OU deems internships important for students

By LeeAnn Brown

To infinity … and beyond!

These iconic words are familiar to several of us as the great Buzz Lightyear’s motto from the Toy Story trilogy.

Most of us will never be space rangers and the concept of infinity boggles our minds, but, as college students, we are constantly plagued with the idea of ‘beyond’.

What lies beyond college? What career paths will we choose? How do we start trying to figure out our adult lives?

Oakland offers several internships, where students can gain real-world experience in various job fields so that they can begin to figure out answers to these questions.

Detroit-Wayne County Mental Health Agency, Fox 2, ABC 12, WDIV-7V, Clear Channel Radio – Flesh 100, 93 The River Radio, Michigan Works, Shutter Booth, and Allied Integrated Marketing are just a few of the internships that students have secured for the fall, according to Robert Sidelinger, Communication Internship Director.

“An internship is a chance for a student to try on a career to see if it fits. The experience is not something a student can pick up in a classroom,” said Brian Hlavaty, instructor and director of the Journalism Internship Program.

“Internships enable students to build a solid foundation of professional skills before they leave college,” said Valerie Palmer-Mehta, former OU communications internship director. “It is no secret that employers prefer students who have completed at least one internship, and that interns fare better in a weak job market.”

“Students who do internships get the opportunity to network and build relationships with people in their desired profession. It is important for students to realize that relationships and networking are the currency of work life, especially in business,” Palmer-Mehta said. 

Alex Conforte, OU senior, said he is interning with Shutter Booth in Royal Oak this fall.

“Oakland’s internship program provides students with what employers are looking for. They have mock interviews, information on how to dress and advisors to make sure your resume is perfect,” Conforte said.

“Some advice I can give after going through the whole process is that you have to put yourself out there. There are thousands of students all trying to get internships each semester so you need to dedicate time for searching and sending out resumes. The most important thing from my point of view is to have confidence in yourself.”

Kayla Brandon has had two internship opportunities through OU.

“I interned at Fox 2 News in Southfield last summer and at ABC News Washington D.C. this past summer. Both were incredible experiences,” Brandon said.

“I shadowed reporters at both Fox 2 and ABC Washington, which is what I want to do after I graduate from OU this spring,” Brandon said. “Typical duties included assisting reporters with research, carrying their camera equipment (one-man banding is not as easy as it looks!), conducting pre-interviews, maintaining their social media outlets and filming stand-ups for my demo reel.”

Brandon said that she couldn’t think of one bad experience that she had while interning.

Her Fox 2 internship has just recently lined her up with an exciting job opportunity.

“It’s funny you ask about job opportunities that came through interning because Fox 2 actually called me about two weeks ago and offered me a “per diem” writer position,” Brandon said. “So I am now officially a Fox 2 employee! I’m thrilled for the opportunity, and I am so proud my hard (unpaid) work is now paying off, literally!”