Letter to the Editor


Dear Editor, 

I am writing in regard to the “Staff Editorial:  Are unpaid internships worth the price?”

The Flyer Editorial Staff makes a good point about the number of unpaid internships found by students in some majors.  As Director of Internships for the College of Business, I would like to offer some insights that might help students of all majors.

The Lewis job board, Flyers Get Hired, has more internships listed than students to apply for them.  That does not mean it is the only place to look for internships.  The purpose of an internship is to provide students with "real-world" experience that complements what they are learning in the classroom.  In many cases, a current "paid" position can be utilized as an "internship" so long as the employer is willing to treat the position as an internship and assign appropriate responsibilities that require knowledge that a student has learned in the classroom.  The key element is simply that the position and work you perform provides an educational experience that complements what you are learning in the classroom for your major.

We want students to get high paying internships and high paying post graduate employment.  Not just because we want students to contribute back to Lewis as alumni, but because it is a testament of our dedication to students, their future and their career success.

In the College of Business we have a career services team member who works exclusively with our students to help guide students in the right direction, and protect them from unscrupulous internships where students are unpaid and receive no major-related work experience.  Her name is Laura Paley, and she is an expert - considered one of the most valued resources in the college.

Career Services performs a pretty thorough screening of employers before their positions can be posted on Flyers Get Hired.  This is to protect students from organizations wishing to staff themselves with "free labor" ... and there seem to be a lot of them.

To determine if a job that you hold would qualify for internship credit, contact the internship director in your college.  Each college has dedicated resources to help students with their internship search, in gaining the most value from their experience and obtaining academic credit for it.

An internship gives students a big advantage over other candidates in the job market, and most internships lead to full-time offers.

The reality is that some internship positions are in such high demand that employers can offer unpaid internships.  However, I believe that almost everyone can obtain a paid internship in their field of study.  I highly recommend that any student interested in obtaining an internship work with Career Services and the resources in their college to make the most of their internship in terms of credible experience and pay.

Robert A. Bergman