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Internships provide career guidance for business majors

For four St. Andrews business majors, summer internships provided insights about career paths with some unexpected results.

"I do not want to be an equine vet tech," said Casey Curtis after a summer internship doing just that. "My supervisor said that I would be wanted but I would not be paid what I was worth. She advised me to go into small animal vet tech work."

Curtis spent the summer at Spurlock Equine Associates, a small clinic in Northern Virginia that serves high dollar racehorses. She could not share specifics about the animals due to a confidentiality agreement.

"The customer service was impeccable," she said. "Clients were brought to a waiting area with a variety of refreshments. They were allowed to watch the surgeries which was unique because most places won't let you watch because of liability issues."

Curtis found herself working all aspects of the practice, from bringing the clients to the waiting area to digitizing the x-rays to making the surgical packs to helping with the procedures.

"There were so few of us to do so much," she said. "It was very enlightening. I do want to experience a larger clinic setting to determine if that might make a difference."

While Curtis virtually eliminated a career, Angela Gaskins confirmed one with her internship with the Human Resource and Community Relations Department of New Hanover County.

"The first day my supervisor asked me what part of human resources I want to be in and I was shocked by the question," Gaskins said. "In the classroom, human resources is human resources but they have 14 people in the department and all of them focus on something different."

Because of this revelation, Gaskins spent part of her internship with each staff member, conducting interviews to determine where she wanted to focus in the future.

"They did a very good job of showing me all the different aspects," Gaskins said. "I audited different files, did proofreading and planned the calendar for the Wellness And You (WAY) program. I had to line up 24 speakers to help employees with health and financial wellness. I even got to go to three of the sessions I scheduled to see the impact.

"I want to continue in human resources," she added. "I want to train as a general technician to get a feel for how it all fits before going into a specialization. I loved this internship."

For Alie McGraw, her path clarified a bit after spending the summer at Cottonwood Farm in Vanceboro with Laura Underhill-Norment, Nikki Heath and Jill and Caroline Taylor.

"There are 60 horses used for lessons, camp and as training for the ECU Equestrian Team," McGraw said. "I did different things daily. The only thing I did consistently was ride."

She also spent time assisting the farrier, cleaning up the barn, brining out jumps, providing daily horse care, providing leadership for summer camp and coordinating a fun show for the boarders.

"There were a different groups of kids each week for the camps in June," McGraw said. "At the end of each week we would have a horse show. During the fourth week I got my own group of two to teach and that went pretty well."

In addition to enhancing her teaching skills, McGraw saw additional improvements.

"I improved my organization and communication skills," she said. "I shadowed Laura's coaching and I am leaning toward coaching IHSA level in the future. I like working with the younger kids too but I had trouble simplifying." Kimmy Simonsen found the opposite to be true during her summer internship with Camp Seafarer.

"I had never worked with kids before," she said. "I'm the youngest child in my family and I never babysat so going into the camp setting was overwhelming. There were so many different personalities to work with, but I discovered different ways to establish connections. I ended up developing great relationships with the campers.

"I learned I can work with kids and it is something I want to look into," Simonsen continued. "I wanted to take some of these kids home at the end of the summer. The kids felt that I'd done a good job."

Despite the positive impact, Simonsen did have some struggles over the summer with the internship.

"We had a lot of problems with horses getting out and getting puncture wounds," she said. "There were a lot of thrown shoes and problems with the farrier. I learned a lot about the importance of teamwork and leadership."

Simonsen shared that there were eight instructors hired for the summer. One quit before the children arrived for the summer camp. A second left after the camp had started due to an injury while another failed to fulfill the responsibilities assigned.

"It got hectic but we knew what had to be done and we found a way to get it done," she said.

Simonsen, McGraw, Gaskins and Curtis expressed the gratitude for the internship experience.

"I'm delighted they each had such a great opportunity," said St. Andrews Professor of Business Corinne Nicholson. "Internships are meant to provide a true experience to make decisions about the opportunities available before they select a career path."

About St. Andrews

An innovative and bold academic venture, the distinctive character of St. Andrews has been marked by an interdisciplinary curriculum, a highly acclaimed college press, an award-winning pipe band, national champion equestrian teams, and first-rate scholarship. In addition to classes on the main campus, adult learners also choose the Center for Adult and Professional Studies opportunities through St. Andrews @ Sandhills and St. Andrews ONLINE.

On Aug. 29, 1958, the merger between Presbyterian Junior College and Flora Macdonald College became official with the formation of St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, N.C. Further information may be obtained by visiting the College's website www.sapc.edu, calling 800-763-0198 or sending an e-mail to info@sapc.edu.


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