Down Any Possible Road: Internships Open the Door Wide for Post-Grad Success

From staffing the Smithsonian to creating marketing campaigns for high-end footwear in New York City, students are thinking outside the internship box

College is a time to stretch yourself and try something else on for size. And that doesn"t just apply to taking different classes or joining a new club — it also extends to internships. Armed with the strength of a liberal arts education, and often taking full advantage of a robust alumni network, College of the Holy Cross students are scoring internships that open both their eyes and surprising career paths.

For Serena Maineiro '19, a psychology major, that meant trading talk of Freud for two different marketing internships. Last summer, Maineiro interned at HGTV Magazine; this summer, she's an intern at Jack Rogers, the eponymous shoe company. The rising senior sees a symbiotic relationship between the two fields.

"Psychology is actually at the root of marketing. There's a lot to be said about how human behavior can be applied to marketing, especially when it comes to targeting certain audiences and understanding others. As senior year approaches, I need to decide whether I’d rather use my psychology degree as a step toward clinical work or marketing work. I've had extremely positive experiences in these two marketing internships, so I am leaning more towards taking that path post-graduation."

Jerome Siangco '19 took a more direct path from his Asian Studies coursework to a role as a visitor experience intern in the Freer and Sackler Galleries at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

"I work directly with guests coming to the museum. I help coordinate the museum's volunteers, create a welcoming atmosphere for guests and help make our exhibitions accessible, enjoyable and educational."

A Competitive Advantage

Siangco found his once in a lifetime internship through Crusader Connections, the College's online job board, as did Maineiro. Students and alumni can access the database to find open positions and new opportunities.

The College helped Siangco even more, though, supporting his internship through the Crusader Internship Fund. The fund supports students in unpaid internships, both found through Crusader Connections and on their own. Out of the over 200 students interning this summer, 101 are being funded through the Crusader Internship Fund, says Pam Ahearn, senior associate director of the Center for Career Development.

There are hundreds of internships and jobs available on Crusader Connections for students of all class years and majors. According to Ahearn, "Employers are reaching out to our office daily to advertise their open positions."

And students are reaching back, eager to get that career leg-up. "An internship allows students to apply what they've learned in the classroom to a work place setting and allows them to develop and hone skills," Ahearn points out. "Students who have internship experience are more competitive candidates for full time roles, as many employers expect that students will have at least one internship experience prior to graduation and many prefer multiple internships."

One internship was all it took for young alumna Natalie Correa '17, an English and art history major, to decide on her future career — and it wasn't in the fashion industry, like she'd always dreamed.

"I saw the posting on Crusader Connections for a public relations and social media intern at Boston Ballet. I knew that the position aligned with my skill set and given that there is a relationship between ballet and fashion, I decided to go for it. There, I assisted with social media metrics and reporting, managed the press inbox and corresponded with various media outlets regarding interview and photo requests, and copy edited dancers' biographies. I remember being constantly surrounded by creative energy, and knew I wanted to work in a creative environment after college. I loved walking around the building and seeing children taking ballet class, or passing by the costume shop and seeing a costume come into fruition."

Correa, who is now the communications coordinator for Ballet Hispánico, participated in multiple events held through the Center for Career Development while on campus that helped prepare her for an internship in the arts.

"I participated in the Winter Alumni Shadowing Programs, shadowing alumni at Simon & Schuster and 'Opera News;' I attended the Fashion Networking Event, and always seized opportunities to connect with alumni in the fashion and the performing arts industries."

Rethinking and Redefining Career Goals

For Bryan Dextradeur '17, a biology major, two internships shifted his idea for what to do after leaving Mount St. James. "I planned on pursuing medical school after graduation, as it seemed to be the mainstream route for students majoring in the sciences."

But when Dextradeur was in search of medical-focused internships, a business position at Fallon Health caught his eye instead, and he completed an internship there the summer before his junior year. The summer before his senior year, he took a role as a research and business intern for NYU Langone Medical Center.

"Before my internships, I was under the false impression that a career in medicine was the only meaningful way to make an impact in the health care sector. My internships showed me first-hand that a great deal of the innovative work in healthcare is on the business side."

And Dextradeur found the work had a direct impact on patient lives. "At Fallon Health, I worked with a team that pioneered government-sponsored plans as part of a larger shift towards value-based care; at NYU Langone, I supported a team examining the drivers of a successful cardiopulmonary rehab program at the hospital."

Both summer programs — along with academically intense science coursework — prepared Dextradeur well for his current job as a business analyst in the Strategy & Operations practice at Deloitte Consulting, a position far from his original thoughts of medical school.

"Having spent a year of my life grinding through organic chemistry at Holy Cross, I know I can handle the late nights and busy days this job often requires. Being prepared to dive right in and having the insight to ask the right questions has allowed me to rapidly pick up new skills and content knowledge, both of which open up new doors."