Student's talk to local employers at the Career Center's annual Employment Fair last spring. (Photo provided by Mount Saint Mary College)

by Jillian Torre

Over 150 Mount students completed internships at over 100 companies this past summer. Every semester, Mount Saint Mary College’s Career Center helps our students find work experiences in their field as well as prepares students for the professional world.

Many may presume the Career Center is for strictly finding internships and post-diploma jobs, but that is not the case. The staff offers programs for students of any year. Freshman can benefit from the center’s Career Exploration workshops or the career assessment testing for those who are still undeclared or who are having doubts about their current major.

Sophomores, juniors, and seniors can take advantage of the other programs offered that help students learn resume writing, cover letter writing, and interviewing strategies. These programs also teach students how to network using the professional social media website Linked-In and how to create an online portfolio.

Ellen Bouhris Nolan, Director of Career Development, works closely with seniors to help prepare them for their next steps after leaving Mount Saint Mary College, whether that be finding and applying to graduate programs or finding a full time job. A Graduate School Fair is offered every fall, and three employment fairs are offered every spring–one for nurses, one for teachers, and another general employment fair.

The internship and co-op program began in 1989, and in 2009 was merged with the Career Development Office to create the Career Center as it stands now. The office has grown immensely in the past few years. Seven years ago they only organized one program a semester, but now they currently offer over seven programs a semester, not including their regular workshops.

Their programs include a Co-op Alumni Panel, Mock Interview Week, and what Associate Director Kathleen O’Keefe calls the most popular program—Speed Networking. A new semester-long program, The Career Center Apprentice, was introduced last fall. The students raked up points for attending programs and workshops. At the end of the semester, the six students with the most points were chosen to submit their resumes, cover letters, and interview in front of a panel of local employers. In the end, the winner walked away with an iPad 2 donated by Laerdal Medical. The same contest is currently in progress this semester with another iPad 2 up for grabs.

For Mount students, the internship search can begin as soon as the student has completed thirty credits. In the past, students have completed internships at companies such as Fox News, The New York Mets, Polo Ralph Lauren, Merrill Lynch, The New Victory Theater, Good Housekeeping, WABC, the Hudson Valley Renegades, MSG Varsity, and Boys and Girls Club. The office can also help students receive credit for an internship they may have lined up on their own.

A student once went into the Career Center office and said he was interested in airport management. O’Keefe had never had a student intern at an airport before, but instead of directing the student elsewhere, she contacted Orange County Airport and arranged an internship for the student. After graduation, the student went on to work for Airtran and is now at Citation Air in Connecticut working as a Customer Service Specialist helping with corporate travel including professional sports teams. “If we know what you’re interested in its helps us find a relevant internship,” says O’Keefe.

Not only have Mount students interned at some really well-known and impressive companies, but a handful of them have been offered jobs from their internship. Most recently, 2012 graduate Stephen Bloomer completed a marketing internship at Finkelstein and is now working for them full time. Michael Buffamonte, also a 2012 graduate, is now working at Cooper and Neimann CPAs after completing an accounting co-op with them. New York State Assemblyman Jose Serano hired Angel Santana (’09) after he completed an internship at Serano’s office in Albany. Both Brian Punturier and Addisu Bekele were also hired at Fox News as the result of successful internships.

Aside from internships and co-ops the Career Center can also help students look for part-time jobs in the area for during the semesters. The jobs can range from babysitting and tutoring to retail experience.

The services the Career Center offers are fairly expensive in the outside world. Resume/cover letter writing sessions and interview skills workshops are well over 100 dollars each. Combined with a career coaching session, a non-Mount student/alumnus could easily be looking at close to 500 dollars. Take advantage of the Career Center and head over to Speed Networking Tuesday, October 23rd in the MST Atrium at 5:30 PM.