University internship program connects current and graduated students

Posted on Sep 22 2016 - 8:02am by Slade Rand
Chancellor Vitter and previous intern Graham White conversed following the presentation. (Photo by Kamera Griffin)

Chancellor Vitter and previous intern Graham White conversed following the presentation. (Photo by Kamera Griffin)

Students who graduated from the Ole Miss Internship Experience program came back to share their 2016 summer internship stories with other students Wednesday afternoon at the Lyceum.

The five students interned in five different industries, but all returned with a similar, newfound understanding of their prospective careers.

Former New York City intern Graham White, a senior business marketing major, said he learned the importance of getting out of his comfort zone.

“I took away confidence in myself and in my learning abilities and learned the importance of networking,” White said.

White interned at White Space, a strategic marketing firm in New York, this summer.

He said the university’s program added legitimacy to his job hunt.

The Ole Miss Internship Experience partners students with university administrators each fall to help make an internship in Washington, D.C. or New York City a reality. The program emphasizes the importance of networking in the business world. It also utilizes Ole Miss’ strong alumni presence across the country.

Jesse Webb, senior marketing major, gave a presentation about his summer internship with Inkwell Management in New York City. Inkwell is a literary agency in NYC where Webb said he got a lot of cool marketing experience.

The Internship Experience program was key to his success, Webb said.

“It was motivation,” Webb said. “Since I was in the program, I felt the drive to keep working as hard as I could.”

Students apply in the fall for internships positions in the following summer for either major city. After applicants are chosen, each student will spend the spring semester preparing for his summer employer.

Kristina Phillips, the university’s coordinator of college programs, directs the New York wing of the Internship Experience.

“Our program gives students more of a worldview, learning how to live and work in the city,” Phillips said. “We just wanted to be able to showcase their experiences today.”

Phillips said students who go through the program often return with more confidence in themselves and their professional abilities.

The Office of College Programs has been assisting Ole Miss upperclassmen in their summer internship hunts with the UM Internship Experience since 2008.

Phillips said her office does all they can to help alumni connect with students. She sees the program as “paying it forward” by placing more and more Ole Miss alumni in the industries in which students aim to work.

Program Director Laura Antonow said she values the alumni support her office receives.

“We’re working on developing an endowment for the program to make it more cost-neutral for students,” Antonow said.

Antonow said he has high hopes for the intern program’s future. The program started in 2008 and she said 25 students applied last fall. She hopes to grow numerically and financially in the next few years.

In addition to creating an endowment, Antonow also hopes to open up an Atlanta branch of the Internship Experience by 2018.

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter sat in on Wednesday’s presentations at the Lyceum. He said students in this internship program bring back a whole new set of perspectives to the university that benefit their academic experience.

“I think that an experience in the real world, doing what they’ve learned (and) seeing how everything connects between learning and practice, is an incredible experience,” Vitter said.

Applications for this year’s Internship Experience are open until Nov. 11.