Externships Gain Traction as Students Shadow Alumni at Work

Each semester break more students gain valuable career insight as externs with alumni and friends. The U-Imagine Center is supporting three entrepreneurial externships, including one in Gainesville, Fla. 

From an initial 17 students in the inaugural 2014 program, 42 students are pursuing externship through Jan. 16,arranged by the Career and Professional Development office. 

The Philadelphia Attorney General’s Office, Greater Media’s Philadelphia Radio Group, several financial groups and medical offices, the National Museum of American Jewish History, veterinary sites, a law practice, a school district athletic office, the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office, and the Heinz National Wildlife Refuge are among the sites hosting Ursinus students.

Three externships were funded by the Ursinus U-Imagine Center for Integrative and Entrepreneurial Studies: at the Malcolm Randall Veterans Administration Medical Center/University of Florida through Sean McCoy ’99; at Under Armour through Kelly Becker ’10; and at S&P Capital IQ through James Sproule ’08.

Stephanie Cooper ’16, working with McCoy, said she got to “check out the UF football stadium. Then I got to see the set of where Doc Hollywood was filmed. Finally got to visit the Gatorade center and see the exact spot Dr. (Robert) Cade invented Gatorade.

“The most valuable aspect I learned was the importance of networking and staying in contact with people because you never know when the next opportunity will arise,” she said. “This externship gave me insight onto the smaller aspects of being an entrepreneur such as project management and again maintaining relationships which are definitely useful in any and every career path.” 

Jamie Maurer ’16, said his host, Becker, is in “an exciting and important role at Under Armour and she performs it like a true professional.Shadowing her offers a terrific learning experience to anyone interested in becoming a professional on the rise in Corporate America like she is.” He plans to apply for several positions. 

“Student participation in the Extern Program has more than doubled since our pilot program in 2014,” said Sharon Hansen, with Michelle Poruban, extern program coordinators. 

Carolyn M. Gretzinger ’85, executive director of the Council of American Ambassadors, is a first-time extern host who got involved after the Office of Career and Professional Development reached out to her. She said they were not aware of the opportunity previously, but looked forward to hosting Roseangela Hartford ’18, an international relations major, and Spanish and Latin American Studies minor.

“In hosting this externship, our hope is to familiarize Ursinus students with careers in international affairs, particularly in the U.S. Foreign Service and diplomacy,” wrote Gretzinger. “Additionally, our Council offers International Affairs Fellowships to rising senior undergraduates who have been accepted for Washington, D.C.-based State Department summer internships. We would like to acquaint Ursinus students with this opportunity.”

Many alumni are hosting externs for the second or third year. Megan Helzner ’08, is a third-year sponsor, hosting both Alexander Simpson ’18 and Morgan Larese ’18 during the next two weeks. “I am so glad for this opportunity to stay connected to Ursinus and to share my working life with a current student through the externship program,” she said, adding that she enjoys meeting “the next generation of UC students.”

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