North Texas Daily

Denton leaders discuss internship opportunities

Denton leaders discuss internship opportunities

Denton leaders discuss internship opportunities
July 21
00:22 2015

Edith Emeralda | Staff Writer

Community members and business people gathered at UNT on the Square Monday night for (Re)Imagine the City, a public forum aimed at addressing local socioeconomic challenges and finding internship opportunities for college students.

District 1 Councilman Kevin Roden moderated the panel sponsored by UNT, Texas Woman’s University and Serve Denton. Speakers were Gary Henderson, president and CEO of United Way Denton, Kurt Krause, coordinator of TWU’s Experiential Learning and UNT alumnae Sarah Ferguson.

“We need to work together to create a vibrant city that’s mutually beneficial to students who have a job to do,” Roden said.

Henderson said hiring interns can be problematic because supervising and training them require time and resources from small staffs at non-profit organizations.

“On the other hand, with the small number of staff, we practice supervising and interviewing,” Henderson said, “We feel less intimidated about that daunting task of hiring staff members.”

Before, internships were optional, but the academic landscape has changed and more students are required to have internship experience.

Finding employers who are seeking interns is another challenge for students. Ferguson said that at first she did not know where to look.

Henderson said students who know what they want to do beyond graduation will benefit more from an internship and can easily be assigned to specific projects.

“We like pioneering students who carve their own niche and seek us,” Henderson said.

The panel then listed resources where students can jobs and internships, such as TWU’s Pioneer Center for Student Excellence or UNT’s Eagle Connect. Career centers at both universities are also places that can help students find openings.

One UNT graduate student expressed concern that the professors seemed to be more geared toward academic instead of community engagement and there is a need for a cultural shift.

A faculty member then answered that it depends on the department. In the kinesiology department, students who learn sports nutrition has to have three semesters worth of practicum with different entities.

“Employers need to be willing and able; students can motivate others and be proactive -let the university know that experiential learning is awesome.” Ferguson said.

Featured Image: Panel members discuss the impact that working with the community has had on them. The panel about promoting civic engagement was hosted at UNT On The Square this afternoon. Paulina De Alva | Staff Photographer 

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