BY JESSALYN KIRCHHOFF
The deadline for the FHSU/Dane G. Hansen Paid Internships of Summer 2023 is quickly approaching. Internships are an excellent way for students to gain professional experience and make future career connections. Most positions do not require a specific degree program or major.
FHSU Internship Coordinator and Career Advisor Lisa Karlin explains that students are able to learn about their chosen field, make valuable connections, and build confidence in their skills through these internships.
“The application of what has been taught in the classroom is beneficial to a student’s future career,” Karlin said. “National employment surveys show that new graduates who have completed an internship are more likely to receive at least one job offer than those who graduate without having this kind of experience. Simply put, internships lead to more opportunities.”
Molly Minihan, a former 2022 Brian Ruder American Family Insurance intern, said completing an internship and believes that it is important that students apply for internship positions because it gives them an opportunity to explore.
“We are all at an age where we are starting to figure out who we are, what we want to do, and where we want to go, but not all of us have the answers to those questions right away,” Minihan said. “These internships provide chances to figure out those answers.”
She expands on that by saying that the most important benefits that students will receive from completing the internship would be knowledge and confidence.
“Whenever I was asked how my internship was going or if I had decided if insurance was my new dream job, I would tell them that even if I decided this was not what I wanted to do the rest of my life, I was gaining important knowledge that I needed to be a more independent adult,” Minihan said. “This knowledge allowed me to be more confident when making decisions, more confident in the work I was doing, and more confident in where I was in life.”
Minihan goes on to say that internships are an opportunity to explore each student’s selected career field to see if it is a good match for them and if they can see themselves doing that job in the long run.
“It also gives you an opportunity to discover a career field you never thought to look at before,” she said. “It helps you not only find the correct path for you while providing you with real-world experience, [but] it also gives you the chance to meet new people, make connections, learn new skills, and develop the skills you already have.”
During her internship with American Family Insurance, Minihan had a variety of tasks and responsibilities such as starting the day by putting up the American flag in front of the building, meeting with Ruder to discuss daily and weekly tasks as well, as check-ins with how the internship was going.
“Throughout the day my duties included checking my email, answering phones, submitting customer’s payments, filing, and basic office cleaning,” she said. “Once I had more experience in the office, I was allowed to assist with quoting for customers, answer customers’ more difficult questions, learn the older computer programs, and organize/ host the company’s first blood drive.”
She continues by stating the strongest takeaway that she had from her internship experience was that if you do your personal best, the work will pay off.
“Even if you don’t know everything, just trying to learn or attempting to help complete a task is going to impress your employer more than not doing it,” Minihan said. “Doing the tasks that are required of you and going above what is expected will make you more reliable and trustworthy to your boss.”
Not only do these internships greatly benefit the students, but the businesses also share a gain.
Karlin clarifies that by collaborating with employers through internships, FHSU helps support these businesses and organizations that are the lifeblood of western Kansas communities.
“The internship program helps us connect employers to student talent, and it creates a pipeline for retaining graduates to fill the workforce needs,” Karlin said. “This need became even more evident during and since the COVID-19 pandemic, with many small businesses struggling to attract and retain employees.”
She takes this opportunity to express her gratitude to the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, which allowed for an increase in the hourly wage this year to remain competitive with other internships in the region, as well as other donors that make this program a possibility.
“With the support and generosity of the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, FHSU has been able to offer internships through this program for several years,” Karlin said. “It began with a handful, and now there are 25 internships each academic year. We hope the program will continue to grow as both student and employer interest has soared. We also appreciate the private donors who have made possible the FHSU Service and Masonic Cancer Alliance internships.”
Minihan encourages students to apply for internships and urges them to be unafraid of the unknown.
“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Internships are built for you to make mistakes. No one expects you to come in and be perfect and know what you are doing. Ask questions, take risks, make mistakes, and learn,” she said.
To apply for any of the internships through the FHSU/Dane G. Hansen, FHSU Service, and Masonic Cancer Alliance programs, students should log in to Handshake (FHSU’s career platform) with their TigerNetID and search for the program name(s). Applicants will need to upload a cover letter and resume in Handshake. Students can apply for one or multiple internships. All undergraduate, graduate, and KAMS students, as well as international students, are eligible to apply.
The deadline for applications is Friday, February 3, 2023.
After reviewing students’ application materials, an employer selects students to interview. The interviews take place either on campus or online. Each participating business or organization is awarded one internship position.
More information on the Internship Program can be found here https://www.fhsu.edu/career/intern/hansen-student