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Fair mixes ice cream, jobs

Credit: Celia Ludwinski/Operations Manager Credit: Celia Ludwinski/Operations Manager

Internships and free ice cream: a combination for students to enjoy on Tuesday evening at the Career and Professional Development Center’s “Internships: The Inside Scoop.”

Held in the University Center’s Rangos Hall, the self-described “ice cream social and internship fair” gave attendees the opportunity to converse with current Carnegie Mellon students who held internship positions last summer.

Renée Starek, the Mellon College of Science career consultant and assistant director of the Career and Professional Development Center, said that the program began three years ago, with an MCS student who wanted to share her internship experience with other students.

Starek stated that the event “shows the broad range of options” available to students, and she encouraged those interested in getting a summer internship to make an appointment with their career consultant.

As students entered the room, they were greeted with a bag of candy and flyers from the career center. Every internship had its own table, all of which were organized alphabetically, giving the event an appearance similar to that of miniature TOC.

Some of the most notable names included the Smithsonian, SpaceX, Thermofisher Scientific, Highmark, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, and Apple.
Eric Pripstein, a senior materials science and engineering major, spoke of his experience working for Northrop Grumman, a defense contractor, the previous summer. “The guy who was reading my résumé asked about the tools they had and whether I could use them,” Pripstein said. Thinking back to his education, he found that “the stuff I learned was directly applicable.”

However, he recalled the internship search process with a decidedly less favorable tone. “Finding an internship is not easy,” Pipstein said, calling the process “demoralizing at times.” He described how Lockheed Martin had flown him out to Texas for an interview, promised to get back to him promptly, and never did. Pripstein’s advice for students searching for an internship for the coming summer was, “Start searching early and get as many applications in as you can.”

These words were echoed by Celete Kato, a senior decision science and international relations and politics major.

Kato interned for Command Consulting Group, a security consulting agency that works with government agencies such as the Secret Service and border protection. Her work at Command Consulting included proposal writing, scheduling, showing a Haitian delegation around Washington, D.C., and assisting in the redesign of the company’s website and integration of social media tools.

Kato applied for the position while enrolled in the Washington Semester program at Georgetown. Her advice to students looking for an internship was to first “reach out to the internship advisors,” then “weed out what you don’t want to do.”

However, Kato also emphasized that students should not be afraid to seize new opportunities, even if they seem like things the students may not enjoy.

The attendees seemed to appreciate the messages and advice given by the presenting students.

Ronny Ho, a sophomore business major, remarked that “it’s really good to get a student’s perspective” on internship opportunities, and contrasted the experience with that of EOC and TOC. She also mentioned that the free ice cream was a positive component of the event.
First-year economics and statistics major Adrian Botta also spoke well of the event, saying that he attended because he “wanted to learn more about consulting firms and to network a bit.”

While the event received an overall positive reception by attendees, some students expressed the sentiment that many of the internships represented were technical in nature, offering fewer opportunities for writing and other humanities majors.

Students seemed pleased to have the opportunity to hear about internships and receive advice from their peers — or at the very least get some free ice cream.