The job market has made internships and other experiential education programs attractive options for students seeking real-world experience and opportunities to make professional connections. In her past experiences in experiential education and career services, she led the American Democracy Project at Ramapo College of New Jersey and served as president of the New Jersey Cooperative Education and Internship Association. In her current role, she helps NYIT students prepare for meaningful careers and global citizenship.
What are some of the programs you’ve helped implement in Career Services?
The Internship Certificate Program started in 2009 to provide students access to college-supported internships even when they don’t need or can’t afford the credits. The program also supports faculty teaching internships. Faculty can refer their students to our orientations where we cover ethics/safety/professionalism in the workplace; we’ll send evaluations to internship employers and share the feedback with students and faculty; and faculty can send their students to our reflection sessions, where we’ll help students extract the most meaning from their internship experience. To date, nearly 1,000 students have gone through the program, working for over 800 employers, and have earned close to $2M.
Service-learning is a program that links classroom learning to community service. Students apply what they learn in the classroom to solving a public problem. It engages them civically and is a good retention tool. Service-learning is offered in nearly every school at NYIT and is supported by our experiential education staff in Career Services.
The Alternative Break Program has sent students in service twice to Peru, once to Ecuador and twice to Nicaragua. Students have also participated in two domestic service breaks in NYC. Through this program NYIT students have worked on issues surrounding access to clean drinking water, education, poverty, health, architecture and food.
The Community Service Centers on both NY campuses continue to get students civically, electorally and politically engaged. The student run Centers promote volunteer consulting projects at area non-profits, voter registration initiatives, campus conversations on global issues and ways to effect political change through communication with elected officials.
Are you finding the current economy makes it more difficult to place interns or are more companies eager to hire interns?
NYIT today has more than 900 active jobs and internships posted on NYIT Career Net. We continue to see unpaid internships posted in the system, but we make a concerted effort to educate employers on how the U.S. Department of Labor defines paid vs. unpaid internships. Our efforts have increased the conversion of unpaid to paid internships by 23 percent.
What is the biggest obstacle for experiential education? What is the biggest myth?
The biggest obstacle is creating an awareness of what experiential education means; the experience itself should be transformative. The biggest myth is that any learning that occurs outside the classroom is considered experiential education.
What is the most unique item in your office?
A piñata made by a former student. It is a unique creature that I couldn’t see destroyed for the candy inside. Once the candy was gently removed, Ivy allowed me to keep it. Now it’s the most colorful thing in my office.
Who is your personal hero?
My personal heros are the staff and the students I work with. NYIT has some of the coolest students I’ve ever met, and our staff, particularly the women of NYIT, amaze me regularly. They make NYIT a great place to work and learn.
What is a favorite thing you love about NYIT?
My favorite program at NYIT is Interdisciplinary Studies. Employers want professionals who can think critically and who can do the job of ten people. The Interdisciplinary Studies Program is so practical. It offers students the opportunity to see life and careers from multiple perspectives and disciplinary lenses, making them well rounded. It is a hidden gem at NYIT and prepares students well for future jobs, even those not yet created.