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English Internship Program Seeks to Provide Mutual Fulfillment

English degrees aren’t just for teachers anymore. That’s why the SUNY Plattsburgh English department is connecting many local businesses and non-profit agencies with eager interns while giving students valuable experience in the workforce.

English majors are highly versatile and efficient, said Dr. Anna Battigelli, English professor and faculty adviser of the college’s new internship program. There are currently 20 active internships through area businesses including news agencies, libraries, historical societies, cultural arts centers and writers’ institutes. New opportunities from organizations that have expertise to share and can benefit from an intern’s assistance are always welcome.

This semester, Battigelli, who oversees the program, was assisted by internship coordinator and SUNY Plattsburgh senior De’Anne St. Yves, who contacted more than 70 businesses.

St. Yves said these internship opportunities are important because they “push you out of your comfort zone and into the professional world.” In fact, she had two internships of her own that gave her experiences “well worth learning.”

Matches between intern and business are designed to focus on each student’s strengths, the specific needs of the business and how relevant the experience will be to the student’s future career plans. Ideally, students are matched with positions that will strengthen, challenge and broaden their skills. 

“English majors are capable of coping with complex tasks,” which is why they are sought after by a diverse group of organizations, said Battigelli. They are highly skilled at “organization, analysis and critical thinking.” These students “absorb and synthesize ideas quickly.” 

Battigelli pointed to feedback from both the interns and employers that has been favorable.  “It’s a win-win situation,” she said. In fact, many students are returning next semester. 

Beyond experience, interns can earn between one and 12 credits and, in some instances, a paycheck. 

But it’s not just about the money or the credits, Kym Taylor — an intern in SUNY Plattsburgh’s Office of Institutional Advancement — said. “It’s about discovering the many doors a degree in English can open and about taking an opportunity to boost your marketability through an internship that challenges your abilities.”

Battigelli notes that a good internship “allows students to think of themselves as professionals” before they ever leave the SUNY campus.

Interested businesses are encouraged to contact Battigelli at [email protected] for more information on how to establish an internship.

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