Ramapo College held its Junior Internship Conference on Tuesday. Targeting the college’s juniors, the event held a student panel and multiple workshops on different topics relating to interning.
Although the conference focused on the college’s juniors and the “64 or More” theme, the conference’s audience was comprised of students from all grades.
“Internships are important for everyone, and we want to target you early,” said Debra Stark, the assistant director of the Cahill Career Development Center. “Last year we were trying to target the sophomores and engage them. We found that more of our juniors were attending the program, so we thought ‘let’s target them’.”
Featuring free Moe’s, mannequins displaying proper business attire and the opportunity to take a free professional photo for students’ LinkedIn profiles, the conference drew quite a crowd with over one hundred people in attendance.
The student panel was a big part of the Internship Conference, comprised of Ramapo students who had already had experience interning.
“I feel like I’ve gotten the best advice through my internship,” speaker Sarah Shidid told the audience.
Shidid spoke about working in a laboratory setting, something she did not think she would be fond of, and the insight it gave her. However, she also spoke about how interning taught her about the real world. She shared an experience where a well-connected intern received bigger projects than others from the start.
“Sometimes, some people get handed stuff, and some people have to work for stuff,” she explained.
The conference also had three workshop sessions available for attending students. Each session had multiple options for students to choose from, helping to create a more personalized experience. These workshops ranged from “Networking in an Internship” and “The Art of Interviewing” to “International Internships” and "Social Media and Branding.” Some of the workshops were offered during multiple sessions so students could create a schedule to accommodate their interests.
Because social media is a big part of students’ everyday lives, social media was also a big part of this year’s conference. The conference featured a workshop centered around social media and a LinkedIn profile photo shoot.
“Social media presence is your brand and your reputation, and that’s really so important to your professional development,” Stark said. “We really want to inform, educate and help students manage that.”
Attending students walked away with “64 or More” tote bags, along with either a tee shirt or an extra raffle ticket. The raffle’s prizes ranged from gift cards to local restaurants to Ramapo gear to a new iPad. The Cahill Center also provided career advice on small pieces of paper with a fortune cookie vibe and lollipops with the center’s location and hours.
Even with the shift of the target demographic from sophomores to juniors, Stark and other members of the Cahill Center seem to be happy with the results of the Internship Conference.
Stark commented, “We’re trying to meet the student where they are developmentally.”