This past summer I took part in an internship program at The Stars and Stripes, which is a newspaper for active duty members and their families. Throughout my time at the paper, I wrote an array of travel stories, which aimed to provide military men and women with an idea of what to see while they were stationed in Europe. Although I accumulated more than 30 stories for my portfolio, I learned about the real world of journalism, that I actually do enjoy writing features and how to write in a fun yet informative manner. Despite not being paid for my work, the skills I acquired during my time with the paper are exactly what future employees will look for.

One of the goals Concordia continues to reach for centers around providing students with an opportunity to use their skills outside of the classroom. Although some capstones, including mine, require students to help an organization prosper, I believe if Concordia implemented a mandatory internship program, it would allow students to gain real world world experience, help our fellow community members gain independence and maybe even BREW. Currently, Concordia’s religion department requires all students majoring in Religion with a Faith and Leadership concentration to do an internship during their studies. Unlike these students, individuals majoring in Multimedia Journalism, such as myself, are not required to, which is unfortunate. Not only does this cause students to shy away from applying for internships, it also makes them unaware of the numerous programs searching for students.

If Concordia were to implement my mandatory internship suggestion, they would not be the first institution to do so. In fact, Inside Higher Ed’s article “Interns Without (Major) Borders,” New York’s College of Saint Rose’s English program implemented the practiced in 2007.  Prior to requiring students to take part in an internship program, the faculty were noticing that students majoring in English were unsure what to do after graduation. In order to eliminate these issues, English majors had an opportunity to intern at various venues searching for English majors. Saint Rose’s internship requirement helped graduates stand out amongst their peers, increased their chances of having a successful job search and enabled students to discover what their desires were. Saint Rose is not the only institution implementing these internship programs. According to U.S.News Education’s article titled “Degrees Are Great, But Internships Make a Difference,”  Virginia’s Longwood University has launched a similar program and is seeing positive results. In fact, 74 percent of Longwood University’s 2008 graduates who took part in an internship during their undergraduate studies got jobs within six months after graduating. Based on these statistics, we can conclude that following our nation’s fellow universities in requiring students to partake in an internship program, Concordia’s entire student body would benefit.

In conclusion, Concordia College has done a great job of providing students with an array of opportunities to use their knowledge outside of the classroom; however, I believe implementing an internship requirement could have a big impact on student’s lives and futures. Not only will these internships help students network, they will provide students with an opportunity to expand their education and use their knowledge in a meaningful manner.

Allie Smeeth

Hello! My name is Allie Smeeth, I am currently a junior at Concordia. I am majoring in Multimedia Journalism and minoring in Communications. Throughout my time at Concordia I've been involved in Habitat For Humanity, the Concordian and am currently involved in the up and coming Family Weekend Committee. Other than doing school work, I enjoy reading, watching tv, and hanging out with my lovely fellow cobbers. I grew up in Germany and have lived in South Carolina, Nebraska and Minnesota for the past three years. After college I plan on going to grad school for communications and plan on working at a non-profit in the cities after I've completed graduate school.

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