that’ll make under director or my employer very happy. At the end of the reach a common goal.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
Great. Thank you. That’s good advice, Mary.

Mary McCourt:
I’d say the key to getting an internship is networking, whether that’s in finance or anywhere else. A piece of advice that was given to me about networking was it’s not necessarily who you know but it’s really who knows you. And just a quick little anecdote. The first internship I had was actually in an oncology office and the way I ended up getting that was I was working in a hockey shop, sharpening skates, I’m covered in dirt, sweating, I’m in sweat pants, don’t look great, definitely do not look professional.

Mary McCourt:
One of the customers I was working with noticed my great work ethic, awesome attitude, and just started talking to me about what I wanted to do career wise. And back then I thought I wanted to do premed. And he said, well, listen, I know you’re making a minimum wage at a hockey shop right now, but I have a friend looking to get an intern in his oncology office. Would you be interested? So you never know who’s watching, literally take everything you do as if you have an interview because you don’t know who’s going to open you up to what opportunity.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
Great. Thank you, Mary. Nate.

Nate Gunesch:
Yeah, this is a lot of good advice. I’ve been writing these down. I think something I really learned this summer it was a good lesson in intrinsic motivation. Like I mentioned, sort of in two ways, right? So one, because I have worked so much in the past doing things like working in restaurants, waiting tables, working in catering and stuff. I definitely had sort of put the internships and the some of that professional networking type stuff on the back burner.

Nate Gunesch:
But I think that in the end, that was okay because I was willing to sort of push myself when it came down to it. As Mary pointed out in certain fields, you got to push yourself a little earlier, if you’re doing IB or consulting, but in a lot of fields, know your deadlines and then don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get the perfect internship every time. And then once you do get it, even if it’s independent, even if it’s a little funky in some ways, really push yourself to make a lot of whatever experience you’re having, it could be not what you were expecting. But it can end up being a really good opportunity for growth. It can be a really good opportunity for networking and you can learn a lot from it. So again, it’s really important to not put too much pressure on yourself at any point. And then when you do get the opportunities that you get, take advantage of them and really push yourself, don’t just rely on other people motivating you.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
Okay. Thank you, Nate. And we’ll end with you Slone.

Slone Parker:
I would have to say if you’re looking for an internship, make sure that you meet with your CCI advisors in the field that you’re interested in. I think I cannot think of a more helpful resource for pre-meds then Hannah Benz.

Slone Parker:
I remember I met with her because I was actually looking for some shadowing work or an internship. And she found Middlebury was funding specifically, Texas pre-meds to… It was like a very, very niche internship, Texas pre-meds to shadow this really well known Texas doctor. And it was a very niche internship, but there’s so many things that Middlebury offers that are very niche and sometimes it can be difficult to find on your own, and I cannot stress it enough meeting with the CCI advisors is so helpful for organizing yourself and finding new opportunities.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
Thank you, Slone. And thanks to all of you. That was just really excellent advice. We’re going to have to write all that down so we can share it with others too, but obviously this recording will be available to students as well.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
So thank you again. I know I’m inspired by hearing all your stories and how you pivoted this summer. And I think as Francoise said that whatever your interest is, you can really develop your experiences and build your story while you go through Middlebury. You’ve all just demonstrated that you all have very unique interests and that you created or built experiences for yourself.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
So thank you to all of you and to our audience thank you for your participation today. Whether you’re watching live or watching in the future. I want to assure parents who are watching that CCI is here for your students. We are part of their support network at Middlebury. And for students, we’re always here for you to help you with exploration, decision-making, planning, preparation, and more. So wherever you are in your process, we’re here to help always whether we are remote or in person. So we’re going take you to the next step and help you explore what’s next. And now our CCI executive director, Peggy Burns has come on and we’ll open up the floor for questions. So feel free to write questions in the Q&A and it can be either of us answering or directed to any of the students. So Peggy have you?

Peggy Burns:
Yeah, there’s just one big thank you.

Cheryl Whitney Lower:
It’s a thank you not a question.

Peggy Burns:
And also too, I just wanted to echo what Cheryl just said as well. I mean, first of all, thank you students, what a fabulous job this was and how much we appreciate you doing this for families, but then also to hear your stories and how you’ve pivoted. Cheryl and I have the privilege to read hundreds and hundreds of the evaluations of our funded interns. And it has just really been extraordinary the way that you have pivoted and how resilient you were and just how it just all seemed to work out.

Peggy Burns:
Thanks to your perseverance. Also, Cheryl mentioned before we at CCI are part of the stellar Middlebury advising family, we’re advisors, we’re connectors, we’re educators, we’re mentors. So families who are students are in good hands, I can promise you that.

 

Center for Careers and Internships
We will be working remotely for Fall 2020
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