Hard at work: Summer internships help students build skills, make connections

Hard at work: Summer internships help students build skills, make connections

Senior mathematics major Jennifer Leach plans to eventually earn her doctorate. Her summer internship with the Colorado School of Public Health’s Summer Institute in Biostatistics program provided her with invaluable experience as she pursues her goals. Through summer internships, Rowan students have used the past few months to hone their skills, make connections and gain valuable work experience.

Hundreds of Rowan University students have used their summer break to complete internships locally, nationally and even internationally. In the process, they’ve built their resumes by gaining invaluable work experiences, honing their skills and making extraordinary connections in their chosen fields.

Here are the experiences of just a few of them:

Crunching biological data in Denver

Jennifer Leach (above), a senior mathematics major in the College of Science & Mathematics, spent six weeks this summer at the Colorado School of Public Health’s Summer Institute in Biostatistics program in Denver, sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

One of 26 students in the interdisciplinary program, Leach crunched patients’ biological data to look for patterns in those who survived traumatic injuries. Though she plans to pursue her doctorate and a career in finance, Leach found the experience invaluable.

“Everyone here has different levels of knowledge and working with others is really cool, especially when you have some background that others don’t,” Leach said.

Her advice? Try to focus on “really learning what the professors are teaching you,” she added. “If you can get research experience, that’s amazing and always looks really, really good.”    

Stepping up to the plate with MLB Network

Rising senior Brandon Voss dreams of becoming a big-league sportscaster or analyst. Between his Rowan studies and his work experience this summer, he’s well on his way.

Brandon VossVoss, a sports communication and media major in the Ric Edelman College of Communication & Creative Arts, is interning with the MLB Network, a cable TV channel in Secaucus owned by Major League Baseball.

The Bayville resident said his internship duties are similar to those held by professional production assistants, crucial experience that he hopes will put him on the path to his first full-time job.

“I really have two roles,” Voss said. “I’m a shot sheet runner, in which I print out scripts for the on-air talent to read live, and I’m a pop-up operator.”

In his role as shot sheet runner, Voss provides cues for on-air talent that producers want in any given show, like game recaps, scores and big plays. As pop-up operator, he helps delegate which commercials and MLB messaging run during games.

“Anyone who’s watching the game on the MLB Network will see the ads I put up,” Voss said. “The goal for me, the dream, has always been to be the one on camera. I’ve always known that I have to work my way up and this is my foot in the door.”

Gaining cross-cultural perspectives in Dublin

Lauren Wallace, a doctoral candidate in Rowan’s Aggression, Substance and Sexuality Research Team (ASSeRT) Lab, is one of just 24 students selected from around the world to attend this year’s International Summer School in Dublin, Ireland.

Lauren WallaceOffered jointly by the European Association for Research on Adolescence (EARA), the European Association for Developmental Psychology (EADP) and the Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA), the annual program brings together established experts and doctoral students from around the world for intensive research training and professional skills workshops.

During the program, Wallace is sharing her own research and gather feedback on her dissertation, which examines whether young mothers exposed to childhood maltreatment are at an increased risk of data violence, victimization and perpetration.

“As an early-career researcher and clinician in this field, I’m really just grateful to be able to learn from other folks—both from peers my age and researchers who have been here for a while—to get that cross-cultural perspective,” Wallace said. “It’s just an honor to go and learn.”

Working with the ‘Green Team’

By definition, Rowan University’s School of Earth & Environment embraces all things “green.”

This summer, one of its students has gone green too, working to better the planet as an intern with Montclair State University’s PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies, informally known as the “Green Team.”

Aarushi GuptaAarushi Gupta, a rising junior Environmental and Sustainability Studies major, is pursuing an innovative 4+1 program at Rowan in which she’s pursuing both her BA and her MBA within five years.

One of five students in the summer program assigned to nationwide apartment complex developer AvalonBay Communities, Gupta said her team’s emphasis is helping the company be more sustainable.

“We’re looking, for example, at how they can reduce turf grass in their apartment complexes, how they can increase biodiversity and reduce embodied carbon generated by construction,” she said.

Her 10-week residential program began in late May.

Gupta is seeking a career in urban agriculture and hopes to help redefine spaces to produce healthful food where it’s often needed most.

“Urban agriculture can mean a lot of things, like community gardens, vertical farming and rooftop farming,” she said. “The idea is reducing costs and increasing accessibility so people have access to leafy greens and other healthy foods you wouldn’t find in a bodega.”

Bringing our nation’s history alive
Catherine Giuliani’s full-time, paid, eight-week summer internship has taken her back nearly 250 years to the first Continental Congress, held in 1774 at Philadelphia’s Carpenters’ Hall.

Catherine GiulianiWorking with History Making Productions, a film and video production studio in Philadelphia, Giuliani’s C. Dallett Hemphill Summer Internship has challenged her to think about how to present the history of Carpenters’ Hall to modern audiences. Her coveted internship was presented through the McNeil Center of Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

Giuliani spent much of the summer conducting exhaustive research using primary sources, much of it available through Rowan’s Campbell Library. Through her research, the liberal studies major—who is pursuing minors in American studies and anthropology, concentrations in history and art history and certificates of undergraduate study in public history and creative writing—helped develop ideas for interactive exhibits for Carpenters’ Hall. Currently under renovation, the hall, a treasure in historic Philadelphia, is set to reopen in January.

“It will be an exhibit with interdisciplinary elements…more than panels on walls,” said Giuliani, who is eyeing a career as a museum curator.

“For the public, research is the foundation to understanding. I looked into the personal and professional lives of the delegates to the Continental Congress. I got the chance to dive into historic events, to really throw myself into that time period.”

Building experience in commercial real estate

From his office this summer, Joe Sokolowski can see Manhattan. One day, he may own a piece of it.

Joe SokolowskiA rising senior finance major in the Rohrer College of Business, Sokolowski landed an internship with Chicago-based commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield in East Rutherford. There, the lessons are all around him…from the atmosphere and aspirations of others to achievements fueled by his own ambition.

“I’m part of the tenant leasing side, and a lot of what I do is listen in with clients,” he said. “But I’m also canvassing, looking for new clients.”

Part of canvassing simply means absorbing information that may signal opportunity, and knowing how to read it, Sokolowski said.

For example, he said, “a full parking lot could be an indicator that a company is growing and might need more space.”

Sokolowski also interned last year with the Rowan Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, where he built a database on venture capital and angel investor firms, then produced a series of podcasts for Rowan Radio 89.7 FM to explain them to listeners.

Meanwhile, with graduation fast approaching, he’s focused on real estate.

“The real estate world can be a very entrepreneurial space,” he said. “The biggest thing is building relationships and that’s one of the most important things I’m learning to do.”