On Thursday, January 26, the Center for Career connections held an internship panel. This panel included three people who had previously been interns through Bellevue College and were later offered jobs there: Amanda Marquez-Thyssen, Ashwin Mohan and Morgan Pavlovich. Marquez-Thyssen is now the people operations executive at Distilled, a digital marketing agency. Mohan is a financial representative at Northwest Mutual and was voted top intern of the Pacific Northwest in his company and Pavlovich interned at the King County Sherriff’s Office and is now a data technician there. Pavlovich wants to go into the police academy and become a deputy at the sheriff’s office. “I think the key reason that we have the panel is that students can actually get the industry perspective,” said Associate Director of Experiential Learning Chiew Jones. “We’re really hoping that they will inspire students to see the relevance and importance of an internship experience.”
Before the panel started, the audience ate a pizza lunch while they waited for the panelists to arrive. During the panel, Jones would ask the panelists questions and it was later opened up to the audience. Mostly, the panelists told their own success stories as all of them got hired after their internships ended. “The whole effort to do the panel and hear from actual former interns is to encourage other students,” said the internships and work study Program Manager Kristen Davey.
All of the panelists talked about the fact that internships are more about learning than previous knowledge. “You don’t need a lot of experience, I think it just comes with being hungry for knowledge and I think that’s what we look for and what we strive for with our consultants,” said Marquez-Thyssen. Jones agreed, saying that the point of an internship is to “better prepare them for the workplace and also it allows them an opportunity to make industry contacts.” Davey added that the panel was “a great way to learn from other interns about their experience and hopefully to get more students interested in internships.”
This whole process is very easy, according to Davey. First, the student talks with her about what they want and she guides them in computer searches based on the subject matter or reaches out to the many contacts she’s made so far. “I have interns across disciplines,” Davey said, going on to say that any major can have an internship, including business, early childhood, art and business tech. “We provide that facilitation process where the students can seek out internships and if there’s any particular company where they want to have an internship, we encourage them to have that first discussion,” said Jones. “We will work with them to develop an internship within their company.”
The student can also get college credit – as well as scholarships for that credit – for being an intern. For 50 hours a quarter, students receive one college credit at BC. This can go up to 250 hours or five credits. All of this won’t cost anything according to Davey. All students need to do is fill out a form. The credits go in the elective category and the student will have gained valuable experience in the workplace. “For me it made such a huge difference,” said Davey.