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InternShop Connects Students to Career-Oriented Opportunities | SUNY Plattsburgh

A new database that matches students with paid internships will make it easier for SUNY Plattsburgh students to find opportunities to gain experience in their chosen career field.

InternShop is a partnership program between SUNY and the Business Council of New York State.

“It is a way to leverage the power of SUNY,” said SUNY Plattsburgh Career Development Center Director Dr. Julia Overton-Healy. “It expands opportunities for our students.”

Students attach a resume and personal statement to an online form on InternShop’s website. They also indicate the fields in which they are interested. The tool matches their criteria with relevant internships.

The internships listed on InternShop come from businesses throughout the state. This can make it especially useful for students who are looking for opportunities close to home or are willing to relocate to complete an internship over the summer or during winter break, Overton-Healy said.

And the employers who post internship openings on the site prefer interns who attend SUNY schools, she said.

Internships give students the opportunity to hone skills employers are looking for, such as clear communication, teamwork, initiative, professionalism and technical skills, Overton-Healy said.

The Career Development Center staff is promoting InternShop at upcoming events and some students will begin using it to find internships this summer.

Students Gain Insight

Students agree that internships provide them with experience invaluable to future success beyond the classroom.

Rhiannon Brown ’16 is a double major in business administration and public relations with a minor in graphic design.

She is working on completing her third internship, which is in human resources at Swarovski Lighting’s Plattsburgh facility. In addition to data collection and entry tasks, Brown has listened to supervisor talks with employees and interviews with potential Swarovski employees.

“It has given me a lot of insight,” she said.

Brown’s first experience as a human resources intern was during the fall 2015 semester at Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh. A year before that, she served at the Northcountry Planetarium gaining more experience in graphic design. She designed the facility’s main sign, which also serves as the opening screen for their shows.

The experiences “taught me how the office environment is and how to navigate my way through it,” Brown said.

Most valuable of all, the internships have helped her affirm her desire to work in human resources.

“Without the internships, I don't think I would have figured out what my goals are,” Brown said. “I have learned where I want to head in life and what I am good at.”

Relevant Experience Before Graduate School, Workplaces

Human development and family relations major Katelyn Rose ’16 is currently interning at the Caregiver Resource Center at Behavioral Health Services North in Plattsburgh.

The resource center provides support and information for those caring for elderly community members.

“It definitely helped me realize that this is the population that I want to serve,” Rose said.

But helping students rule out a field or type of job that might not be well suited for them is another benefit of an internship that can be just as important, she said.

Rose plans to start a master’s of social work program at either SUNY Binghamton or SUNY Albany in the fall.

For Colbie Mason ’12, an internship led directly to a full-time job.

She interned in the Family Resource Center of the Childcare Coordinating Council of the North Country, which offers play groups and parenting support to area families.

“I absolutely loved it,” Mason said.

“You can read anything in a book but really going out into the field and doing it is completely different.”

The best people to learn practical skills from are those working in the field, she said, adding that the networking opportunities available during internships are incredibly important.

Hands-on learning experiences give students a safe space to make mistakes and learn from them before they enter the professional world, Mason said.

“With an internship, there’s someone guiding you and watching over you so you’re really getting that opportunity to learn.”

Halfway through Mason’s internship, she was hired as a paid employee. She is now the organization’s child care referral coordinator.

Mason said if it weren’t for her internship, she likely wouldn’t have been offered the position.

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