By: Jen Hasbun

Ellen Nolan, director of Mount Saint Mary’s career center, sheds some light on the spring 2020 internship situation.

One unexpected challenge resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic is that college students who’d hoped to glean valuable work experience from internship opportunities have been unable to find any at all; others have had their internships cancelled altogether.

Michael Porter is a senior majoring in public relations at the Mount. Like many other students, his internship was terminated for safety reasons.

“At the beginning of the pandemic I personally had a few big opportunities come off the table,” said Porter. “While it was definitely discouraging at first, it just made me want to work harder.”

He isn’t the only student who lost out.

“Obviously, internships are impacted because there have been places that are only remote,” said Ellen Nolan, director of Mount Saint Mary’s career center, “and so some of the internship sites have been affected or kind of eliminated because students aren’t able to do their internships at these sites. Others have gone remote, so those are a new experience for students in terms of doing remote internships, although surprisingly there are a number that are still in person.”

The career center’s page on the Mount portal offers resources for short-term remote internships called “micro-internships” through Parker Dewey; these resources can be located under the “gain experience” section. All are paid, professional assignments.

“Those would be something that I would definitely look into. They may not be credit-bearing because of the duration being short term, but I think that what is most important when it comes to internships is the experience, not whether you obtain credit,” said Nolan.

She implored students hoping to secure internships for the spring and summer to start scouting opportunities ahead of time, and encouraged them to reach out to her or Robin Rosenberg, her fellow career counselor, for help. Students can email them at ellen.nolan@msmc.edu and robin.rosenberg@msmc.edu, or stop by the career center office in Aquinas 151.

“I’ve taken this downtime to search for opportunities that I would not have normally searched for,” said Porter. “In a way, COVID-19 has forced me to expand my horizons and venture outside of my comfort zone.”