Students Find Success Through On-Campus Internships

Sports Management Major Matthew Quarles ’19 is a football coaching intern on campus with Coach Welty this semester, where he is learning how to coach at the collegiate level. Photo courtesy of Matthew Quarles.

By Assistant Director and Internship Coordinator Mandy Plybon, Center for Career Development

Internships are an increasingly important component of a student’s college experience not only to try out career interests but also to prep for the inevitable job search senior year. Employers actively seek applicants with real-world experience even for entry-level positions. Internships provide a tangible way for students to get this kind of experience while also being able to practice professionalism. Some might wonder, are on-campus internships as valuable as off-campus internship? The answer is yes! On-campus internships are meaningful and valued for a number of reasons.  

  1. A student might not be ready for an off-campus experience. For those who have never had a job or have not completed an internship before, a campus internship provides the perfect opportunity for a student to gain experience and confidence while being in a “safe” environment.    
  2. A student might not have transportation. If a student does not have access to a vehicle, getting off campus proves to be difficult. Campus internships are a convenient opportunity.  
  3. On-campus internships might provide better flexibility for students with a packed schedule. If a student has just a couple hours here and there during the week, college personnel are more accepting and willing to work around a student’s class schedule.   
  4. A student can become more active in the campus community. This will increase the student’s engagement not only with their peers but also with professional staff and alumni leading to job recommendations later.   
  5. A student interested in higher education as a career might find a campus internship a valuable experience as they can see what happens behind-the-scenes. 

As the fall semester starts to wind down and we look to the holiday season, the Center for Career Development (CCD) takes a look at how students are progressing in their internship experiences. Based on both for-credit and reported non-credit internships, 40% of this semester’s interns are on campus in a variety of departments. Out of those earning academic credit, on-campus internships make up an overwhelming 71% of the total number. Mandy Plybon, CCD Assistant Director and Internship Coordinator, typically visits several of the for-credit interns. These site visits are a valuable way for Mandy to check on the students progression toward learning goals set at the beginning of the internship experience, meet site supervisors, and talk about student aptitude for professional work.

Matthew Quarles ’19, a sports management major, has a football coaching internship with Coach Welty this semester. Welty states, “The internship really teaches from the ground up what it takes to be a coach.” One of Matthew’s projects is to use HUDL to evaluate the playbook before each game, matching the opposing team’s plays with Westminster’s plays. He says that being able to see how organized you have to be as a coach has helped him learn time management and prioritizing not only his intern duties but his coursework and extracurricular activities. This experience has given him an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to succeed as a coach at the collegiate level. When asked if he has any new goals for the internship, Matthew states, “I want to walk away knowing I can have a positive impact on players.” 

Bridget Ringwald ’19, a finance major and Bailey Johnson ’20, a business communications major both have internships with the Westminster’s Athletic Training department. Bridget schedules all of the work study and weight room staff, updates treatment logs, helps with keeping track of inventory. She says her internship experience “has helped her see what it would be like working in the healthcare industry”. A highlight so far for Bridget has been putting together an excel sheet that tracks inventory use and associated expenses. Bailey has a different perspective during her internship. She helps with a new concussion protocol that is just now in the test phase at Westminster. As her second internship in the Athletic Training department, her goal with this experience is to learn more about football injury prevention. Summing up her internship this semester, Bailey says “working in the Westminster athletic training room has been a unique experience I will never forget. I have learned so much from not only Mary and Josh, but my fellow internship peers”.  

Other students interning on campus have gained additional perspectives: 

Madison Gipe ‘20, self-designed hospitality major, Westminster College Study Abroad office “I have really enjoyed my internship so far and am so grateful for the opportunities I have been given throughout my time with the Study Abroad Office. I have learned what it takes to develop and manage programs and been able to network with professionals in the study abroad field.” 

Stacia Schollmeyer ’21, secondary English education, Westminster College Writing Lab 
“My internship in the Writing Lab has been a valuable experience for me because it has helped me prepare for my future career as a teacher by working directly with other students.” 

Natalie Tiffany ’20, biology major, Westminster College Writing Lab 
“Through this writing lab internship I have had the pleasure of helping and collaborating with students studying across various fields. I have not only been able to help others build upon their writing skills, but I have also been able to enrich my own college experience as well.” 

Besides talking with students about their experiences, Mandy also met with the site supervisors to hear their feedback on Westminster’s Internship Program. The majority of the supervisors identified three top qualities when they consider a potential intern. They are 1) previous work or volunteer experience, 2) verbal and written communication skills and 3) how a student presented themselves in their interview. All the supervisors feel Westminster students meet these requirements and have contributed to the success of their programs while developing valuable skills.  

Westminster’s Center for Career Development is committed to engaging, preparing, and empowering students to succeed in today’s highly competitive and ever-changing global community. Staff are available to help students discover a career path, develop resume writing skills, interview skills, and more. To learn more about internships, contact Mandy Plybon at mandy.plybon@westminster-mo.edu or 573-592-5382. 

More information for students on Westminster’s internship program can be found here. 

Employers wishing to offer an internship can find out how here.

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