UA Builds Path From Internships to Careers
Numerous offices and programs help place UA undergraduate and graduate students in off-campus internships, complementing campus offerings.
An often-lamented truism among new college graduates is that entry-level jobs will require years of experience — sometimes more years than students actually spent in college.
To ensure that University of Arizona students are already competitive for positions when they graduate, colleges and programs across the campus work to place students in internships or guide them through internship experiences.
Such efforts have been invigorated under 100% Engagement, a University-wide initiative meant to ensure that all students have workforce-relevant experience before graduating.
UA programs working to place students, in the summer and also during the academic year, include:
- Career Services, the centralized office that provides a broad suite of services, resources and events meant to help students and alumni connect with internships, jobs and other opportunities to maximize their career potential.
- The LEAP Internship Program, which is open to all students who have non-credit internships and offered through Career Services.
- The School of Theatre, Film & Television Internship Committee, which works to place students within the school in local, regional and national organizations.
- The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, which helps place students from across campus in dozens of paid internships with multiple state agencies through the Arizona Legislative Internship Program.
- The School of Government and Public Policy, which works to place students in positions in the political, legal, and health and medical fields.
- The Honors College, which sponsors off-campus internships locally and internationally, such as those with the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona and the United Way of Tucson, and also with Tech Gap Italia in Italy and a research internship in Peru.
- The Focusing Research on the Border Area (FRONTERA) Summer Internship program, a part of the UA College of Medicine – Tucson and its Office of Diversity and Inclusion, provides undergraduate and graduate students with opportunities to prepare for medical school and hands-on research experience while expanding their knowledge of public health disparities along the U.S.-Mexico border.
- The Literacy, Learning, and Leadership program, which is a for-credit program offered by the College of Education and supporting dozens of students each semester. The college has other programs offering funding for undergraduate and graduate students engaged in internships.
With support from the Office of Global Initiatives, UA international students received summer internships at United Nations headquarters in New York City and Nike because of their educational accomplishments, dedication to their studies and commitment to reaching their career goals through an education at the UA.
Afghanistan native Fardous Asem Rahmani, a UA student in the Master's in Development Practice program and a 2012 Fulbright Scholar, spent the summer working for the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations as an adviser. He also served as a consultant with the UNICEF Innovation Unit, working closely with a team that explores how innovation and emerging technologies can support the work of UNICEF and make the world a safer and better place for children.
Rahmani said getting an internship is a long and stressful process, similar to applying for a job. Completion of his internship at United Nations headquarters was a dream come true.
"There were times when I was disappointed when I received negative results about my applications, but I considered this as experience to build on my skills and abilities," he said.
Samantha Czarniak, a finance major and UA tennis player from Brazil, served as a global sales intern in the tennis department at Nike.
Czarniak's work involved forecasting and creating sales through reports. She, too, said it was a challenge because she had to learn much on her own and ask people for advice and help.
"I believe the biggest takeaway from my internship was to not be afraid of talking and asking for help. Everyone at Nike is very welcoming and I loved being part of the company," said Czarniak, who hopes to stay in the U.S. and would like to work in the sports industry.
Through a network of connections within the film and television industries, the Hanson Film Institute, a division of the UA College of Fine Arts, placed five students in a variety of internships over the summer.
"The Hanson Film Institute does many things to benefit students and faculty at the University, but I have to say that one of the most gratifying is the placement of students into internships that give them real-world experience and a foot in the door," said Vicky Westover, director of the institute, which finds and sustains relationships with companies and organizations, including Jerry Bruckheimer Films & Television, 20th Century Fox, the National Association of Latino Independent Producers and talent agency Luber Roklin Management.
"Many of those students have gotten jobs in the industry in large part due to those internships," Westover said, noting that five students were placed over the summer.
Among them was Evan May, a double major in film and television and political science.
May spent the summer interning with Jerry Bruckheimer Films & Television, a production company responsible for films that include "Pirates of the Caribbean," "Black Hawk Down" and "Flashdance."
In addition to helping to improve May's application, the Hanson Institute helped interface with the production company to land an agreement to place him in Los Angeles for the summer.
"It's been exciting and eye-opening in terms of seeing the film industry in action," May said. "I'm even more excited to put what I've learned in the film and television program to good use."
Other students spent the summer working for companies in which they were able to meet and plan with executives, shoot footage, edit photos and videos, and develop promotional materials.
"I really enjoyed the eye opening exposure to the business side of the entertainment industry, and the knowledge passed down to me by industry professionals, like UA alumnus and Voltage Pictures president Jonathan Deckter," said film and television major Nick Charron, whose summer internship with Voltage Pictures was arranged by the Hanson Film Institute.
"It was a very hands-on experience, and I could not have asked for a better way to transition into my professional life in Los Angeles," said Charron, who is also studying business economics. He said he was involved in creative processes and also participated in the company's development meetings. He has since begun freelance work, including involvement with a television show for Paramount Pictures.
"I am very optimistic for what my future looks like out here in Los Angeles," he said.
Jamie Cadoff, a film and television major, spent the summer interning with Menemsha Films, an art-house distributor, thanks to the support of the Hanson Institute. She was able to learn more about transactions between distribution companies and art-house theaters, and she also was involved in marketing meetings and plans.
"I was able to learn about how deals are negotiated with streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and others," Cadoff said. "I am beyond grateful for the knowledge and experiences I gathered at Menemsha Films this summer, and I know that what I learned will be invaluable for my future goals in the film industry."
Westover provided one-on-one support, helping Cadoff to improve her application and also providing funding support through the application process.
"I've learned so much," Cadoff said. "This experience has definitely solidified my goals to work as a producer in L.A. I'm grateful to the Hanson Film Institute for playing such a large role in making it possible."
La Monica Everett-Haynes, Kerryn Negus, Alyssa Schlitzer, Vicky Westover and Kerryn Negus contributed to this article.
WhatWildcat Student Employment Fair
WhereStudent Union Memorial Center, 3rd floor Ballroom
WhenWednesday, Aug. 24, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
During the Wildcat Student Employment Fair, students will have access to individuals representing hundreds of part-time positions and internships available on and near campus. In addition to campus employers, companies such as Desert Diamond Casino & Entertainment, Infinity of Tucson, the Town of Oro Valley, Tucson Electric Power, Circle K Stores and CyraCom International will be hiring. More information on the fair is available online.
The event is sponsored by Nova Financial & Insurance Services, a full-service, independent financial planning and insurance company. Started in 2009 by two UA alumni, the company values giving back to the University and Tucson communities.
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