Senior Christi Shook shows off a painting created for her by "Kubwa" the elephant.
Huntington, Ind.—Huntington University’s Enterprise Resource Center has exceeded its 2005 spring and summer student placement goals by 367 percent. Expecting to place 40 students in experiences such as practicums, job shadowing, and internships, the ERC ended up with 147 students participating.
“Some of the majors are incorporating job shadowing into curriculum,” said director Kay Schwob, citing one of the reasons behind the ERC’s success. “That’s helpful. Also we were able to help the Sheets Museum (in Huntington) on a project and that involved 50 students.”
The ERC provides students with real-world opportunities in their fields of interest. Since opening last fall, the ERC has placed hundreds of students in experiential learning settings. Some unique experiences HU students have had in recent months include working at a photography business, leading worship at a church, tutoring a Spanish-speaking kindergarten student in English, and helping write a policies and procedures manual.
HU senior Christi Shook of Franklin, Ind., interned for three months this summer with the Institutional Advancement Department of the Indianapolis Zoo. Shook, a not-for-profit management major, found the internship herself, and the ERC assisted her in setting it up and in receiving academic credit.
Some of Shook’s tasks included helping with Zoobilation, Indianapolis’s largest black-tie fundraising event, as well as six other major fundraisers. In addition, she met talented animals, including “Kubwa,” an elephant who made her a painting to hang in her future office.
Shook said her internship helped clarify her future career plans.
“My experience at the Indianapolis Zoo helped me realize that I enjoy working more directly with the public in a teaching role,” she said. “I plan to pursue an outdoor education or experiential learning job after graduation. Teaching at the college level is my ultimate career goal.”
Sarah Clifford, a senior fine arts major from Russell, Pa., spent a month of her summer in Atlanta, Ga., working at a theatre where she did research, painting, and marketing.
“It was a good all-around experience as to getting into the real world in general,” Clifford said. “And it gave me insight into what a scenic artist for theatre does and what the art aspect of theatre entails.”
Lora Bulla, assistant director for the ERC, says it’s that kind of real-world experience that is essential for students in landing their first job.
“Students need to understand that when you go to find a job, employers prefer two to five years of experience no matter what your major,” Bulla said. “An internship will help students overcome that barrier with at least some experience.”
Schwob agreed, adding that five HU graduates have recently contacted her to obtain help in finding internships. “It’s a culture shift to say it’s so important to have that experiential learning,” she said. “It should be on your resume, and it’s a direct correlation to getting a job.”
# # #