Gonzaga students experience all the traditional weather seasons Spokane has to offer, but there are additional seasons on campus that students experience. Not the widely known basketball season, but a season that affects every student on campus: internship season.
It's estimated that 67% of students that attend GU participate in an internship during their four years at the university.
Karla Partidas, a Pre-Law senior, participated in two internships concurrently during her time at GU. One at the Spokane County Board of County Commissioners and the other at the Wear Law Office.
Partidas said she learned many lessons from her internships. Along with learning life lessons on how important it is to be detail-oriented, to collaborate with others and how to maneuver workplace environments, Partitas said she found her calling.
“I knew after working in the law office immediately that I wanted to work as a lawyer,” Partidas said.
Internships have a reputation for helping GU students ignite their passions.
Gina Newcomb, a senior studying human resources with a minor in psychology, said that after doing her internship over the summer with Amazon in San Bernardino, CA, she found the most rewarding part to be discovering her love for HR. “The fit was right, I knew I could learn and grow and be successful over time,” she said.
Newcomb learned about her internship by going to Amazon’s Career Site where she applied for three different internships within Amazon.
Some internships can even waive credits toward specific majors.
Newcomb said she was able to get a requirement waived by participating in her internship this summer.
Finding the right internship can be a challenge and seem overwhelming, but Gonzaga’s Career and Professional Development office offers resources for students to find the right internship for them.
“We encourage students to identify what they wish to learn from an internship and use that to evaluate the correct fit for them,” said Brittney Leland, director of career education at the Career and Professional Development Center.
The Career and Professional Development Center hosts “Treks”, where students can go to different cities and meet professionals in their potential field of work. Internships can also be found on the Handshake, LinkedIn and CareerShift websites.
The center puts on a variety of career fairs throughout the year and has its doors open to students who need help finding an internship.
The most recent career fair, FUSE Career Fair, occurred on Feb. 27 from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Spokane Convention Center. There were about 125 different employers at the event looking for interns and full-time hires from a variety of majors, according to Leland.
Internships add an extra dimension to a GU education, one that places students in the field of their desire where they are able to gain hands-on experience.
Leland said some benefits to doing an internship are that students get to “encounter real-world/workplace situations, evaluate their skills, abilities and interest in a particular career, gain valuable experience and develop as a professional and connect with potential future employers.”
Extra benefits can come out of the internship experience. If a student is in between a major or simply curious about a profession, internships offer insight for students.
“Sometimes learning what you don’t like to do through an internship can be just as helpful as learning what you do like to do. It is also fun to try something new and find out that you might enjoy something you never considered before,” Leland said.
Partidas and Newcomb offered advice to students who are going through internship season.
“Don’t stress too much. Don't compare yourself to people who aren’t in your major or concentration. I didn’t get my internship until March, which is pretty late for business people but some HR internships didn’t get posted until January or February,” Newcomb said.
Partidas said the greatest piece of advice she has is to be open when looking for internships. She said that if she had not been open to her internship at the County Commissioners then she would not have gained another skill set that she now has.