Summer internships prepare students for life after graduation

Veronica Cassel, Alex Wiggs, Kennedy McAlister, Sydney Scott. Photos by Jenny Rigney and Hannah Baxter.

Veronica Cassel, Alex Wiggs, Kennedy McAlister, Sydney Scott. Photos by Jenny Rigney and Hannah Baxter.

While some students vacationed and participated in mission opportunities, other Oklahoma Christian University students prepared for life after graduation by obtaining summer internships. These internships gave students a chance to make connections with professionals in their respective career areas.

Senior mechanical engineering major Veronica Cassel interned with Niagara Bottling manufacturers in California this summer. Niagara introduced Cassel to the manufacturing side of engineering, which she said she had not previously considered pursuing as a career. Cassel said her internship gave her a realistic idea of how she could obtain a job in engineering with her degree.

“I have already got a job offer for when I graduate and it’s helpful to already have security,” Cassel said. “I worked at the same internship last summer and it showed me why I was getting my degree. During sophomore year, engineers start getting into the more difficult engineering classes, so having the internship right after sophomore year gave me the drive to keep going and finish.”

Senior English major Sydney Scott, who interned at Jobson Health Information in New York City, said her experience helped explore a potential career option. Scott said she was able to improve her writing skills through her work at Vision Monday, a magazine in the eye care industry.

“I enjoyed getting a lot of writing experience since I want to work in publishing one day,” Scott said. “I am hoping all the writing experience will benefit my future efforts in finding a publishing career.”

Senior English writing and music major Kennedy McAlister said interning over the summer helped her understand the logistics of her potential career area. McAlister directed a middle school production at the Williams Vaughan Theatre in Ardmore, OK. McAlister said the experience enlightened her and gave her an understanding for her Honors catalyst project.

“My catalyst project for Honors is to direct a similar show for third graders at Stanley Hupfield Academy,” McAlister said. “Working this summer gave me valuable insight to the managing and producing side of theatre. After graduation, I plan to go to graduate school to study music therapy and I dream of having a children’s theatre to help kids solve personal problems and learn literacy skills.”

McAlister said the show will premiere in November and will feature around 25 third graders performing the production of “Cinderella.”

Senior youth ministry major Alex Wiggs interned with Western Heights Church of Christ in Sherman, Texas as a youth intern. Wiggs said he spent most of his time preparing for summer camps or planning lessons. As a youth ministry major, he found his internship beneficial.

According to the Dean of the College of Business Administration Jeffery Simmons, internships are beneficial for students whether they are paid or unpaid and he encourages students to consider one in the summer or during the semester.

“I often tell students when internships are unpaid, that they are investments in their future,” Simmons said. “Employers often look for students that have experience, and internships are a good way to gain skill. A lot of lawyers use internships as a way to vet candidates by hiring out of their internship pool rather than accepting a random application from someone that applies.”

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