When I was applying to colleges, one thing that set Nazareth apart was their internship program, and their focus on experiential learning. After 2 years of studying, backed up by lessons from some amazing professors, I was able to land my #1 internship choice at Butler/Till, an advertising agency in Rochester, where I worked with major clients like Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. Beginning my first real-world experience with a company was definitely a little intimidating, but I was prepared for the whole process thanks to some help from Naz.
Searching for an internship, while stressful, can be a ton of fun, and a great way to learn more about companies in Rochester and beyond. Meeting someone at the right place and time could lead to an opportunity you would never expect. One thing I made sure to do when looking for companies to intern with was attend marketing club speaker events right here on campus. This is how I was first introduced to Butler/Till, and it helped me secure the internship later on. Many clubs on campus often bring in guest speakers, which is a great way to gain different perspectives and network with professionals in whatever field you’re interested in. I’d also recommend attending networking events on campus, like Internship Symposiums and the annual Career Connections Breakfast, where employers at companies across Rochester are looking for students with the knowledge to help their company succeed.
Once I was ready to start applying for internships, I visited the Center for Life’s Work almost every week. Each Naz student has a Career Coach with expertise in their area of study, who can answer any and all questions about the internship search process. They also have plenty of advice on resume and cover letter writing, interview tips, and knowledge of opportunities for students. If you’re looking for a specific field or company, or have no idea what you’d like to do in an internship, chances are they can help you find your way. You’re also not limited to just the Rochester area; plenty of students have ventured outside of Rochester for internships across the country. The Center for Life’s Work can even help with special internships like the Disney College Program, where many Naz students have seen success.
Nazareth also just introduced the SPARK Grant, which is an amazing opportunity for students wishing to pursue unpaid or underpaid internships. The grant provides $1,500 to students in their first 24 months at Naz to help offset the costs of housing and academic expenses. This helps open up so many more chances for Naz students to help organizations that may not have been possible before!
During my internship, Naz was there every step of the way. Each week, I was tasked to reflect on what I learned while working in a real-world setting, and share that with professors and other students. This was a great way to keep track of the lessons I learned along the way, learn more about Butler/Till and their employees, and reflect on how much my classes at Nazareth helped me succeed in working on meaningful projects for real clients. There is a lot of open discussion between students doing internships at the same time to help understand everyone’s unique experiences, which helped me make the most of my time at my own internship.
Some majors require an internship, but in many cases students have the opportunity to complete one just for the experience. Personally, I recommend all students get out and get some real-world experience. While classes helped me discover the impact knowledge from my professors could have, like when I worked with Rochester Refugee Resettlement Services to help kickstart a small business, my internship really helped me find out a lot about what I wanted in a career. When looking for internships, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to have all of the answers right away. The search process can be stressful, but no matter what stage of the internship search process you’re on, Nazareth is there to help. The combination of my experiences at my internship and my classes at Nazareth have left me feeling more prepared than ever for life after graduation.