Summer Internships Offer Valuable Experience

Graham Wooden Internship
Graham Wooden Internship
Clayton Davis Internship
Clayton Davis Internship
Emily Johnson Internship
Hunter Sakowsky Internship
Shasha Wallis, a Communication Studies/Women’s and Gender Studies
Shasha Wallis, a Communication Studies/Women’s and Gender Studies

Internships are a valuable part of the college experience, and for many SUNY Oneonta students, summer is the perfect time to apply their education to a real-world setting.

“Internships encourage students to explore their interests, apply and augment course learning, grow confidence in their skills and knowledge and develop their professional identities,” says Dr. Eileen Morgan-Zayachek, associate provost for academic programs. “Internships frequently present networking opportunities and can help level the playing field for students without family and friend connections on which to draw and can help students get a foot in the door for a first or future job.”

In fact, simply having an internship on their resumes can give students a leg up in the job market. Since 2018, the employers surveyed by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) for its annual Job Outlook report have indicated that “internship experience is the top differentiator when choosing between otherwise equal job candidates.”

For several SUNY Oneonta students who recently completed summer internships in fields ranging from Art to Exercise Science, one of the best parts was the affirmation that they are on the right career path.

Graham Wooden, an Exercise Science Major
Graham Wooden at Connect Physical Therapy

“My purpose on this planet”

“This internship was important because it made me realize that I really do want to work with people,” said Graham Wooden, an Exercise Science major from Oneonta, N.Y.

“My purpose on this planet is to help others, and I think a great way to do that is through rehabilitation efforts as a physical therapist. Internships allow you to see what you want to do, or if you want to change course.”

Wooden spent his summer interning for Dr. Chelsea Leahy at her practice, Connect Physical Therapy. He worked directly with patients who have Parkinson’s disease in a mutually beneficial experience for Wooden, Dr. Leahy and her patients. One patient who Wooden worked with this summer was a man in his 70s who expressed previous interest in playing football. To motivate the patient, Wooden simulated modified football exercises for him.

“All my patients really enjoyed how enthusiastic Graham was,” said Leahy. “I loved seeing him bring that creative side of exercise into this clinic and making my patients feel more listened to, heard and motivated with a fresh mindset.”

Clayton Davis, an Art and Design BFA
Clayton Davis working with Su Barber

“I was able to home in”

Clayton Davis, an Art and Design BFA student from Newport, NY, completed a paid internship for Su Barber, an art director and web designer based in New York City, designing icons for two of Barber’s clients. One project required Davis to create icons for each chapter in a book about cycling sculptures, and he designed thematic icons for the Rentrayage website in the second project. The themes reflected the sustainable clothing and housewares that the company sells, allowing Davis to complete a variety of designs.

“This work helped me learn how to see things in a group while also maintaining the individuality of each icon,” said Davis. “I've learned about many software programs to use within the design industry at SUNY Oneonta, but through this internship, I was able to home in on certain aspects of those programs and understand them better.”

“The raw experience”

Emily Johnson and Hunter Sakowsky both interned at SUNY Oneonta’s A.J. Read Science Discovery Center, a free, hands-on museum for people of all ages and abilities.

Hunter Sakowsky and Emily Johnson Internship at the Science Discovery Center
Hunter Sakowsky and Emily Johnson Internship at the A.J. Read Science Discovery Center

Sakowsky, a Museum Studies M.A. student from Port Crane, NY, created new exhibit labels, developed a new collection system for the different materials, archivers and documents, and provided educational lessons to visitors.

“I find internships to be meaningful for the raw experience that you can’t get through anything else,” said Sakowsky. “Besides being able to teach science to all the visitors that come in, I think the best part is seeing the excitement and joy in a lot of young kids’ eyes when they’re shown things like a giant foam ball shoot up in the air or how sound works by using tuning forks and a ping pong ball.”

Johnson, an Adolescence Education: Earth Science major from Camillus, NY, provided tours to the visitors, explaining the science behind every exhibit. This semester, she’ll be hosting Science Discovery Center events such as trivia and movie nights.

“We have quite a few rambunctious kids that come in here, and learning how to correctly handle the high-energy students is something I’m going to have to do in my own classroom,” said Johnson. “I think it’s valuable to interact with those students here in a setting where I have someone overseeing me, getting that experience so that when I’m alone I’ll know what to do in the future – in my own classroom.”

Shasha Wallis at the Utica Blue Sox field
Shasha Wallis Internship with the Utica Blue Sox

“Exactly what I want to do”

Shasha Wallis, a Communication Studies/Women’s and Gender Studies dual major from Ballston Spa, NY, spent her summer working for the Utica Blue Sox minor league baseball team as a social media management intern. This internship gave her experience as an on-field host, interviewing the team after victories and attending all the home games. Wallis hopes this opportunity will allow her to become a social media manager for a professional hockey team post-graduation.

“This is exactly what I want to do with my career when I graduate,” she said. “It was the perfect experience for me to work in a professional environment, as well as making connections, learning how the sports industry works and gaining confidence in my ability to interview players.”

Career Development Center

SUNY Oneonta is committed to making internship experiences available to all students. In addition to helping students find and apply for internships that fit their interests and career goals, the university’s Career Development Center offers more than $80,000 a year in grants to help students with internship-related expenses.

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