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First Year students thrive in micro-internships

April 07, 2017

By Helen Jazzar '17

In a highly competitive job market, Ursuline’s Office of Career and Counseling Services (OCCS) has made it a priority to help a motivated group of freshmen students prepare for life after college. The First Year to Career Program, funded by a grant from The Fenn Educational Fund of the Cleveland Foundation, allows students to explore career and college major options, develop and sharpen professional skills, learn about opportunities with top Cleveland companies, and work in a micro-internship (defined as 20 hours of shadowing a professional).

Some of these motivated freshmen include: Natalie Nowicki, Katelyn Hopton, Tanea Hamilton, and Laci Gross. We caught up with them to gain some insight into their personal experiences.

Biology Major and Ursuline lacrosse freshman Nowicki jumped right into action, shadowing Ursuline’s Head Athletic Trainer Cathy Rook. Reflecting on her micro-internship experience, Nowicki notes, “I really enjoyed my internship here with Cathy. My career of interest is physical therapy, and I love the cross over from athletic training.”

Like many in the First Year to Career cohort, Nowicki has attended events to help refine professional skills, including resume workshops and activities relating to business ethics. “I would suggest First Year to Career to anyone. It has really helped me feel more comfortable and excited about my career in physical therapy,” Nowicki said.

An aspiring nurse, Hopton completed her micro-internship at University Hospitals. She first landed a connection with UH through a networking event hosted by OCCS. The First Year to Career students met with many local organizations to see which firm was the correct fit for them. Hopton gravitated toward UH.

"It showed me that this is the right career path for me to take,” Hopton said. “I've been so impressed with each of the patient’s determination in physical therapy and occupational therapy. The staff has been so welcoming and have been helpful in answering all my questions. Their priority is to make sure the patients are comfortable while they are recovering. Most patients are here recovering for weeks sometimes months." After such a positive experience, Hopton is determined to reach her career goal of earning a BSN by 2020.

Hamilton, who is also studying nursing, completed her micro-internship at UH’s MacDonald Women’s Hospital. “This experience has been fabulous; it's helped me prepare for when I start clinicals. Macdonald feels like home and I've been able to see a variety of patients, such as women with high-risk pregnancies and new moms who are learning how to breastfeed.”

Hamilton was mentored at MacDonald by 1985 Ursuline graduate Zina Hodge. She is feeling more confident than ever approaching her career goal of becoming a nurse educator by 2020.

Gross, a sophomore majoring in Fashion Merchandising, completed her micro-internship at Dress For Success, a global nonprofit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

“This experience has given me more confidence; I have grown a lot and I’m so happy to be giving back to the community and helping to empower women. This internship is a good fit with both my fashion merchandising and women's studies coursework.”

Said OCCS Director Gerri Jenkins, “We are very proud of all the First Year to Career students and look forward to providing support and guidance as they advance through their undergraduate years.”

Click here to read more about the First Year to Career program.

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